Global Project-Based Learning, or otherwise referred to as gPBL is one of the many initiatives from Shibaura Institute of Technology (SIT), Japan to facilitate outside-classroom learning via educational collaboration with partner universities.
The SIT delegation was led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Azham bin Zulkharnain and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yoshihisa Hirota from the Department of Bioscience and Engineering. As the director of the program, I have been in-charged in managing the gPBL together with MJIIT Liaison and Internationalisation Officer, Ts. Dr. Nor Ruwaida binti Jamian.
For a duration of 10 days, 17 students from SIT and 10 students from the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (ChEE), Malaysia-Japan International Institute of technology (MJIIT) UTM KL which are referred to in this program as ‘MJIIT Buddy’, have participated in the SIT-MJIIT gPBL programme at MJIIT, UTM KL from 23rd February to 4th March 2023.
During the program’s duration, the participants were divided into groups of 4 or 5 for Project-Based Learning (PBL). They have been guided by the facilitators, Prof. Dr. Masafumi Goto, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aznah binti Nor Anuar, Dr. Mariam Firdhaus binti Mad Nordin and Dr. Liew Wai Loan. For a duration of roughly 4 days, the students worked in their respective groups to complete their assigned experiments in their assigned laboratories, conduct data analysis, and discuss their findings – all via self-directed learning. Each group presented their findings on the fourth day. The PBL segment of gPBL provided students the opportunity to hone their skills in the context of globalization as they navigate through new cultural settings and exchange of ideas through the students’ collaboration with peers. Additionally, the students of SIT were given a tour around the engineering laboratories available in MJIIT.
Cultural exchange is also an objective of gPBL. The students of SIT and UTM-MJIIT got to showcase their unique cultures during the Enculturation Dinner with UTM International on Day 5. The Enculturation Dinner was also attended by the honourable Pro-Vice Chancellor of UTM Kuala Lumpur campus, Prof. Ts. Dr. Abd Latif bin Saleh and MJIIT’s honourable dean, Prof. Ts. Dr. Ali bin Selamat.
The Japanese students of SIT delivered an enchanting performance of Soran Bushi, a famous sea shanty in Japan while the MJIIT buddies sang their hearts out to the classic pop hit ‘Kau Ilhamku’ by Man Bai.
Learning outside traditional settings was also emphasized as SIT students and MJIIT Buddies explored Kuala Lumpur during a social excursion with UTM International Kuala Lumpur where participants got to visit Kuala Lumpur’s hotspots. The students of SIT got to experience very authentic Malaysian experiences, even after the one-day slot ended. Accompanied by the MJIIT buddies, they got to try out local delicacies such as nasi kerabu, dodol, and the infamous durian fruit at local stalls.
Overall, this gPBL programme not only equipped participants with technical and analytical skills learned in traditional classroom settings, but also aided students to build strong interpersonal connections, comprehend a wider range of viewpoints, and acquire transferable skills necessary for engagement in multicultural societies.