Project Work Through Problem-Based Learning
The problem is the starting point directing the student’s learning process. A problem can be both theoretical and practical. It must also be authentic and scientifically based. “Authenticity” implies that the problem is of relevance outside of academia. “Scientifically based” implies that the problem is comprehensible and may be analyzed and solved, taking an interdisciplinary approach.
This practice provides students with tools for the independent acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies at an advanced academic level. During their studies, many students will have the opportunity to coordinate with external partners on the solution of scientific problems.
Intended outcomes of this “best practice”: Students learn best when applying their research-based knowledge in their work with an authentic problem. At the same time, this practice supports students in the development of their communication and cooperation competencies, and in acquiring the skills required while taking an analytical and result-oriented approach. This practice enables students to work with contemporary issues that are relevant to their discipline or profession.
- THE PROBLEM as Point of Departure
- GROUP Work: The group work includes aspects such as knowledge sharing, collective decision-making, action coordination, and mutual feedback. Student groups also engage in close cooperation with their supervisor(s) and with external partners. (e.g. Businesses or other project groups).
- EXEMPLARITY: The exemplarity of the project ensures that through their project work, the students will acquire knowledge and competencies which are applicable in a wider context than that of the project itself.
- THE STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN LEARNING ACHIEVEMENTS: The students themselves are responsible for their cooperation in the group, as well as for the organization of the learning process and the course outcome of the project.
- LEADS TO RESEARCH INITIATIVES AT VEL TECH: Success of student projects gives confidence to the industries to collaborate with Vel Tech for higher levels of works such as Consultancy/R&D works.
Vel Tech team met the senior officials and made several visits to many of the industries, with whom we have collaborated to make them aware of this proposal and give them confidence that their problems can be addressed through student projects. To give confidence to the industries that these projects are not like routine Projects done for learning purposes as part of students’ academic program, Vel Tech will work with them in getting the tangible results through student projects guided by Faculty members of appropriate specialization as required, so that it is a WIN-WIN situation for both. Hence, Vel Tech makes faculty members visit industries to understand the nuances and specific issues with reference to the problems. Each industry has its own technical problems/practices. Faculty training helps in guiding the students appropriately through periodical reviews and in getting tangible results.
All progressive Industries work towards continuous improvements in their process and product development and in meeting this goal various functional teams are given tasks with the specific achievable target. Vel Tech approached these industries and assured them of positive results in the areas where they face problems. The problems are taken as problem-based student projects. The students work with the functional teams of the industries to study the process/product development, collect the required data, analyze and come up with solutions under the supervision of the faculty.
Generally, the duration of student projects is 3 to 4 months for B.E/B.Tech undergraduate students. But this period is so short, by the time the student gets to know the nuances, he will be under compulsion to complete the project within 3 months. The industries gave us feedback that the longer duration of the project will help intangible results.
Vel Tech revised the regulation to allow “Advanced Learners/Fast Learners ” (who are able to complete all the courses within six semesters as per the Choice Based Credit System and earn the credit except the project work) for doing student projects of longer duration of 8 to 9 months commencing from June till March next year.
Wabco India limited, Sundaram Clayton Limited, India Pistons, Amalgamations Repco, Amco Batteries, Shardlow India limited, TVS Brakes India Limited, Larsen & Toubro Limited, are some of the leading industries that came forward to give Problems as student projects.
Harita Seating Systems limited, a Joint venture between Harita Seating Systems Limited and F.S.Fehrer Automotive GmbH, Germany specialized in manufacturing of PolyUrethane (PU) foam pads, two/three-wheeler seats, PUcomposites, MCU, and interior modules, identified the following Problems as Student
- Automation in the final inspection of seats for Yamaha, BMW, TOYOTA vehicles to identify the Wrinkle defects, Cut Pinhole, and Missing components by the installation of high precision cameras to capture images and reduce manpower by more than 30%.
- Testing method checking across plants and re-checking the foaming testing.
- Customer complaint action re-audit& new action identify across plants.
- Reduction of freight cost – TVSM project (Hosur) or Overall freight reduction at Chennai
Out of the above Projects, “Automation in the final inspection of seats for Yamaha, BMW, TOYOTA Vehicles to identify the defects” was given as a consultancy project for its implementation. The Vel Tech team has completed a special consultancy project given by Harita Team.
>>Proof of Evidence of Success
>>Proof of Industries MoU
Problems encountered are: Making aware of industries and giving assurance to industries that VelTech will work along with the industry by nominating Faculty of required specialization to get involved as a guide to the students to ensure the targeted outcome is achieved.
Faculty members guiding the students are motivated to successfully address any conflicts that arise during Project and to create synergies between different cooperation cultures by collaborating with external partners and engaging in interdisciplinary learning environments.
Vel Tech provides space for the students to work together in CDIO (Conceive, Design, Implement, Operate) Lab, which is available for doing Projects right from the first year onwards unlike other Institutions where Projects by students start much later. This CDIO Lab has computers, Mechanical/Electrical equipment, and software for students attending courses and project work.