The famous TV character in the UK, Bob the Builder, used to ask the question "Can we do it?". And the response from the British students in Malaysia was clearly "Yes We Can!". Twelve students from the University of Birmingham (UoB) came to spend 3-weeks in Malaysia working on a joint-project with 18 Grand Challenge Scholars from Taylor's University's School of Engineering (SoE).
The two universities have been working together for many years, but this is the first time that a group of UoB students have come to Malaysia. During their stay the British students collaborated with a group of Taylor's University students on an engineering project. The students initially all got to know one another and obtained all resources required using the Taylor's MOOC platform.
The students collectively raised funds via crowd funding in order to build an EPIC Home for an orang asli (indigenous) family. In addition the students also used Conceive, Design, Implement Operate (CDIO) skills to produce a sustainable product that can be used by the orang asli to make their life easier and more sustainable.
Veena Doshi, the Assoc. Dean International (ADI) for SoE, commented that "for a group of first and second year students to understand crowd-funding, set-up their crowd-funding site and to raise RM 22,000 within a month is definitely impressive. It means that students have not only had the opportunity to have a hands on experience of building a house and sustainable product, but also had a chance to explore entrepreneurship". This summer programme had all the elements of education but also making it fun at the same time.
The students were very happy to be able to practice CDIO in action and felt proud that they were responsible to put a roof over the head of a needy family. They also enjoyed learning about the Malaysian culture, language, history and food. Dr Steve Quigley, The Director of Education at the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, UoB commented that “The summer programme was a huge success - the students had a great time and learned a lot”.
Furthermore, three academic staff from the University of Birmingham also visited Taylor's University during the time that the students were here - Dr Kostas Gkzationis, Dr Neil Cooke and Dr Kylee Goode. They were able to engage with the project and various other on-campus activities within the School of Engineering.