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Evolution of a Chinese-Canadian Educational Partnership

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2015 ASEE International Forum


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 14, 2015

Conference Session

Concurrent Paper Tracks - Session II

Tagged Topics

Diversity and International Forum

Page Count


Page Numbers

19.16.1 - 19.16.11



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Paper Authors


Ronald J Hugo University of Calgary

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Ronald J. Hugo is Professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and Associate Dean (Teaching & Learning) at the University of Calgary. He is also the holder of the Engineering Education Innovation Chair in the Schulich School of Engineering. His research interests are in the areas of experimental fluid dynamics, energy systems, and engineering education.

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Bob Brennan P.Eng. University of Calgary

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Jian Zhang


Xiaodong Niu Shantou University

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Niu Xiaodong is currently a full professor and Head of Department of Mechatronics Engineering in Shantou University in China. He obtained his Ph.D. in department of Mecahnical Engineering in National University of Singapore in 2004. His earlier academic career includes:2008~2011, Associate Professor of Doshisha University and, 2006~2008, Visiting Researcher of Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc. in Japan, His majors are computaional and exeperimental fluid mechanics, particularly on lattice Boltizmann method and magnetic fluids.

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Evolution of a Chinese-Canadian Educational PartnershipIn February 2009, a group of 33 University of Calgary students traveled to China for an elevenday non-credit group travel program. The program included 3 days in Beijing and 7 days atShantou University in Guangdong Province. In an effort to bolster inter-cultural understanding,the University of Calgary students were engaged in a week-long project-based learningexperience with an equal number of Shantou University students. This coupling was enhancedby the participation of both the University of Calgary and Shantou University in CDIO(Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate), an international engineering education collaborative.The travel program, with an embedded project-based learning experience in it, proved to be astrong success in terms of intercultural exchange, inspiring the program architects to pursue amore formal for-credit collaborative.Since the first collaborative effort in 2009, the University of Calgary and Shantou Universityhave partnered a total of five times through what is referred to as a group study travel program.Each May for the past five years, twenty University of Calgary students have traveled to ShantouUniversity where they have taken two courses with twenty Shantou University students. Thetwo courses have consisted of a project-based learning course, Innovation and Entrepreneurshipin Renewable Energy, and an inquiry-based learning course, Renewable Energy Practicum. Theprogram has been delivered in English and primarily by one of the University of CalgaryEngineering professors.The paper will describe how the group study program has evolved over its five-year history.Reflective transformation has been instrumental in this evolution, with the main course instructorrecording observations in a daily journal. This journal includes comments that range from howwell different learning activities work, to suggestions for improvements to the teaching andlearning workspaces, to proposals for how the timing of the program elements could be modifiedto better assist in the learning process. Budgetary elements were also recorded in efforts tooptimize program resources.The paper will also describe how scaffolding has been used to accelerate student learning. Thiscourse coupling has been very successful, resulting in the completion of course projects in fiveweeks that are equivalent in complexity to eight-month long capstone design projects. Theprocess has also been accelerated by taking advantage of the supply-chain system within Chinaand by the rapid advancement in low-cost additive manufacturing.The paper will also describe the connections between the University of Calgary and ShantouUniversity that have helped contribute to the overall success of the program. These connectionshave evolved each year that the program has been offered, enhancing the stability of program’soperation.

Hugo, R. J., & Brennan, B., & Zhang, J., & Niu, X. (2015, June), Evolution of a Chinese-Canadian Educational Partnership Paper presented at 2015 ASEE International Forum, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--17139

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