THE SMILE PROJECT. A CASE STUDY OF AN INTERNATIONAL ENGINEERING EDUCATION PROJECT FOR DEVELOPMENT
SMILE project is an international education project for engineering students, and implies volunteering activities including aid and support for the local communities in developing countries. SMILE project is built on the basis of engineering member’s creative ideas beyond the preconceived and typical engineering education. The purpose of SMILE project is to let local people smile based on the technical support on site. Participants with an engineering major consider the local issues and discuss the possible solutions. This program is managed by the Consortium of Innovation Center for Engineering Education in Pusan National University of Korea (PNU), which comprises 14 universities in the south-eastern region of Korea. PNU is focusing on engineering service learning which educates globally responsible students who can offer sustainable and appropriate solutions to the endemic problems faced by local communities in developing countries worldwide. Since 2009, PNU has been running engineering service learning projects in Indonesia and since 2015 also in Morocco. SMILE project is based on the problem-based learning approach. This contribution presents the case study of the 2017 SMILE project event, which was held in Morocco. Besides the PNU as coordinator, two more universities (one from Morocco and one from Spain) are also part of the event. The aim is to train students to be able to look at problems from different perspectives through various learning processes, including creative invention method, design, team working and results sharing. They learn by project on how to approach a problem differently, rather than be merely taught how to come up with a pre-determined solution to each given problem. The teams help to solve the problems that local residents are facing. The process includes 'deriving a new idea', 'product design', 'purchasing materials', 'making a product', 'writing product description' and 'installing products'. Team managers with engineering majors follow and monitore each team, check all missions at each stage and advice when needed. At the end of the project, students are given the opportunity to evaluate the project activities and focus on their learning from the project. This Self- reflection should cover various aspects including ability to use one's own skills and resources, cooperative spirit, communication skills, self-management, analytic thinking, and global capabilities. Challenges and learning outcomes of the experience are presented.