Since June 2009, the Jeju Water Industry Center and Jeju National University (JNU) have worked together on a program called EduWater, a name combining both “education” and “water.”
EduWater is a semester-long product development competition program, designed to train and prepare students to work in the water industry. With such a collaboration between industry and academia, theoretical knowledge is taught in classroom settings and students apply what they have learned in practical ways to develop their projects.
Full-time students at JNU majoring in 13 different fields like civil engineering, chemistry, economics, and environmental engineering are eligible to participate. Students in the program can earn up to 6 million won to help execute their project. Each team can choose a dedicated faculty mentor, along with support from a company in the field. At the end of each semester, the first, second, and third placed teams are awarded 2 million won, 1 million won, and 500,000 won, respectively.
This semester, 75 undergraduate students and 10 graduate students from JNU divided into 16 teams in hopes of creating a water industry product to claim first place. And their product ideas are creative. They range from mobile phone applications to spa therapy equipment.
During the program, students have to do everything on their own with little help from the faculty. Throughout the semester, students learn to pose research questions, conduct their own research, design a product, and finally bring their vision to life.
Students learn to work as a team. It also helps students to build problem solving skills.
Professor Seong Baeg Kim, director of the EduWater Project at the Jeju Water Industry Center, emphasized the strength of the program. “This is something that hasn’t been done before. For undergraduate students, the opportunity to work with students from different majors as a team does not come easily.”
For participating companies, Professor Kim said, “It is not easy for a company to support creative product ideas on its own.” Also, with internship opportunities sponsored by the Jeju Water Industry Center, companies can employ young talent already with experience working in the field.
Last year’s second-place team, H.O.W., submitted a patent application for their four tea products with fucoidan (an extract from seaweed used to treat cancer) and “Olle package,” which contains the tea and barley bread.
Team Waterful, under Professor Kim’s supervision, developed a storytelling technique to advertise Jeju’s unique energy drink called Gemurosa. The team’s thesis, “advertisement of energy drinks and educational mobile digital storytelling development,” will be presented in an academic seminar later this year.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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