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Resumption of Campus Attendance and Our Future Moving Forward

Masaki Moriguchi/Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Geometry processing, computer graphics

Nearing the finish line

The students who enrolled in 2020 will now be entering their senior year this spring. Yes, these are students who entered the school the year the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Their first two years of college were mostly spent online. Things started to change in their third year, when most of their classes became held face-to-face. While many students were happy to finally start living the typical life of university students, some were undoubtedly ambivalent about the change in their environment. Some feel more comfortable online, some enjoy getting together in person, and some have been looking forward to face-to-face relationships but are still getting used to them.

There are probably some who wish they could start over. In the sciences, students entering their fourth year will be assigned to a lab to work on their graduation research projects. They'll transition from activities centered in the lecture hall to those centered in the lab. That lab will be their new home base in the university, where they gather with other lab members with whom they'll spend the year. Having their own home base will make the campus an easier place to be. We want to help make the lab a comfortable place for the new fourth-year students. We hope that our upcoming activities in the lab will be the start of a new beginning for the students.

Finally, when we successfully send off the graduates of the class of 2023, we'll be able to feel a sense of closure regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The challenges we face moving forward

When we restarted face-to-face classes, and started conducting them the same way as we did before the pandemic, the classes often didn't work as well as they did before. (Although it's possible that my teaching skills just declined after a long time of not having taught face-to-face; other professors have made similar complaints.) Incoming new students will have experienced the pandemic at some point in their schooling, whether in elementary, junior high, or high school. Furthermore, there have been significant changes in digital technology. In a negative sense, these circumstances have converged into a reality where we can no longer rely on what was previously taken for granted in education. This is not a temporary setback, but a challenge we'll have to continue facing for some time as we move forward.

If the conventional approach doesn't work, it might be possible to compensate by changing the approach or providing some support. However, since this could be a deep-rooted problem, it seems to me that we need to observe our students closely and determine if they need some other form of basic support. I expect that the form of support needed will vary from grade to grade, and while this isn't a problem with clear answers, it's one that needs to be carefully considered.

How to work with digital technology

Digital technology has become significantly more advanced out of necessity due to COVID-19. Many facets of our lives have gone online, and we enjoy the convenience that comes with these advancements. We're now in an age where, as long as you have a smartphone, there are so many things you can accomplish. On the other hand, the smartphone, which allows us to interface with digital technology, is also a concentration inhibitor and time dissolver, so we need to be careful how we use it.

Maintaining concentration can be difficult. To address this, we want to help create an environment that makes it easier maintain retain concentration. If you're hearing notification sounds constantly, it takes too much effort just to resist the urge to look at your smartphone. Recent OS and apps have a focus mode that we can use as one solution. If a student is reluctant to turn off all notifications, they can use notification filtering effectively. However, finding the right settings might be a burdensome task in itself. This is where we'd like to utilize AI to suggest effective settings.

Countless fascinating pieces of content are created every day, including social media posts, videos, and texts. Even with double-speed playback, you'll never run out of things that capture your interest. Rather than consuming content while prioritizing quantity, we should encourage students to find and enjoy content that gives them satisfaction, even in moderate quantities. Digital technology will continue to become increasingly advanced, and the content that will be generated will also expand in scale. Our cognitive capacity, however, won't change along with it in any significant way. In order to deal with the countless amount of content, we need to learn some tricks. One method might be to leave some space between you and the temptations that you can't resist.

A world of constant notifications and an enormous amount of content-once the COVID-19 pandemic passes, I hope we're able to calmly think about how to deal with these things.

Masaki Moriguchi/Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University
Areas of Specialization: Geometry processing, computer graphics

Masaki Moriguchi was born in Okinawa in 1979.
In 2002, he graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Tokyo.
In 2005, he completed the master’s program at the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo.
In 2008, he completed the doctoral program at the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, the University of Tokyo.
He assumed his current position in April 2019 after working as a researcher in the RIKEN VCAD System Research Program and as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Chuo University.

He is currently engaged in research in information engineering, with a focus on geometry processing and computer graphics.