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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (May)

From the classroom window

Introducing actions for implementing high-quality education worthy of being called “Waseda of Education”

In order to further improve the quality of our education, Waseda University is promoting Faculty Development (hereafter referred to as “FD”). In 2008, the university established the Center for Faculty Development. During his time as Assistant Dean of the School of Education, Professor Yokoyama contributed to the establishment of a university-wide FD promotion system. We held a discussion with Professor Yokoyama regarding advancements in classes as a result of FD, as well as regarding his expectations towards students.
*Faculty Development: A collective name for organizational actions by faculty for the reform and improvement of class contents and methods.

Cultivate thinking and elicit individuality.
This is one form of “high-quality classes.”

Professor Masanori Yokoyama
Faculty of Commerce

Linking improved quality of education with the growth of students

FD at Waseda University uses the fundamental philosophy of “bottom-up beginning from faculty.” Even before the implementation of FD, individual faculty members have actively searched for the form of quality lessons. Although it is important to create a system and other constant frameworks, I believe that even greater results can be realized by valuing the autonomy of the faculty who actually conduct lessons.

The ultimate goal is to link improved quality of education with the growth of students. We must conduct classes which expand the horizons of students and encourage them to study at an even higher level.

In order to achieve this goal, it is vital to further increase the consciousness of individual faculty members in regards to FD. In the future, there will be increased importance for a support system centered on a portal office and for cooperation between faculty and staff.

Style of lessons changed through Course N@vi

Course N@vi is one tool for increasing the quality of classes. I began to use Course N@vi from the 2007 academic year. Since then, I feel that the style of my lessons has changed significantly.

Previously, in the case of classes held in large classrooms and attended by nearly 150 students, the students and I had a 150-to-1 relationship. However, when using Course N@vi, I can directly ascertain the knowledge sought by each student and the questions of each student. Our relationship has changed from a 150-to-1 relationship to 150 one-to-one relationships. I can build interactive relationships with students and incorporate their requests in my classes. This is extremely effective for increasing the quality of education.

When examining data from the past 2 years, the performance of students has increased. Course N@vi can be used for mini-tests, as well as for preparation and review of material. It is also possible to use Course N@vi to conduct explanations for mini-tests held in the classroom. Course N@vi is an extremely useful tool for supplementing classes, and the effectiveness of the system can be seen in the performance of students.

Of course, issues also exist. Since I increased the ratio of tests using Course N@vi, I decreased the number of reports that students must submit. In recent years, I feel some concern towards the decrease in student’s ability to express themselves through writing. A system is needed to increase the writing ability of students. Also, there is the issue of an increased amount of work for faculty.

Think and finding an answer independently

Through classes, I hope that students will acquire the ability to view and consider the matters confronting them. There is often debate regarding the question why it is necessary to study mathematics. It is often said that mathematics is of no use upon entering society. However, it is possible to develop a logical method of thinking by studying mathematics. Such ability will undoubtedly be useful in the future when working for a corporation and conducting negotiation with customers. In addition to mathematics, I hope that students will develop their ability to view and consider matters through a variety of classes.

Finally, an attitude of autonomous study is important. The process of thinking and finding answers independently will lead to the development of individuality in each student. I believe that we must conduct lessons which elicit individuality.

Course N@vi

Answer screen for a mini-test on Course N@vi. A time limit is set for each question.

Course N@vi is an original system of Waseda University. The system contains a full lineup of support functions for increasing the effect of education. Course N@vi has been implemented on a university-wide basis since the 2007 academic year. Major functions of the system are listed below:

  • Transmission of emails announcing important topics from faculty to students enrolled in classes.
  • Uploading of material used in classes.
  • Exchange of opinions between faculty and students (electronic bulletin board).
  • Mini-tests and questionnaires.
  • Report submission.

Professor Masanori Yokoyama
Faculty of Commerce

Graduate from the Waseda University School of Commerce. Completed the Doctoral Program of the Faculty of Commerce, Waseda University. Holds a PhD (commerce). His main areas of expertise include economic policy and international economics. During his time as Assistant Dean of the School of Education, was involved in preparations for the establishment of the Center for Faculty Development. In 2008, assumed the position of Associate Dean of Academic Affairs in the School of Commerce.