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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul. 2013)

SPECIAL REPORT

State of education is changing.

“Education utilizing ICT”

Waseda University incorporated ICT into the education ahead of other universities and had been taking actions to enhance the quality of classes. The Core Strategy 4 of “Waseda Vision 150”, “A Switch to an Interactive, Problem Finding/Solving Style of Education” is one of them.
We examine the current status of ICT at Waseda and the changes that ICT will bring to education.

※ICT: Information Communication Technology

Introducing the latest ICT infrastructure and utilization examples

New form of education using ICT

Waseda University is aiming to enhance educational effect by using ICT in teaching. In this report, we would like to introduce on-demand class, long distance interactive class with overseas universities and class support portal as examples of ICT utilization in teaching.

On-demand class

In the on-demand classes, a part or all of lectures in the classroom is delivered as internet movie. Waseda University has been using this system since 2000. The students can view the class movie anytime, anywhere and as many times as they want during the school term. Some students say it is better than conventional courses in the classroom because they can repeatedly view the video until they fully understand the contents of the class. Currently, about 1,000 courses (including e-school subjects) use the on-demand class system, and the number is expected to grow.

The on-demand classes not only stream movies one-sidedly but also provide two-way communication opportunities such as peer review of assignments on Course N@vi, discussion using a Bulletin Board System (BBS), and frequent feedbacks from faculty.

Voice of a student
Attractiveness of on-demand class

Course: Basic Math Plus α・β・γ
Daishi Kojo (Third year, School of Social Sciences)

I took this course because I was attracted to the contents of “Basic Math Plus Series” which apply mathematics in the real life. As it was an on-demand course, I could take it without worrying about the class schedule. Also, when I had difficulties understanding the lecture, I could review the video anytime and many times and ask questions using a BBS. My questions were always quickly answered not just by TA but also by my fellow students. This environment helped me deepen my understanding of the lecture. The feature of on-demand, namely, “accessible anytime, when it is convenient”, is a strong supporter for students who “are motivated to study”.

E-learning courses of the School of Human Sciences (e-school)

The e-school of the School of Human Sciences began in 2003 as the first online course offered through the Internet in Japan. Almost most of its classes are distributed on the Internet as on-demand classes. Because there is no need to be physically present in the classroom, students are from a wide range of age groups in their teens to the 60s, including busy workers and students who live in countryside or overseas and have difficulties commuting. In addition to the lectures, the e-school offers a virtual “Home Room” on the Internet and a BBS for interactions among faculties and students.

Voice of a student
E-learning courses (e-school), which enabled me to pursue both skating and study

Fuji Television Network, Inc.
Yukari Nakano
(Graduated from the e-school of the School of Human Sciences in 2008, completed Master’s Program of the Graduate School of Human Sciences in 2010)

Because I had been focusing my life on figure skating since 3 years old and I was often participating in overseas competitions, I almost gave up going to a university. However, my mother recommended me to try the e-school of Waseda University, and thanks to the e-school, I could achieve my dream of pursuing both staking and study.

ⒸT-HONMA

It was tough to graduate from the e-school within 4 years, and there was always a risk of leaving the school half done, had I focused on skating. However, the e-school of Waseda University offers a great learning environment for the people who have limited time or frequently move around. With a computer and Internet access, the students can receive on-demand classes anywhere and anytime. There is also a tutor for each class, from whom the students can receive answers and advice for the class. The students can also take classes of other departments. This has helped me to broaden my perspectives. I would like to express my appreciation for the people who had established this system and environment.

I went through various experiences while pursuing both skating and study. Crying, laughing, and regretting… Even after many failures, I have been achieving small goals step by step. I believe that this has created energy for the next challenge. It has been 4 years since I graduated from the school, and anxiety and expectation still intersect every day. However, I do feel that I am making use of what I learned from the undergraduate and graduate courses of Waseda University for six years in many occasions. In order to be able to contribute to my company and society as soon as possible, I would like to continue making efforts.

Long distance interactive class with overseas universities
CCDL (Cross-Cultural Distance Learning) classes

ICT is effectively used also for language study and international exchange. Waseda University is proactively offering long distance interactive classes with overseas universities using TV conference system and Web chat system. Through the “Cross-Cultural Distance Learning (CCDL)” courses offered by the Open Education Center, the students can acquire not only English skills but also the capacity for cross-cultural understanding through real-time discussions with students of Asian universities. The program gives great satisfaction to the students who want to improve their English after the “Tutorial English*” course and learn more practical English as well as who have overseas study experiences and want to maintain their English level through interactions in English.

* “Tutorial English” is a small-group English program in which a native tutor teaches only 4 students. More than 8,000 students take the program per year.

Voice of a student
My discussion ability in English has improved.

Minami Mori (Second year, School of Political Science and Economics)

I took a CCDL course when it was introduced to me as an extension of Tutorial English, which I took during the first half of my first year. The advantage of the CCDL is that students can listen to various opinions of foreign students and gain practical discussion ability. I encountered many surprises during discussions on various topics with the students from Taiwan once a week. Furthermore, the course led me to various experiences such as the International Student Forum, in which I participated as a facilitator. My English discussion ability still needs a lot of improvement. I would like to continue working on it through the CCDL.

Class support system, “Course N@vi”

The “Waseda-net Course N@vi” is our unique Learning Management System (LMS) which has been in place since 2007. Wide range of essential functions for managing the classes are offered including announcements, presentation of materials, discussion, and submission of reports, quizzes and questionnaires, etc. The LMS is used not only by the on-demand courses but also by usual courses. It contributes to optimizing class management, improving quality of classes and enhancing satisfactory level of students.

Various functions

■Safe and stable lecture movie distribution through “Silverlight”

Lecture movies are delivered through the “Silverlight” system. The system allows the viewers to watch movies regardless of the type of their OS or browser. It also prevents illegal download and illegal copy. In combination with the Contents Delivery Network (CDN), which is a large-scale delivery service, we can stably deliver movies even if accesses are concentrated.

■Similarities analysis function

For educational guidance of plagiarism and fraudulent use, we incorporated a function to determine similarities between information on the Web and reports submitted by students in the report submission function of Course N@vi. The students need to submit their reports declaring that there is no plagiarism and fraudulent use of information. If it is identified that the similarities are high, faculty will check the citation status and results of similarities analysis and provide appropriate guidance to the students.

■Content development and delivery platform, the “Waseda-net Commons”

The Waseda-net Commons is a system to assist the users in creating, uploading and delivering video contents in a simple manner, as long as they have a computer with (built-in) a camera and microphones. More and more people are using it such as faculties who use the system to develop materials for students in preparation for classes or make lecture movies as substitutes for cancelled classes or students who use the system to make presentations in seminars.

In addition to the classes, the system is used for various events. In the “Global Presentation Competition” (upper two pictures), which we conduct in collaboration with Korea University since 2012 and in the “Waseda Vision 150 Student Competition” (lower two pictures) which we conducted in March this year, presentation movies made by students were uploaded on the Waseda-net Commons, and the first round of judging was conducted on line (the final round was face-to-face presentations).