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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

MISSION

Media Network Center & Distance Learning Center

We would like to introduce the Media Network Center (MNC) that had single-handedly led the informatization of media network infrastructure within Waseda University and the Distance Learning Center (DLC) that supports utilization of ICT in education.

We want to diffuse ICT as a driving force to enhance quality of education/research.

Academic Affairs Division
Administrative Director (IT promotion)
Manabu Kuroda

Establishing information infrastructure of the entire school and providing the system to support education/research

At Waseda University, informatization such as establishment of ICT environment and utilization of ICT in education has been promoted mainly by the Media Network Center (MNC), which was established in 1996, and Distance Learning Center (DLC) which was established in 2002.

One of the features of this effort is the collaboration with Digital Campus Consortium (DCC) which was established in 1999. Waseda University has been creating new education styles using ICT in collaboration with corporations participating in DCC. Advanced education that other universities cannot imitate, such as on-demand classes throughout the University, Tutorial English, and CCDL began as experimental approaches by DCC, and they have become the strengths of “Waseda of Education”.

Aiming for user-friendly services from the users’ perspectives

Waseda University has been developing and operating unique systems to support education. Instead of using ready-made package software and offering courses with limitation of the package, we try to design the systems with the goal to suit the courses and to harvest the new possibilities of the courses. This way, we aim to truly contribute to enhancing quality of education. In order to achieve it, we reflect the demands of the users from the planning stage as much as possible and continue improving the programs even after they are released by reflecting the users’ voices. Course N@vi, which began in 2007, is now used by about 70% of courses and more than 80% of faculty. In order to facilitate more effective utilization from now, we need to publicize and share the good practices that are effectively utilizing Course N@vi and achieving great learning effects to lead to utilization with better quality. Collection of good practices and WASEDA e-Teaching Award, etc. are the examples of our efforts to achieve our goal.

ICT is just a tool. Using ICT does not always enhance the quality of classes. In order for students to acquire abilities useful in society such as communication skills, discussion capacity and ability to take actions, it is essential to offer courses that combine face-to-face classes and ICT. “Basic Math Plus” and “Academic Writing” which began as the “Academic Literacy by Waseda University*” in 2008 offer all lectures by on-demand program in combination with individual and face-to-face tutorial. Every year, about 4,000 students take each course. “I realized that logical thinking of law and mathematical verification are similar, and I could grasp the true nature of mathematics, which I could not when I was a high school student. I was accepted by a law school. I think the course gave me an opportunity to organize the process of logical thinking,” said a student who took the course (4th year, School of Law). “Because I tutored academic writing, my papers that I submit for publication began to pass the reviews by referees,” said a graduate student who was involved with the operation of the course (tutor). On-demand class goes beyond the existing concept of “lecture given in a classroom”. Individual tutorial creates in-depth learning. A new education of combining these two styles has a large potential.

In the future, we will try to entrench a new blended education style that combines on-demand lecture with face-to-face discussion and group works, as well as development of on-line presentation content by students, etc. At the same time, we will prepare for the “learning portfolio”, in which the students can record their work such as video content, papers and reports together with their findings such as “what I thought while I was working on it”. We believe that it will be a “trace of their learning and growth” that they can use to reflect themselves at the time of job hunting, etc. or to sell themselves outside of the University (e.g. corporations). The MNC and DLC will continue promoting foresighted informatization to make ICT a driving force for improving education/research.

* Academic Literacy by Waseda University (commonly known as 10,000 People Series): one of basic education across entire university. e.g. “Tutorial English”, “CCDL”, “Academic Writing”, “Basic Math Plus”.

To be a driving force to support education/research

Manager, Media Network Center
Assistant Director, Academic Affairs Division (in charge of IT promotion)
Toyohiko Shinma

The Media Network Center (MNC) was established in 1996 as an integrated form of three organizations for administration, education/research and library network in order to promote effective informatization at Waseda University. It works on the school-wide informatization such as improvement of Waseda’s ICT environment including network, computer rooms, and AV facilities as well as development and management of the systems to support education/research, student life, and administration. Promotion of education/research not only requires faculty but also a system to support the faculty. We hope to become one of the driving forces to create the systems.

Web site of MNC:http://www.waseda.jp/mnc/

Utilization of ICT will lead to enhancing quality of classes.

Distance Learning Center
Administrative Director
Hironori Nagama

The Distance Learning Center was established in 2002 in order to create a new education style using ICT. It works on distribution and expansion of education utilizing ICT, including planning and providing operational support for on-demand courses and long distance interactive classes with overseas educational institutions (e.g. CCDL and cyber seminar) and support for content development. We believe that although ICT is just a tool, it can lead to enhancing quality of classes if it is used not by some people but by many people. As a tool to enhance the level of courses, we will promote informatization.

Web site of DLC:http://www.waseda.jp/dlc/

Connecting and expanding IT environment in the University

24-hour computer lab

The computer lab on the first floor of building No. 22 is open for 24 hours almost throughout a year since 1998. There are 140 computers, and during the day, all of them are used by students for the software for education/research and the Internet to complete their assignments. Computer rooms are also available in each campus and school and are used in the courses for specialized education, etc.

Computer lab

School-wide computer room
Name of campus Number of computers
Waseda 1,866
Toyama 290
Nishiwaseda 672
Higashifushimi 102
Honjo 54
Tokorozawa 126
Nihonbashi 20
Kitakyushu 92

Wireless LAN environment

Wireless LAN access points are available in various locations such as libraries, study rooms and student lounge on the campus. The environment is prepared for the students to access to the Internet using their personal notebooks, tablets, and smart phones.

Support for IT use

As a consultation desk for students to ask about computers and systems offered by Waseda University, there is a students’ IT consultation room, and teaching assistants answer the questions in a friendly manner. The support is also offered at the Waseda Portal Office, located in building No.7.

Content development studio

Waseda University has the unprecedented progress and distribution of on-demand courses. It offers a studio (basement of building No.26), where movie content for classes can be developed. Professional staff provides full support from recording to distribution.

Content development studio

Simple recording studio

Sharing good practices of ICT utilization and achieving better quality education

In order for effective use of ICT, we publish good practices of ICT utilization. From 2012, we also host the “WASEDA e-Teaching Award” to recognize the actions that have great achievement using ICT. We hope to achieve a cycle in which ICT users develop innovative courses using the good practices as reference and enhance quality of education, while the system to support them evolves.

Collection of good practices of Course N@vi utilization

Improving information literacy educational activities

The MNC also focuses on information literacy education. At the computer security seminar for new students, we provide on-demand lecture and carry out a test on the legal and ethical responsibility for information dissemination using network, risks of using network, etc. as the minimum knowledge for using the system/service offered by the University. If the lecture attendance and test result do not meet the requirement, a severe measure will be taken such as suspension of the use of the system. It is also mandatory for faculty and staff to take the on-demand “faculty and staff self-management seminar” concerning information security, academic research ethics and harassment.