In


2020/04/18

About plans for teaching online during the corona virus pandemic

This page is a course guide and teaching supplement for my students at Seijo University, Tokyo, Japan. It is not a part of the official website of the university, as it contains information related only to my classes.

The syllabus listed below was made after the corona virus pandemic forced a change in plans. During the first semester, the course will be taught online with some changes made to the original plan. I hope to keep my teaching technology as simple as possible, but we will hold some realtime (synchronous) online classes during the scheduled class time (Monday 16:20-17:50), if all the students can access the online class sessions.

The original syllabus was a plan for 15 classes, but this semester we will have only 12 classes. We will try to cover the content of 15 lessons in 12 lessons, so you may have to do some extra homework. Changes are likely on a weekly basis as we adapt to the online learning experience.

I think most of my teaching will be done by giving students assignments to watch videos, read articles and write short reports about them. I will communicate with students through this website, the university's WebClass system, and email, phone calls, and internet phone calls (Skype, Google Hangout, LINE and so on). I will be available to communicate with students every Monday, 16:20-17:50 (the usual class time) and other times, if necessary. The way to communicate will be flexible, depending on the students' access to computers, WiFi and so on. It is highly recommended that you use a computer, but if you really cannot use one, it will be possible to follow the course by using a smartphone. We could even go more low-tech by communicating by telephone, fax and postal mail, and studying by reading books and writing with pen and paper. The important thing is that students should make an effort to keep in contact with the teacher, stay informed about assignments, and finish the assignments quickly.

The number of students in this course is usually low, so I will change my plans a lot according to the students' abilities and interests. Don't hesitate to register for the class if you think it seems too difficult. I will adjust your assignments to a level of difficulty that is right for you.

One problem with online (or remote) teaching is that it is difficult to confirm a student's identity and to confirm that he or she is the author of the assignments handed in. When we meet "on camera" I will ask you to hold up your student card beside your face so that I can confirm your status as a student at the university and in this course. At the end of the semester, I will talk to you about your written assignments, and you will have to convince me in that conversation that you wrote the assignments that have your name on them. This will not be a very difficult speaking test, but you should be able to show that you remember the contents of your work. You need to make me believe that you are the author of the assignments that you handed in.

You have to check three things regularly

1. This website

2. WebClass

3. Your university email account (studentnumber@u.seijo.ac.jp).

REVISED SYLLABUS FOR 2020-21 (WITH CHANGES DUE TO THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC)

THIS SYLLABUS WILL BE ADAPTED AS NECESSARY DURING THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. WE WILL TRY TO FOLLOW THE PLAN IN THE ORIGINAL SYLLABUS, BUT CHANGES MAY BE NECESSARY, DEPENDING ON PROBLEMS THAT ARISE WITH ONLINE LEARNING EXPERIENCES.

Advanced Oral Interaction in English 

Course Description

This course will build upon the skills that students acquired in previous compulsory English courses. The content will focus on the language used in careers and in academic studies. As such, this course is likely to help students obtain better scores on TOEIC and TOEFL, but it is not a test preparation course. The teacher will select various English training materials and authentic English language materials arranged around specific themes. 

Course Goals           

This course will share many of the objectives of English I: Academic Interaction, but it will have a greater focus on classroom interaction. In addition to being able to summarize, analyze and present information, students will have to ask questions, discuss, and engage in formal debates.

Teaching Methods             

The teacher will use primarily videos featuring short interviews and lectures that are subtitled in English. These are authentic samples of language use, not materials that have been edited and simplified for language learners. The course will begin with short videos (about four minutes long) and proceed to longer videos up to thirty minutes in length. Students will be required to study the vocabulary of the videos, comprehend their content, and use them as a starting point for discussion of the issues introduced by the speakers in the videos. 

Course Schedule 

1.           Course introduction. Student introductions. Assessment of English skills.

2.           Theme: Education. Video 1: Noam Chomsky on the meaning of being educated (3.5 minutes).

3.           Theme: Education. Video 1: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 1 and discussion of the theme.

4.           Theme: Medical ethics. Video 2: Ethical issues of surrogate pregnancy (4 minutes).

5.           Theme: Medical ethics. Video 2: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 2 and discussion of the theme.

6.           Theme: Film studies. Video 3: Two cast members of 2001: A Space Odyssey look back on the famous film from 1968 (5 minutes).

7.           Theme: Film studies. Video 3: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 3 and discussion of the theme.

8.           Theme: American History. Video 4: The civil trial for the murder of Martin Luther King (5 minutes).

9.           Theme: American History. Video 4: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 4 and discussion of the theme.

10.       Theme: Contemporary politics: Video 5: Russel Brand discusses the 2016 US presidential election result (7.5 minutes).

11.       Theme: Contemporary politics: Video 5: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 5 and discussion of the theme.

12.       Theme: Economics: Video 6: Economist Mark Blyth explains post-World War II economics (8 minutes).

13.       Theme: Economics: Video 6: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 6 and discussion of the theme.

14.       Review lesson(1)

15.       Review lesson(2)

16.       Theme: The role of mass media entertainment in public education. Video 7: Marlon Brando discusses why he refused his Oscar Award in 1973 (10 minutes).

17.       Theme: The role of mass media entertainment in public education. Video 7: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 7 and discussion of the theme.

18.       Theme: Public speaking and storytelling. Video 8: Leonard Cohen's award acceptance speech: How I got my song (12 minutes).

19.       Theme: Public speaking and storytelling. Video 8: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Summary of Video 8 and discussion of the theme.

20.       Theme: Crime and Punishment. Video 9: Frank Abagnale (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can) discusses his life of crime and his redeemed life as an FBI agent, husband and father (31 minutes).

21.       Theme: Crime and Punishment. Video 9: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Create a page of notes from which to perform a summary of Video 9.

22.       Theme: Crime and Punishment. Video 9: Discussion of Video 9.

23.       Theme: Communicating without language. Video 10: Godfrey Reggio discusses the making of his film Koyaanisqatsi which had neither narration nor dialog (25 minutes).

24.       Theme: Communicating without language. Video 10: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Create a page of notes from which to perform a summary of Video 10.

25.       Theme: Communicating without language. Video 10: Discussion of Video 10.

26.       Theme: Energy policy. Video 11: A Canadian scientist explains his opposition to nuclear energy (32 minutes).

27.       Theme: Energy policy. Video 11: Vocabulary quiz, comprehension quiz. Create a page of notes from which to perform a summary of Video 11.

28.       Theme: Energy policy. Video 11: Discussion of Video 11.

29.       Review lesson (3)

30.       Review lesson (4)

Self-study outside of Course Hours (Assignments, Preparation and Review etc.)             

Students will be required to review and do homework each week in order to prepare for the next lesson. Because this is a course in oral communication, performance in class and preparation for performance in class will be the main criteria of evaluation.

Assessment Criteria and Methods      

Preparedness and homework completion 50 

Participation in discussions 50 

Textbook       

No textbook required. 

Expectations for Enrolled Students    

Do the essential vocabulary study and preparation before each class. Be prepared to participate in the planned discussions based on the videos. 

Method to Contact the Lecturer           

riches[at]seijo.ac.jp or WebClass

Building 3, room 3813

Monday 14:40-16:10, Wednesday 10:40-12:10, Friday 9:00-10:30

If the chosen materials appear to be too difficult for the students who enroll, the teacher will adjust the plan described above to suit the students' abilities. Do not hesitate to join the class just because it seems to be too "high level."