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 has been revised since 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 online classes during the scheduled class time (Monday 10:40-12:10), 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, 10:40-12:10 (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 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 even 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.

Innovation Studies [a] 2020 

Introduction

This course will cover some of the subject areas taught in Japanese in other courses offered in the Faculty of Social Innovation (sociology, psychology, economics, finance, political science, innovation studies etc.). The targeted level of instruction is "upper intermediate" as described in level B2 of the guidelines of CEFR (Common European Framework for Languages). This course will give students the opportunity to learn the concepts and the English terminology related to their fields of study, and to gain an international perspective on these fields of study.

Course Goals

Students will be introduced to lectures and interviews from fields of study related to other courses in the Faculty of Social Innovation, and they will learn basic concepts and English terminology related to them. The course will also naturally share many of the objectives of previous English courses that focus on the acquisition of general English language skills. Students will develop an ability to analyze and discuss the materials studied.

Teaching Methods             

The language of instruction and communication among students will be English. The lessons will be based on authentic materials such as TED talks and interviews broadcast in various media. In the first semester, these materials may be presented in an abridged format if students find authentic materials to be too challenging. The materials will introduce various fields of study with texts and subtitles that support the audio-visual material. Students will be expected to comprehend the texts and learn the terminology of the fields of study. They will practice taking notes and making written and oral summaries of the materials studied. Finally, they will discuss and critically review what they have studied. For a final assignment, students will present a source of their own choosing on one of the topics studied during the semester.

ONLINE REALTIME LESSONS WILL BE HELD IN THE FIRST SEMESTER, PROVIDED THAT ALL STUDENTS CAN GET ACCESS TO WiFi AND DEVICES NECESSARY TO PARTICIPATE IN THEM

Course Schedule  

1.       Psychology: Attachment theory.

2.       Psychology: Helen Fisher: TED talk: Why we love, why we cheat.

3.       Psychology: Discussion of previous lessons on psychology.

4.       Economics: The crisis of capitalism and bureaucratization. Causes of the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

5.       Economics: Keiser Report (E723), interview with anthropologist David Graeber, author of The Utopia of Rules.

6.       Economics: Discussion of previous lessons on economics.

7.       Science and technology: Challenges of automation and technology in the age of demographic crisis.

8.       Science and technology: Managing the cost of healthcare. TED talk by Atul Gawande: How Do We Heal Medicine?

9.       Science and technology: Discussion of previous lessons on science and technology and possible connections to the previous topics, economics and psychology.

10.   Governance and political institutions: Various commentaries on the American election of 2016.

11.   Governance and political institutions: Interview with historian Helen Yaffe on the BBC, contrasting the nature of democracy in the USA and in Cuba.

12.   Governance and political institutions: Discussion of previous lessons on this topic.

13.   Student presentations. Students discuss their own chosen material related to any of the topics above.

14.   Student presentations. Students discuss their own chosen material related to any of the topics above.

15.   Student presentations. Students discuss their own chosen material related to any of the topics above.

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

The study materials are more difficult than what students have encountered in first and second year courses, so they should expect to spend more time reviewing and preparing for lessons.

Assessment Criteria and Methods      

Participation 40

Presentation 40% (submitted as a Powerpoint file)

Review and Preparation for classes 20

Textbook      

There is no assigned textbook for this course.

Suggested Readings and Supplementary Materials         

Study materials will be available on the Internet. For some of the materials, it will not be practical to use only a small device such as a smartphone. Students should use a computer to review the materials outside of class time.

Expectations for Enrolled Students    

Because this is an elective course, it is expected that students will be highly motivated and capable of working at a higher level than the first and second year courses. Students should be prepared to spend extra time preparing for lessons, and they should actively look for supplementary information on the topics covered in class. 

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."