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 second 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 online classes during the scheduled class time (Monday 10:40-12:10).

I will communicate with students through this website, the university's WebClass system, and email, phone calls, and internet phone calls. 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. 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.

You have to check three things regularly:

1. This website

2. WebClass

3. Your university email account (



Innovation Studies [b] 2020

Revised Syllabus 2020/09/14

An earlier version of this syllabus was published on the university website in February 2020, but since that time the coronavirus pandemic has forced the university to implement distance learning. This revised syllabus reflects the necessary changes required by the emergency situation.

Course Description

The course description is similar to that of the first semester of this course, but there are new materials to study. The targeted level of instruction is “upper intermediate” as described in level B2 of the guidelines of CEFR (Common European Framework for Languages). The course covers some of the subject areas taught in Japanese in other courses offered in the Faculty of Social Innovation (sociology, psychology, economics, finance, innovation studies etc.). This course will give students the opportunity learn the concepts and the English terminology related to their fields of study, and to gain an international perspective on these fields of study.

Special Note

Every year, the number of registered students has been very low, and as a result it has been possible to make major changes to this syllabus in order to customize it to the needs and interests of the students. The course of study may be very different from what is described here. If the chosen materials appear to be too difficult for the students who enroll, the teacher will adjust the plan to suit the students’ abilities. Do not hesitate to join the class just because it seems to be too “high level.”

Course Goals           

Students will be introduced to articles, lectures and interviews from various fields of study, 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 are expected to work at a higher level than in the first semester (the [a] section of the course) in terms of their ability to analyze and discuss the materials studied, but new students are welcome to join and work at a level suited to their abilities.

Teaching Methods             

The language of instruction and communication among students will be English. In the first semester, the lessons are based on authentic materials such as magazine articles, TED talks, and interviews broadcast in various media. The second semester will follow a similar plan but with different topics and materials, and there will be an expectation that students will be more capable of using authentic materials in their studies. 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 various 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 create a multimedia presentation for which they will write a script and record a narration.

Course Schedule  

1. Marketing and advertising: Is advertising evil? TED talk by Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons of an Ad Man.

2. Marketing and advertising: Innovations in products and services: Targeted advertising: What is targeted advertising? Article from Money magazine: Ten Ways Google Has Changed the World.

3. Marketing and advertising: Discussion of the previous lessons on this topic.

4. Education: TED talk by Salman Khan: Let's Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores.

5. Education: TED talk by Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education's Death Valley

6. Education: Discussion of previous lessons on this topic.

7. Finance and economics: Scenes from a film about the crash of 2008: The Big Short.

8. Finance and economics: Scenes from a film about the crash of 2008: Margin Call.

9. Finance and economics: Discussion of previous lessons on this topic.

10. Public policy: Experiments in guaranteed minimum income (various sources).

11. Public policy: Competition and cooperation, theories of human nature underlying public policy.

12. Public policy: Discussion of the previous lessons on this topic.

13. Coaching on final project, revising drafts.

14. Coaching on final projects, revising drafts.

15. Coaching on final projects, revising drafts, rehearsing narration.

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. Students will be expected to work at a slightly higher level in the second semester, compared to the first semester, in terms of participating in discussions and making presentations.

Assessment Criteria and Methods      

Preparation and Participation (40) Presentation (60)


No textbook is required 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 do research, review the materials and create their final projects.

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 more advanced level than in 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] or WebClass