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HOME > 29th JAMCO Online International Symposium > Readers’ Feedback (1)

JAMCO Online International Symposium

29th JAMCO Online International Symposium

February 2021 - March 2021

The Potential of Broadcasting and New Media for Supporting Education During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Readers’ Feedback (1)

Hiroko Nishikage
Taisho University

I read the report, Personal Views on Distance Learning Based on My Own Experience, with interest and wish to raise a number of issues that university education now needs to address following the sudden disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent launch of distance learning in 2020.

I personally served in two capacities in this area, one as a full-time lecturer with responsibility for supporting distance learning, and the other as a part-time lecturer in receipt of such support. In each capacity, preparation for the start of distance learning was very time consuming and entailed much trial and error.

First, in my main position and as the member of staff with overall responsibility for English-language coordination, I faced the urgent need to build the new English teaching systems. The English classes for first- and second-year students at our university are streamed according to ability into elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, with different texts used for each. It was decided appropriate video materials had to be prepared for each stream to maintain the teaching quality of classes performed by multiple teachers. For on-demand teaching, the class teachers each prepared three or so videos of roughly 10-minute length for use in 100-minute classes in the spring and fall semesters. The students watched the videos independently to tackle their appointed tasks and their teachers then assessed the work they submitted. The teachers were all English-language education specialists but beginners in video production. The videos produced in this manner helped us to make it through the emergency, but important issues remained with regard to the videos’ quality as teaching materials. As Aoki proposes, support systems for educational content production at the university level have to be constructed for use in future distance-learning education.

Next, I must mention the systems I encountered in my capacity as a part-time lecturer in receipt of support. The use of a different platform from that of my main position presented me with a wide range of difficult issues from the preparatory stage. On the other hand, a management committee for e-learning was set from the moment the decision to use distance learning was taken, and three help desks, relating to Zoom, classrooms and distance-learning content, were established. Regular online study groups were also convened. These support systems worked like gifts from heaven for teachers unfamiliar with the techniques of distance learning and provided valuable opportunities for them to consider teaching methods as a group instead of becoming isolated. Not every university introduced support systems of this nature but this is assuredly an area in which advance preparation is now desired.

The distance-learning experiences of teachers must now be shared and discussed widely for use in developing new teaching materials and improving teaching methods.

Hiroko Nishikage

Taisho University

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