【updated April 30th】FAQ
Updated 2020. 04.14
Last week GIS organized an online survey of its students to establish their readiness for learning online and for informing us of any concerns they had. The following questions are collated from students’ concerns.
About Online Lectures
Q1. How long will the online lectures last?
A1. We hope that things will go back to normal soon, but it depends on the spread of the coronavirus. Things are changing all the time. It is highly possible that all classes may be conducted online for the entire spring semester. We will be constantly putting updates on the university’s website, the GIS online bulletin board, and the Hosei Learning Management System by Hoppii (https://hoppii.hosei.ac.jp), so please ensure that you regularly check them.
Q2. Has the duration of the spring semester been finalized?
A2. Yes. The spring semester starts on April 21 and ends on July 17. The reason why there will be no change in the class schedules is that it is highly possible that the impact of the coronavirus epidemic will continue for a considerable time. Some of the courses may have make-up classes on May 9, May 16, May 23, May 30, June 20, June 27, July 4, and July 11 to cover the content described in the syllabus. Attending these will be optional. The main reason Hosei is starting earlier than other universities is to give both students and staff a little time to get used to teaching and learning in an online environment. The first couple of classes may be used to familiarize students with the teaching method(s) that each instructor will use and to gently move into online learning.
Q3. What is the ideal study environment for online lectures?
A3. We recommend that you create an environment where you can focus on lectures:
･Avoid situations where there is a noisy background
･Use a laptop/tablet, ideally with a good camera & inbuilt microphone (you can use plug-in devices if you wish)
･Use WiFi* with good reception (*Students are encouraged to use WiFi in a secure and stable environment)
The GIS instructors have been asked NOT to use video conferencing apps like Zoom in the first class to avoid discriminating against students who can’t use them. So the first class will just consist of materials uploaded to the class page on Hoppii. If you are unable to establish such an environment for online lectures as noted above, then please don’t hesitate to contact the GIS Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q4. Can I take online lectures from overseas?
A4. Yes, you can take online lectures from overseas. Also some classes require students to be online during class time. If you are not currently in Japan, please make sure to contact the GIS Office (email@example.com).
Q5. I’m concerned about the security of Zoom classes.
A5. We are asking all GIS instructors to be careful with their settings (i.e. only allowing the ‘Host’ to share screens, setting a password to log in, and asking students not to circulate/post the meeting details in a public place) so that there is much less chance of any ‘zoombombers’. You are also encouraged to update the Zoom app to the latest version. But please be aware that Zoom is not 100% secure. Also note that it is not necessary to create a Zoom account to attend meetings.
Q6. Will you give live online lectures?
A6. Yes/No. The teaching method varies from instructor to instructor: some may give live online lectures, similar to those given in regular classrooms, while others may conduct lectures with a combination of live lectures and self-study, e.g. through materials uploaded to the class page on Hoppii. We are not encouraging instructors to use video conferencing applications such as Zoom excessively, as it can create a strain on students’ concentration levels as well as the technical issues (these apps can use a lot of bandwidth and students or instructors may encounter technical difficulties). Please follow the instructions from your instructor.
Q7. I’m concerned about how we can maintain the positive characteristics of GIS: active learning (group work, and presentations, etc.) and a close relationship between the students and professors.
A7. GIS will try to ensure that there is a high quality of education even using online lecture platforms, and to continue to use active learning methods as much as possible by using video conferencing apps such as Zoom, which allow us to do group work, and enable interaction between students and professors, just as is the case with regular classrooms. Note also that written exchanges, such as bulletin board discussions, even when not conducted in real-time, also facilitate interaction and effective learning. We will always welcome your questions and feedback.
Q8. Will there be a selection on Day 1? If so, how will it be done?
A8. The GIS instructors are asked to do a selection on Day 1 if there are too many students interested in taking the class. The selection method varies from instructor to instructor: some may ask you to complete a survey, while others may ask you to submit a short essay. The method of selection may be announced on the course website before or during the allocated class time, but the actual selection will take place during class time. If you are interested in a particular class, please make sure you visit the course website on the date and time the first class is offered. The list of selected students will be posted on the GIS online bulletin board within a few days of the first class. If you do not get selected for the course of your choice, find out which courses did not have a selection and attend from the second week. Please make sure you let the instructor knows that you are there for the first time.
Q9. How will instructors conduct the midterm and the final tests online?
A9. Different instructors use different methods: some instructors may use Google forms, while others may give you a take-home exam. Please follow the instructions from your instructor.
Q10. Will the course content change from the syllabus?
A10. We will try to conduct courses as fully as we can, but some of the course content described in the syllabus is subject to change due to the sudden switch to online lectures and shortening of the semester. Please follow the instructions from your instructor regarding amendments to the syllabus and if make-up classes may be offered as a way to cover content that may have been cut. These make-up classes will be optional, and will contain supplementary content.
Q11. Is the attendance policy going to change?
A11. No. Our attendance policy will remain, but the GIS instructors are asked to manage classes with a measure of flexibility. Please follow the instructions from your instructor.
Overseas Academic Study (OAS)
Q1. Will the OAS program be held according to schedule?
A1. There is a high chance it will be cancelled for 2020. An official decision will be made by the end of April, and this will be announced on the GIS online bulletin board.
Regarding Selection <updated April 30>
Q1. With courses likely to be online for the whole semester how does this impact on course selection? Why can’t more students join if classes are going to be done on apps like Zoom?
A1. The main aim of course selection at GIS remains unchanged: to select appropriate numbers of motivated students to allow instructors to teach effectively and students to study in a classroom environment conducive to our interactive lesson style. In ‘real’ classrooms this is restricted by how many students can fit in the room, so some students have been questioning why we need selection as teaching is done using online methods. Even in apps like Zoom, it is important that the number of students is not too large, as it is challenging for instructors to constantly monitor more than one screen full of students, respond to students’ live messages on Chat as well as deliver the lecture. Equally, we must take the needs of students into consideration: they are also adapting to online learning, and getting used to studying in virtual spaces. Studies from other universities using online courses indicate that class size plays an important role in influencing how comfortable students feel about participation, with students less willing to interact in larger classes. This correlates with early feedback from our instructors.
We also want to address the concerns of some students who feel that instructors are being directed to favour screening applications from senior students, and that instructors are limiting student numbers to avoid a heavy workload. Neither of these is correct. Our instructors are advised to show no bias towards any groups of students when screening applicants, and to select those who appear most motivated. Also, many of our instructors have been accepting more students than they would normally, as we wish to be as supportive of students as we can. Despite the extra marking and course management this will require they are trying their best to balance students’ desires to join particular courses while providing an interactive learning experience.
Q1. Can I take any Global Open Courses in the spring semester?
A1. Yes. You can take Global Open Courses if you want, but some of the course contents are subject to change. Please follow the instructions from your instructor.
Q2. Please let me know the course registration schedule.
A2. The course registration schedule is as follows:
Up to April 20th: Provisional registration period (Initial registration for courses)
From April 21st: Beginning of classes
From May 13th to May 18th: Course registration period (final registration for courses)
There is NO withdrawal period.
*Instructions on final registration will be posted online at a later date.