Faculty work hard behind the scenes of the digital pivot

The COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed the start of a conventional fall term, as the risks of transmission involved with campus life, from large lecture courses to nomikai (drinking parties), have led schools across Japan to hold classes partially or entirely online and curtail campus access. Even as life for many in Tokyo remains (mostly) normal, universities stand as an exception, writes Spencer Cohen for The Japan Times.

No matter the schema or contours of academic life enacted by each university, faculty or department, the professors – the drivers of university education – are tirelessly at work behind the scenes. Many must work harder to maintain the same calibre of education, transforming into video creators, tech gurus and pandemic-era mentors – all while providing compassion and care to their students. Their challenges are manifold, as the already difficult task of holding classes, whether in-person, online or hybrid, is compounded by international students being stranded abroad.

“Our guiding principle, even during this situation, is to try to make it possible for students to continue learning, wherever they are,” says Shion Kono, an associate professor of literature at Sophia University. At Sophia, as in the spring, the majority of classes this fall will be held online. Kono and some of his colleagues have already developed a toolkit for web-based learning.
Full report on The Japan Times site