A month has now gone by since the NUCB Undergraduate School made the official announcement on starting the Spring semester as per schedule by transitioning all the courses to an interactive, live and online delivery. During this past month, it is crucial to acknowledge and to remember how the societies across the world have gone through hardships and grievance, with the outbreak of COVID-19 escalating quickly.
It was in careful consideration of such rationale, for the health and safety of our students, faculty and administrative staff, and to continue our responsibility of imparting knowledge as a higher educational institute, that we had decided to set the wheels in motion even in these uncertain and challenging times. In this period, our IT department, faculty and administrative staff came all together with dedication and commitment to duly prepare the hardware and software, adjust the course contents and to train themselves. Moreover, the students were given ample support to understand the new learning tools and despite challenges such as not having an ideal environment or being in a different time zone, they have shown excellent capabilities to adapt themselves to different circumstances. Ultimately, the ‘Frontier Spirit’ that we thrive to instill within everyone was manifested in the desire to overcome these obstacles.
This enabled us to ensure that cometh April 6th, all the courses across the whole university could start as per schedule (46 courses with 3,334 students on this day) and we have been able to successfully do so! Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has recognized this transition and introduced us as a model for online courses in the country and we have also been receiving widespread media coverage nationwide for shifting quickly our classes to this online format.
As of today, April 7th, the first day of the new academic year proceeded smoothly for all parties and it also provides a fresh take on the typical experience of the participant centered learning in physical classrooms. Through the platform’s features and our setup, we are able to replicate the classroom into a virtual setting and carry out group and class discussions as necessary in the case method. Students, being at home, have a renewed sense of comfortability about the classroom environment, which in turn gives them further leeway to express themselves.
With everything on track, we will continue onwards for the Term 1 while carefully monitoring how the situation evolves in Japan and across the world in order to take appropriate decisions accordingly for the following term(s). Until then, NUCB Undergraduate School strongly encourages everyone to carefully follow the directives and guidelines given by local governments as well as to practice safety measures and social distancing to protect yourself and people around you.