Press Conference on MOOC by Kyoto University President
and Educational Innovation Strategies for Utilizing ICT at Kyoto University

Kyoto University announced a new MOOC, starting in October 2015, lectured by President Juichi Yamagiwa, entitled “Evolution of the Human Sociality: A Quest for the Origin of Our Social Behavior,” as well as educational innovation strategies for utilizing ICT (Information Communication Technologies), at the press conference held at the Clock Tower Centennial Hall on July 8, 2015. “Evolution of the Human Sociality” will be the first edX MOOC taught by a sitting president of a major research university.

The press conference covered the announcement of President Yamagiwa’s MOOC and educational innovation at Kyoto University as well as some of the ciritical educational issues surrounding Japanese universities, such as internationalization, improvement on teaching, quality assurance, and visualization of educational data.

During the press conference, President Yamagiwa shared his views on impact of educational use of ICT, including MOOC, and responded to reporters’ questions during the conference, so did other participants: Dr. Masao Kitano (Executive Vice President for Education, Information Infrastructure, and Evaluation), Dr. Toru Iiyoshi (Deputy Vice President for Education, Director and Professor at Center for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education), Dr. Michihiko Minoh (Director General, Institute for Information Management and Communication), and Dr. Naoko Tosa (Professor at Institute for Information Management and Communication / Center for the Promotion of Excellence in Higher Education).

At the beginning of the conference, Executive Vice President Kitano stressed on the importance of the President’s taking the initiative in advancing Kyoto University’s quality education taking advantage of new technology-enabled methods such as MOOC.

President Yamagiwa, with his experiences as a renowned international researcher, expressed his expectation and hope toward his MOOC which offers an opportunity for people around the world to learn and discuss the content. “Primatology was originated in Japan with our unique ideas and we have made the path. I hope our study to be accessible by everyone and one of the world’s educational assets through the Internet,” he told the press. “My motivation for teaching on MOOC inevitably comes from my hope for helping stimulate and nurture students’ various ways of thinking, ideas, perspectives, methodologies, views on humans, and mutually develop and enhance one’s own ideas through discussion with students from all over the world.” Furthermore, he also showed a great interest in and passion for how MOOC will help leverage Japanese primatology.

Deputy Vice President Iiyoshi described, with sharing some exemplary cases, how ICT has improved and has been contributing to collect student learning data at Kyoto University, under the 4-year project, “Strengthening Educational Innovation Base Support with Internationalization and Evidence Data” which is supported by MEXT.

IIMC Director General Minoh presented the educational informatization and visualization efforts and visions at Kyoto University that aim to (1) create a learning environment that allows students to use any ICT devices, anytime, anywhere, (2) collect high quality educational contents and maintain the ICT-based educational environment, and (3) improve teaching and realize personalized and optimized learning through analyzing access and use logs.

Finally, President Yamagiwa concluded the press conference by sharing his motivation and assessment methods for his MOOC, and expectations for Kyoto University students who are planning to sign up for it.

Future MOOC Schedule on KyotoUx

October 2015 ”Evolution of the Human Sociality: A Quest for the Origin of Our Social Behavior”
President Juichi Yamagiwa

November 2015 “Extremes of Life: Microbes and Their Diversity” (JGP*)
Professor Haruyuki Atomi (Graduate School of Engineering)

January 2016 “Fun with Prime Numbers: Invitation to the Mysterious World of Mathematics” (tent.) (JGP*)
Associate Professor Tetsushi Ito (Graduate School of Science)

January 2016 “Culture of Services: New Perspective to Customer Relations” (tent.)
Associate Professor Yutaka Yamauchi (Graduate School of Management)

February 2016 “Introduction to Statistical Methods for Gene Mapping” (tent.) (JGP*)
Professor Ryo Yamada (Graduate School of Medicine)

March 2016 “Introduction to Bioethics” (tent.)(JGP*)
Associate Professor Satoshi Kodama (Graduate School of Letters)

April 2016 “The Chemistry of Life”
Professor Motonari Uesugi (iCeMS)
(Third year)

(JGP*): Japan Gateway: Kyoto University Top Global Program