News FY 2019

OUJ Newly Concluded MOU with National University of Mongolia

On 15th October 2019, OUJ has concluded MOU with National University of Mongolia (NUM).

NUM was established in 1942 as the first national university in Mongolia. Thereafter, Medical Department, Science and Technology Department and Education Department have respectively become independent as a university apart from the original organization, and it has currently more than 20,000 students in five departments, which is the largest number in the country.

In recent years, NUM has been proactively promoting distance education online while there is no universities playing as so to speak open universities in Mongolia. In January 2019, NUM opened a new studio called Digital Professor Studio (DPS) specializing in producing online courses.

Digital Professor Studio

Prof. Battulga Sukhee with President Kisugi

On 12th December, Prof. Battulga Sukhee, Dean of Department of International Relations and Cooperation visited OUJ and made a courtesy call on President Kisugi for the first time after the conclusion of MOU. Following the introduction of NUM by Prof. Battulga Sukhee, possible future collaborative production of online courses was agreed in the conversation with President Kisugi.

A Delegation from Korea National Open University

From 20th to 22nd November, a delegation consisting of Prof. Jeong Hyeon Suk and two senior researchers from Institute of Distance Education of KNOU visited OUJ. This visit was made for the purpose of their four-year research and publication project on the cases of the world's major open universities. OUJ was selected as the first research object of the project.

In the morning of 20th, an introduction of OUJ was firstly given by International Affairs Section at the headquarters of OUJ, followed by detailed explanations on the requested topics by KNOU. In the afternoon, the delegation had a tour to the master control room, studios, seminar house and library. They finished their day with the discussion about the support for students with disabilities.

On the second day, the delegation visited Chiba Study Center located adjacent to the headquarters buildings and interviewed the Director Nagasawa mainly about how to organize face-to-face courses at the study centers. They also had a study center tour afterwards.

After making the courtesy visit to President Kisugi in the afternoon, they learned about roles of the Center for Online Education, OUJ's new course establishment system, the future vision, production of printed materials and roles of the Student Support Center.

On the last day, the delegation headed for Tokyo Bunkyo Study Center. Director Hayashi gave an introduction presentation to outline the study center and talked about his struggles of organizing the face-to-face courses. He then took them to the facility tour of the center. The delegation was allowed to attend a face-to-face course even for such a short time.

OUJ hope that the three-day-visit to OUJ will bring a fruitful result for their project.

The 28th ICDE World Conference in Dublin, Ireland

Hosted by Dublin City University (DCU) and National Institute of Digital Learning (NIDL), the 28th ICDE World Conference of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) was held at Dublin Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland, from November 3 to 8, 2019. More than 360 people including educational experts mainly from European countries participated. From OUJ Prof. Kumiko Aoki and Prof. Motofumi Suzuki of Informatics, Department of Liberal Arts, took part in it.

Based on the main theme, "Transforming Lives and Societies" (Life and Social Transformation), Prof. Aoki delivered a speech with the title "Online Student Workload: Perceptions of Workload and Actual Self-Log of Study Time at the Open University of Japan" and Prof. Suzuki made a presentation under the title "A Command-Line Based Exam Generation System for Computer Science Education".

As an ensuing event, the ICDE Leadership Summit will be held in Korea from November 25 to 27, 2020, hosted by Korea National Open University.

Dublin Convention Center

A Scene from Keynote Speeches

OUJ Delegation visited Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

During October 30th and 31st 2019, OUJ delegation consisting of Prof. Kumiko Aoki, Assoc. Prof. Yosuke Morimoto and Mr. Kenjiro Jin, Head of International Affairs Section visited UOC to study about their online learning system and the current situation. OUJ and UOC signed an international cooperation exchange agreement in 2014, aiming for cooperation between faculty and staff members.

UOC was founded in October 1994 by the Government of Catalonia to provide with lifelong learning through ICT and individualized educational models. In the following year, UOC welcomed students to their courses on educational psychology and business research approved by the Government. Since then, UOC has expanded and established a network of 14 "UOC Regional Centers" and 40 "UOC Points" across Spain, and has extended its business to the Latin American market. Currently, more than 50,000 students in seven departments are learning online.

In the afternoon of October 30th, Associate Prof. Morimoto and Mr. Jin visited Prof. Otsuki who was in charge of Japanese subjects at Modern Language Center at UOC headquarters in the northern hills of Barcelona. They received explanations on how the academic staffs' business is going at UOC. In every semester, about 100 people who are interested in Japanese language and culture triggered by Anime and etc., are enrolled at UOC.

In the city of Barcelona, except for headquarters, there are three other offices where departments and research institutes are located.

On October 31st, Dr. Ana Elena Guerrero Roldán, who was a keynote speaker at 2019 OUJ International Symposium, welcomed the OUJ delegation at "22 @", a four-story building. It is located in a redevelopment area with good access, and planned to consolidate functions by relocation of several departments to the adjacent buildings within the next few years.

On that day, the Dean of Computer Science Department explained the current situation of UOC, and also each responsible faculty or staff member introduced their learning tutoring system and quality assurance at OUC. In the continued afternoon session, the fields of student service and new business model for lifelong learning were covered, and that was followed by a lively discussion and opinion exchange.

OUJ would like to thank all the UOC faculty members who warmly welcomed our delegates with flexible manner during their visit. And we hope to continue developing each other based on substantial information exchange.

The 33rd AAOU Annual Conference in Lahore, Pakistan

Hosted by Virtual University of Pakistan, the 33rd of Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) Annual Conference was held at Pearl Continental Hotel Lahore from 14th to 16th October 2019. About 450 university officials and educational experts in the field of open and distance learning from 23 countries participated in the conference.

From OUJ, President Shin Kisugi and Vice President Masaya Iwanaga attended the AAOU Executive Committee Meeting and Prof. Yamada, Prof. Takeo Tatsumi, Prof. Tomokazu Yasuike and Mr. Kenjiro Jin, Deputy Head of General Affairs Division attended as paper presenters.

Participants from OUJ

Prof. Yamada at his Presentation

The main theme this year was "Open Distance Learning: 2020 and Beyond", and some of the keynote speeches referred to the subjects on Industrie 4.0. President Kisugi, Vice President Iwanaga and Prof. Yamada had also contributed as section chairs.

Prof. Yamada had a talk on the title "Implementation of Digital Badges for Online and Offline Course Records: Possibilities for Micro Credentials and Quality Assurance" introducing his efforts of installation of Open Badge version 2.

Prof. Tatsumi at his Presentation

Mr. Jin at his Presentation

Prof. Tatsumi made his presentation under the title of "Development of Online Courses on a Method of Coding Education for K12 Teachers in Japan". He talked about the history of how this online program "Programing Education for Elementary School Students" was launched including the social situation and the government policy at that time.

Mr. Jin made a speech titled "Digitalization of Examinations in OUJ - Current Situation and the Future". He introduced OUJ's efforts toward installation of CBT/IBT for credit accreditation, in comparison with the cases of Athabasca University and Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University.

Prof. Yasuike gave a speech titled "Computational Chemistry as Virtual Laboratory in Open and Distance Learning". In his talk, he reported on the approach to training many of the skills expected to be acquired in chemical experiments, which are the core of chemistry education at commuting universities, through online lectures using a GUI-based computational chemistry simulation environment as a virtual laboratory. He received the Silver Medal of Best Practice Award for that presentation.

Prof. Yasuike at his Presentation

Receiving the Award from
President Arif Alvi

At the closing ceremony, President Arif Alvi, the guest of honor of AAOU2019, delivered a speech even with his own story over thirty minutes which has shown his expectation for distance education. AAOU 2020 will be hosted by The Open University of Sri Lanka from 21st to 23rd of October at Cinnamon Grand Colombo in Colombo, Sri Lank.

2019 OUJ International Symposium (28 Sep. 2019)

OUJ held the 2019 International Symposium "Exploring Methods of e-Assessment: Learning from the Latest Cases" at Tokyo Bunkyo Study Center.

About 80 people including OUJ students, graduates and general public participated.

In the first session, Dr. Ana Elena Guerrero Roldán of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya gave a presentation titled "Adaptive Trust based e-assessment System for Learning: The cases of TeSLA and LIS projects". She outlined the TeSLA project, which was supported by the EU, and explained about its benefits. This project provides educational institutions with an "Adaptive trust-based e-assessment System" in order to make the online learning assessment process reliable.

In the second session, Prof. Hideo Hirose, Director of Data Science Research Center, Hiroshima Institute of Technology, gave a presentation titled "Education Assistance Using Large-scale Online Testing and Its Learning Analytics". In 2016, at Hiroshima Institute of Technology, a program imposing online testing on students was installed and the students' proficiency data were accumulated. He introduced the research results from that attempt and showed possibility that learning analytics based on the large-scale online testing could suggest direction of future educational methodologies.

The third session was the discussion lead by Masaya Iwanaga, Vice President of OUJ, acting as the moderator. He threw questions to two speakers and exchanged opinions about their presentations. In the latter half of the session, a lively discussion was conducted based on various questions asked by the participants.

Both of the talks built on the two speakers' immense amount of work were so impressive as well as informative for us. OUJ plans to continue holding international symposiums.

A Study Visit from the Open University of Guangdong

On June 26th, led by Vice President Sun(孫), a delegation consisting of six faculty members of the Open University of Guangdong in China visited OUJ. This visit was coordinated through the Japan-China Society and to learn case studies of advanced Japanese education for elderly people.

The Open University of Guangdong was established in November 1978 as one of the six open universities in China, with its predecessor being the Guangdong Radio and TV University. It belongs to the Guangdong Provincial Education Office and provides distance education to the whole society by using IT technology.

The delegation was welcomed by Prof. Yamada, the chairperson of International Exchange Committee and Prof. Yuan of Psychology and Education Course. After the introduction of OUJ made by Prof. Yuan, they exchanged souvenirs and took pictures with OUJ participants.

Subsequently, the delegation toured Chiba Study Center, the library, the master control room, and the studio. At Chiba Study Center they happened to have an opportunity to interact with the students, who were working on their research and circle activities. The tour was very fulfilling for them.

The 9th KNOU-OUC-OUJ International Seminar Held at KNOU in Seoul

The 9th KNOU-OUC-OUJ International Seminar hosted by Korea National Open University (KNOU) was held in Seoul on 23 and 24 May 2019, with attendance of representatives from the Open University of China (OUC) and OUJ. This seminar has been held in rotation since 2009 between the three open universities.

The main theme was "Transforming Open Education with Innovative Technologies", and the six delegates of three universities gave presentations from the perspectives of technologies to support learning and to support teaching respectively. At the opening ceremony, President Ryu Su Noh of KNOU made the opening remarks followed by President Kisugi and Vice President Yang Xiaotang of OUC expressing congratulations.

In the morning session 1, Prof. Junichiro Kishine gave a speech under the theme of "Technologies to support bi-directional learning in natural science education: some attempts in the Open University of Japan". In the speech, he introduced some of his television, radio and online courses at OUJ, and his ideas and efforts for how to maintain bi-directional learning for students were shared.

In the afternoon session 2 where Vice President Iwanaga chaired, Prof. Katsuya Ishizaki gave a speech titled "Technologies to Support Teaching". The talk was focusing on the introduction of ICT technology conducted in his TV course "Introduction to Calculus ('16)" and "Problems and Exercises in Calculus ('19)".

After the three lectures, the open discussion and Q & A led by Mr. Ock Tae Kim, Dean of Office Planning, KNOU followed. The seminar was concluded with the closing address by KNOU President and the announcement of 10th OUJ-KNOU-OUC Seminar to be held in Japan next year was made by President Kisugi soon afterwards.

In this seminar, we were able to share information and ideas on new attempts at each university. And the relationship among the three open universities has been further deepened.

Delegation from the School of Political Science at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University in Thailand

On May 21, a deletation of nine faculty members from the School of Political Science at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (STOU) visited OUJ.

The delegation arrived at Makuhari Headquarters of OUJ before noon, and had time to have a conversation with President Kisugi and Vice President Iwanaga. In the afternoon, after receiving an overview of OUJ, they toured the studio, library, Chiba Study Center, and the master control room.

Subsequently, Prof. Miwa of Informatics course gave a presentation for the delegation on the university's approach to lifelong learning. After the presentation, STOU members asked various questions to her. It was a good opportunity for the two open universities to talk about common issues such as aging societies of the both countries.