To all our college and graduate school students
In Preparation for Fall Semester Classes
——Classes are Set to Finally Resume on Campus——
September 16, 2020
Division of Academic Affairs, Ritsumeikan University
- A combination of in-person and online classes will be used in the fall semester
- We have put the infrastructure in place to deliver online classes
- Students can also use the libraries, information classrooms, and other campus facilities
- We are working to improve classes based on our experiences this spring and your feedback
- We will enact thorough infection prevention measures to protect your health and safety
Introduction: Reflecting on the spring semester
Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, we were forced to cancel the spring entrance ceremony, shift all classes online, and suspend final examinations. It was a truly unprecedented situation.
To ensure that our students could continue their studies and research while placing restrictions on campus activities, starting in April, Ritsumeikan University enacted the Emergency Relief Package in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, enhanced online consultation services, and developed a support framework for online classes. In addition, we conducted several surveys, including the Class Evaluation Survey, to review the effectiveness of spring semester classes and get a better idea of the circumstances surrounding our students’ learning and daily lives.
At the end of the spring semester (from late July to early September), we began offering some in-person labs and practicums on Biwako-Kusatsu Campus after taking sufficient measures to prevent infection, and we saw the campus come back to life for the first time in a long time. Kinugasa and Osaka Ibaraki Campuses also began offering some in-person classes, albeit on a smaller scale.
We issued an announcement on Manaba +R on July 13 about our basic policy for fall semester classes, and since then, we have been holding discussions on and making the necessary preparations for classes and the usage of campus facilities. The following outlines what we have decided (based on the status of infections as of early September).
1. A combination of in-person and online classes will be used in the fall semester
As opposed to the spring semester, some classes in the fall semester will be held in-person in the classroom having enacted thorough infection prevention measures, and students will be allowed to resume their studies and research on campus.
Based on the facilities. nature of subjects and classroom conditions, classes will be taught in three formats: (1) in-person (all classes will be taught in the classrooms in principle), (2) blended in-person + online (some classes will be taught in-person, and some will be taught online; students will be divided into in-person and online classes depending on the class day), (3) online (all classes will be taught online). For those classes with at least some in-person components (Formats 1 and 2), around half of the classes will be taught in the classroom. Please note, however, that the formats used and the combination thereof will vary depending on the college or graduate school. （Special Website for Online Classes）
The formats to be used for each subject are outlined in the revised syllabi that were released on September 8. The Manaba +R pages (Course News or Content pages) for each subject contain details about the respective class formats and schedules. You can check this information when the Manaba +R early registration period begins on September 23. Regular registration for the fall semester will be held on Semester 28 - 30.Fall semester start of lottery-based course registration is held on September 23-25.
2. We have put the infrastructure in place to deliver online classes
During the summer break, we installed cameras and speakers for online classes in all the classrooms, so classes can now be recorded in or streamed from the classrooms. With this, we can record in-person classes and deliver them at a later date, and students taking classes online will be able to participate in discussions and group work with their in-person counterparts. We also installed a system that will let students stream recorded classes and other recorded materials to reduce the burden associated with downloading files.
By using this equipment to deliver online or streaming classes, we will strive to afford learning opportunities to those students who cannot participate in in-person classes for health reasons or based on where they are currently residing in certain cases. (Online participation is not permitted for all classes. For more information, be sure to check the syllabus and Course News for each subject.)
3. Students can also use the libraries, information classrooms, and other campus facilities
Not only were we unable to offer in-person classes in April and May, the libraries, information classrooms, and print stations were also unavailable, thereby causing a major disruption to your studies and research. Therefore, in June, we started allowing students to i) borrow library books by post, ii) use their printing points at off-campus locations, and ii) use facilities by making a reservation in advance.
4. We are working to improve classes based on our experiences this spring and your feedback
The switch to online classes in the spring semester was filled with trial and error. From the surveys we conducted with you in May and July, we found that some of you positively rated the faculty for their effort and ingenuity, but we also received some harsh criticism and requests for improvement. Although online classes offer their own benefits in terms of class content and delivery, we have identified several issues that need to be addressed, such as the sharing of materials, how to provide feedback on assignments, and how to promote effective communication between the faculty and the students.
Because some classes will continue to be taught online in the fall semester, we have shared the results of the student surveys with the faculty and have asked them to improve upon these issues. Specifically, we will give attention to delivering engaging class content and improving communication with students by answering their questions and providing constructive comments on their assignments.
In addition, as we prepare for the start of fall classes, we will continue discussing how best to design and implement classes by taking our actual experiences from the spring semester into condsideration. With these initiatives, Ritsumeikan University aims to provide you, the students, with a rewarding and self-directed learning experience regardless of the class format employed.
5. We will enact thorough infection prevention measures to protect your health and safety
We will enact thorough infection prevention measures to ensure all students can study on campus with peace of mind. We will open windows to regularly ventilate the classrooms and keep some seats open to ensure social distance. We have also installed transparent acrylic boards to prevent the spread of droplets, decals to ensure social distance between the students and the faculty''s desk and direct the flow of foot traffic, and disinfectant stations at the entrances of all building. Furthermore, classrooms will be disinfected every time they are cleaned. Meanwhile, in the Co-op cafeterias, we installed transparent acrylic boards to prevent the spread of droplets and will enact seating restrictions. In addition, we will strive to prevent infection with thermal imaging cameras.
We have also put up signboards and posters and will use the campus broadcasting system to raise awareness about the prevention of infection.
We ask all students to take their temperature and monitor their health, wear masks when you are on campus, wash and disinfect your hands regularly, avoid dinner parties with loud talking, and take other measures to prevent infection as part of your daily routines. As a rule, everyone should bring their own mask, but if you lose your mask or it tears or gets dirty, you can pick up a mask from one of the offices or Learning Stations. We will also strive to reduce the risk of infection by asking students who are not wearing masks to put one on and encouraging students who feel unwell to go to the Medical Service Center to take their temperature. (If you cannot wear a mask for a justifiable reason, please contact the Student Support Room on your campus in advance.)
・Health Check Sheet