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Message from the Executive Vice President in charge of Education and Student Affairs

Regarding classes to be held in the upcoming academic year:
Message from the Executive Vice President in charge of Education and Student Affairs

Dear Students:

In the 2020 academic year, in order to deal with the impact of the novel coronavirus, classes in the S Semester (S1/S2 Terms) were generally conducted online. In the A Semester (A1/A2 Terms), while continuing to offer online classes, we have wherever possible incorporated in-person instruction into some classes for which online instruction is deemed less effective, including introductory foreign languages for the Junior Division, experiment or laboratory work, small-group seminars and practical classes. In conducting in-person classes, we take sufficient measures to prevent the spread of infection. Graduation work and postgraduate research requiring the use of university facilities are also conducted on campus.

In order to understand how students perceive the online classes, we conducted a student survey after the end of the S Semester. We appreciate the many candid comments received from our students. The survey shows that many respondents appreciated a variety of unique features and educational benefits of online classes, which were extended in an innovative manner. On the other hand, there were requests for improvements regarding the increased burden with respect to class assignments and the inability to communicate adequately with friends and faculty members as they continued to participate in classes and other activities online from off-campus locations, such as at home, while unable to enter the campus.

I assure you that every comment and request expressed by our students regarding online classes and student life during the coronavirus pandemic have reached me, and I will continue to work to fulfill your requests and resolve your concerns. We have already selected good practices that emerged during the S Semester and are in the process of sharing them among the faculty. We would welcome your active input when we conduct more surveys in the future.

The spread of infection is not yet under control. Given this situation, we believe it is important to maintain a safe and secure campus environment in order to increase the number of in-person classes, and it is essential that we continue to take a variety of measures.

At present, we are also focusing on upgrading and enhancing ventilation systems in classrooms to avoid the "Three Cs." We will make arrangements on a continuous basis in line with the items listed under the heading "Classes for AY 2021" below, so that as many classes and activities as possible will be offered in the in-person format next year.

All faculty and staff of UTokyo are keen to respond to your requests so that you can attend in-person classes and on-campus activities without having to worry, while placing the highest priority on protecting your health and ensuring academic opportunities. We will do our best to ensure that the intended quality education is effectively provided and our students enjoy a fulfilling campus life.

We ask for your understanding and cooperation and request that students monitor their health at all times.

○ Classes for AY 2021

(1)    For AY 2021, while continuing to give the utmost consideration to the health of our students, faculty and staff members, we will offer in-person, online and hybrid classes as appropriate by making full use of the respective advantages of each and considering the educational effectiveness, enrollment numbers, characteristics of each course and opportunities for student growth, including the building of human networks.

(2)    Online instruction will be provided for subjects for which the online format is expected to have greater educational effectiveness, while in-person instruction will be provided wherever possible for subjects for which the in-person format delivers greater benefits. When conducting in-person classes, we will take sufficient measures to prevent the spread of infection.

For example, classes involving practical exercises and those requiring equipment only available at the university will be conducted in person, while lecture-style classes with a large number of students will be conducted online.

With a view to promoting networking, classes that need to be taken in the first year of undergraduate study and before and after advancing to the Senior Division of the undergraduate program should also be conducted in person wherever possible.

In addition, whether in person or online, we will be able to devise ways to increase active learning and enhance educational effectiveness, such as providing opportunities for interaction and introducing flipped classes.

(3)    Each faculty and graduate school will decide on the format of each class and announce it on its website by around one month before the start of each semester.

(4)    Since the status of the spread of infection is changing on a daily basis, we will review and improve methods of offering classes, even in the middle of a semester if necessary, taking into account the status of the spread in Japan and in Tokyo and the wishes of students.

(5)    Others
•    Measures will be taken to ensure that students do not spend the entire semester taking only online classes at home with little or no in-person or on-campus learning opportunities.
•    If an international student has difficulty coming to Japan or it is considered difficult for a Japanese student to commute to school due to the student's individual circumstances, due consideration will be given.

OKUBO Tatsuya, Executive Vice President in charge of Education, Student Affairs
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