[Report] “Interactive Teaching” Forum: Part 1 “Revisiting How to Create a Syllabus”

We held the event “Interactive Teaching” Forum: Part 1 “Revisiting How to Create a Syllabus” on Sunday, March 4th. Here is the report. For more details, please wait for another report to be published at a later date. Also, the videos of the event will be published on the UTokyo TV website.

Date/Time: March 4th (Sun), 2018, 10:00–18:00
Venue: Room 900, Komaba Campus, The University of Tokyo, and others.
Participants: 143 people
Fee: 3,000 JPY (Free of charge for graduate students and postdocs)
Instructors: Kayoko Kurita (The University of Tokyo), Hiroaki Sato (Osaka University), Lui Yoshida (The University of Tokyo), and Nagafumi Nakamura (The University of Tokyo *Main Moderator)
Instructors of breakout sessions: Masaru Sekido (National Institute of Technology, Sendai College), Satoshi Iimori (Hiroshima Johoku Junior & Senior High School), Kenji Ogura (Ishikawa Prefectural University), Takao Tomono (Keio University), Takeshi Kondo (Nagoya University), Saki Nakamoto (Osaka University), Yoshika Okawa (Kamiya Elementary School), and Chieko Kudo (Tokiwa High School)

1. Topic and Goal
The topic was “Syllabus.” The goal was, “Be able to create and use a syllabus that enhances student learning and works as a tool for course design for instructors.” We welcomed 140 participants in total.

2. Summary
The event was conducted in a flipped-classroom manner, and participants worked on pre-class assignments beforehand. They first reviewed what they had learned in the preparation and then examined the significance of syllabuses and points they should be careful of and deepened their thoughts in their own contexts.

(1) Preparation
All participants were asked to watch the videos for WEEK 5 of “Interactive Teaching” and read Chapter 5 of the book “Interactive Teaching” (Kawai Publishing, 2017).

(2) Session
[1] Introduction (10:00–10:15)
Participants listened to the explanation of the goals, structure, and rules of the program before introducing themselves to others.

[2] Session 1: “Revisiting How to Create a Syllabus” (10:15–11:00)
The instructor and participants exchanged their ideas on the questions collected beforehand related to creating and using syllabuses. The discussion was held from various perspectives ranging from the creation/use of syllabuses to faculty development, based on questions such as 1) “Since it depends on the patient’s condition, it is difficult to write details in the syllabus beforehand for nursing practice,” 2) “What can we do to have the students get into a habit of reading the syllabus?” 3) “When we find a syllabus written by another instructor as not good, what should we start with to advise him/her?” 4) “How much can we apply syllabuses in higher education to elementary and secondary education?” and 5) “Where can we know about the trend of syllabuses in the United States and countries other than Japan?”

[3] Session 2: “Exercise of Improving a Text Syllabus” (11:00–12:00)
Participants brought their own text syllabuses and exchanged ideas in groups. They grasped the points in creating a syllabus that enhances student learning and works as a tool for course design for instructors.

[4] Session 3: “Exercise of Creating a Graphic Syllabus” (13:30–15:00)
Participants created graphic syllabuses for their own classes. A graphic syllabus is a visualized class structure by using flowcharts and others to show the relationship between each topic for 15 classes. This activity was intended to let the participants actively grasp the structure of knowledge that they want the students to learn in classes and structure classes that enable them to convey such knowledge to the students.

Participants exchanging their ideas

[5] Session 4: Breakout Sessions (15:20–16:50)
Breakout sessions consisted of Session A held by organizers and three Sessions (B–D) held by volunteers who joined the past events of “Interactive Teaching.”

① Session 4A “Let’s Realize Active Learning in a Lecture Hall”
The session intended to let the participants share practical methods such as points we should be careful in introducing an active learning style in a lecture hall.

② Session 4B “Let’s Create Intriguing Questions: The Jigsaw Method & Peer Instruction”
The session intended to let the participants learn how to create intriguing questions when conducting the Jigsaw Methods and Peer Instruction.

③ Session 4C “Let’s Increase Comrades / Let’s Involve the Workplace: How to Spread the Movement”
The session intended to let the participants learn how to make themselves understood in practicing “Interactive Teaching” among the people in their workplace and environment and spread “Interactive Teaching” to their colleagues and people around them.

④ Session 4D “Let’s Polish Classes with Microteaching: Taking ‘Active Appreciation of Tanka Poems’ as a Sample”
The session intended to let the participants grasp the points of introducing active learning into their classes by examining a microteaching session using active learning.

[5] Wrap-up (17:10–18:00) Participants organized what they learned, what kind of questions they had, and what they wanted to bring back to their own work through group activities and Q&A sessions.

Participants and an instructor exchanging their ideas

3. Participants’ Reactions
The affiliation of 143 participants ranged from universities to senior/junior high schools to elementary schools to corporations. According to the five-point scale question asking the degree of satisfaction (Extremely satisfied; Very satisfied; Satisfied; Not so satisfied; Dissatisfied), 37.7 percent of the respondents were “extremely satisfied,” 54.7 percent were “very satisfied,” and 7.6 percent were “satisfied.” We set an entry fee for events with more than 100 participants starting with this event, but we are relieved to know that it was appreciated to a certain extent. We are eager to improve our events to satisfy future participants by examining the points we need to improve as indicated in the feedback.

Nagafumi Nakamura (Project Researcher in charge of “Interactive Teaching” / Main Moderator of this event)

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