2020年12月 2日(水) 公開

Course Report:
Fall /Winter Semester: Climate Change in Asia Pacific: Science and Solutions


■ Universities working together to deliver courses

In June this year faculty from a group of universities (Osaka University, Waseda University, University of Tsukuba, University of Hawaii and the National University of Samoa) came together to discuss how best to deliver a course on Climate Change in the Asia Pacific region: Science and Solutions.

We have run courses together in the past connecting our classrooms real-time using video conferencing and adopted Zoom as our video conferencing platform back in 2018.

<Professor Dolan Eversole from the University of Hawaii describes the impacts of sea level rise on Waikiki.>

<Professor Dolan Eversole from the University of Hawaii describes the impacts of sea level rise on Waikiki.>

But with the onset of Covid-19 we were faced with a new challenge. Should we continue with our hybrid mode (online and classroom) or should we go completely online?

I think we made the right choice in going for the online mode of course delivery because it increased the flexibility for our students.

These arrangements differed slightly and the National University of Samoa (there were no Covid-19 cases in Samoa until late November) continued with the hybrid model. Likewise, students at the University of Tsukuba took most of their classes online but also participated via the hybrid model when students were allowed back on campus.

The online mode of delivery works very well, but I do miss the chance to informally chat with students before and after class.

■ Coping with Zoom fatigue

When preparing our course, we heard from other teaching colleagues and from students that many were suffering from "Zoom fatigue." Sitting in front of a computer listening to long lectures numerous times each week, and week after week, can be exhausting.

Consequently, we decided to experiment with a variety of class formats. As a basic rule, it was proposed that each lecture should be around 20-30 minutes (the shorter the better).

We planned five different lesson formats (each lesson lasts one hour and 30 minutes): (1) single short lecture with one hour discussion, (2) two short lectures and 30 minutes discussion, (3) single lecture and 40 minute breakout sessions for student group discussions with feedback at the end of the class, (4) student presentation session, and (5) student designed and led session (we are looking forward to discovering what the students have planned for us).

The aim is to make the course as interactive as possible with plenty of time for questions and discussion. We are hoping that this variety of lesson formats will be popular with students and help overcome Zoom fatigue.

■ Studying abroad from your home institution

We recognize that under normal circumstances some students would probably be participating in international exchange programs and spending time overseas at another university.

Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, these global travel opportunities have been cancelled, much to the disappointment of the students concerned.

In this context, our course provides students with a chance to meet and interact with their peers at the partner universities overseas.

A number of students have also joined the course via the new virtual student exchange program (https://vse.apru.org) organized by the Association of Pacific Rim universities.

The good part about international virtual student exchange programs is that they do not add to your overall carbon footprint. Perhaps these forms of exchange may continue to grow after Covid-19.

■ Waking up to Climate Change

Above all else, it is the subject matter of the course that is most important.

Climate change is an existential threat to our contemporary civilization. While the health and economic impacts of Covid-19 could continue for a number of years, we will be dealing with the consequences of climate change for hundreds of years (particularly if we continue to delay concerted and transformative action).

That is why it is so encouraging to see many students interested in this course (close to 120 students enrolled including 19 from Osaka University at undergraduate and graduate level).

The course is taught by sixteen faculty from the partner universities, research think tanks and national governments. The topics covered are wide ranging including climate science and expected impacts, Australian Bushfires, climate change impacts on coral reefs, sea-level rise, climate impacts on water resources and climate induced migration.

On the positive side, the course covers the growth of renewable energy in Hawaii and Samoa, the potential to accelerate decarbonization in the region, a review of Japan's climate change policy and examination of the relationship between climate change and urbanization in Asia.

The result is that throughout the entire 15 sessions of the course, from October 2020 to January 2021, students will have a different lecturer for every session. This means that they will come away with an appreciation of the quality of teaching at universities other than their own. That comparison is very valuable in shaping the student learning experience and their expectations.

(Professor Brendan Barrett)

■ 授業実施のために大学が協働する

今年6月に、大学のグループ(大阪大学、早稲田大学、筑波大学、ハワイ大学、サモア国立大学)の教員が、「アジア太平洋地域の気候変動 - 科学と解決策」の授業を実施するために、最善の方法について話し合いました。


(写真:ハワイ大学のDolan Eversole教授が、海面上昇がワイキキに与える影響について説明しています。)





■ ズーム疲れに対応する

授業を準備する際に、同僚の教員や学生から、多くの人が 「ズーム疲れ 」に悩まされていると聞きました。毎週、毎週、何度もパソコンの前に座って長い講義を聞いていると疲れてしまいます。


考えたのは、5 つの種類の授業形式です。(各授業は 1 時間 30 分) (1)短い講義1回と1時間のディスカッション、(2)短い講義2回と30分のディスカッション、(3)短い講義1回と40分のブレイクアウトセッションの後にフィードバック(4)学生のプレゼンテーション(5)学生が企画・主導するセッション(学生がどのような企画をするのか楽しみです)。


■ 地元の大学から海外留学




環太平洋大学協会が運営する新しいAPRU virtual student exchange program ((https://vse.apru.org)の授業にも多くの学生が参加しています。


■ 気候変動への目覚め








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