How Can We Effectively Spread the Reach of Open Education and Hybrid Learning?

Hello! Greetings from Japan!

I am Katsusuke Shigeta from Hokkaido University, a current OEG board member. I will introduce the current open education practices in Japan, especially the efforts at Hokkaido U, an organization I belong to.

The Progress of Open Education in Japan
In Japan, open education is evolving steadily through enhanced accessibility of learning and technological innovation. This evolution emphasizes sharing learning resources and spreading knowledge, with digital advancements promising to expand the quality and reach of education. Since 2005, several national and private universities in Japan have embarked on open courseware initiatives, which continue to this day. Organizations like Open Education Japan are spearheading these initiatives.

Hokkaido University Center for Open Education
In today’s complex society, the role of higher education is undergoing significant transformation. Higher education increasingly demands more open, flexible, and effective teaching methods to cultivate lifelong learners. The Center for Open Education (OEC) contributes to improving the quality of education at our university by resolving educational challenges faced by our faculty and academic programs through adopting ICT in teaching and introducing hybrid classes. At OEC, the specialists in developing educational materials, designing classes, and creating systems are supporting faculty and staff. OEC is committed to implementing hybrid classes combining online and face-to-face elements. This approach allows students to learn flexibly without being bound by time or location. We are advancing “digital seamless learning,” expanding our online platforms and wireless LAN network within the university, and introducing hybrid classes.

Development of the ‘Rebuilding Method’
To facilitate faculty adoption of hybrid classes, OEC has developed an innovative approach called the ‘Rebuilding Method.’ This method assists faculty in effectively using digital tools and integrating face-to-face and online education.

We developed a design methodology and an artifact - the “Rebuild method” and “Course design toolkit,” designed to interactively visualize and modify the course design process. In the “Rebuild Method,” teachers categorize existing course designs into five instructional activities: communication, input, output, collaboration, and assessment. After that categorization, the teacher member chooses whether each teaching activity should be conducted face-to-face or online, referring to the materials on the features and benefits of blended learning. Afterward, teachers choose a synchronous or asynchronous mode for each activity and arrange the sequence of activities. The advantage of this method is that teachers could plan blended learning based on the existing teaching strategy by analyzing and refining it from the instructor’s perspective.

In addition, we developed the “Course Design Toolkit,” which supports teachers in visualizing and modifying the structure of their courses. This Toolkit consists of learning materials and a design tool utilizing Google Jamboard, which enables teachers to learn the characteristics and advantages of blended learning, support visualization and modification of teaching strategies, and share with teacher training program participants. The Toolkit is open and available as an Open Educational Resource via our website. In the teacher training program in 2021, 10 faculty members participated. By analyzing the course design they conducted, the method and Toolkit effectively supported the course design process of blended learning. The Center was awarded the ‘Best-in-Track’ prize at OLC Innovate 2023 as a testament to these efforts.

Future Outlook
Moving forward, the Center aims to further advance digitalization and hybrid learning, expanding the possibilities of open education through innovative methods. This approach will pave new paths for the Japanese higher education system, heralding an era of transformation and growth!

Please share your thoughts on the thread if you have any questions or suggestions!


That is great job, keep going.

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Congrats, Katsu, on developing your ‘Rebuild method.’ We did something similar at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. We wrote about that work in this chapter, ‘Adopting and Implementing Adult Learner-Focused Hybrid Teaching and Learning: One Institution’s Journey’ in the book,
Building Sustainable Futures for Adult Learners in INFORMATION AGE PUBLISHING · Oct 27, 2014 which is very unfortunately not openly licensed or even free.
The paper about it that we presented at the 2014 HLC Conference was named a Best Paper and is attached. Augsburg wasn’t ready for OER at the time, but there are some references to other research on hybrid/blended course design and implementation that might be useful.

oer did prove useful when Norm Vaughan presented a workshop to Augsburg faculty and we were able to provide faculty OER copies of the book he wrote with Marti Cleveland-Innes and Randy Garrison, Teaching in Blended Learning EnvironmentsCreating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry which is an update of their seminal work in 2008 on Blended Learning (before the Christensen Institute bastardized the term.)

COP2014_Peterson-McGuire (2) (1).pdf (148.7 KB)

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こんにちは Katsu, I very much appreciate learning more about the Rebuild Method and course Toolkit.

It would seem approachable for faculty to consider at a sub-course level what they do for activities and practice, and explore alternative modes, and that it starts in their current teaching methods would suggest honoring them.

Do you have a sense a few years later what has been the results for those 10 faculty who redesigned their courses in 2021? What did it take for them (time? effort?) to do the redesign? Is there any feedback/evaluation from the students in these courses? Certainly, having more time/place flexible modalities for learning offers advantages to students, but more, how is the learning experience improved?

I’d recommend for readers here exploring the entire Hybrid Learning Guide for more helpful resources, especially the copyright guide.

On a side not I have to admit, I enjoyed the frog and rabbit characters!

Cartoon style image of a frog lecturing in front of a screen with bar charts to a rabbit sitting at a desk
Image from where the entire site is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial 4.0 International License.

Are they metaphors or meaningful ? The frog seems to be the teacher, right?

Thanks again for the viewpoint post, Katsu.

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Dear Katsu
Thanks a lot for sharing this information and the work you are doing at Hokkaido University Center for Open Education it is great work indeed. I really liked your models and also see how they can apply to the work I am doing I read your post with great interest. To let you know I have recently tried to follow what is ongoing in Japan, as I had a rather large assignment for OECD on ensuring quality in digital adult learning, and as they always want to have case studies from OECD countries, I selected five, and Japan was one of them. However, it was not very easy to find very much material in English, although I had a contact person over there, I wish I had learned to know you before :slight_smile: Your work is wonderful, Please keep going and please let’s be in contact. Thank you very much indeed! Best Ebba Ossiannilsson, Sweden

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Thank you, Salha! We keep going forward!

Thank you, danmcguire! I am so happy to hear that a similar practice is in Minneapolis! Also, thank you for sharing the paper. Disseminating the hybrid course design in higher education institutions is sometimes challenging. I have a big interest in efforts at Augsburg University. International collaboration is welcome!

Introducing OER in our project is intentional. Sharing knowledge, methodologies, and ideas needs openness. After the COVID-19 era, a blended or hybrid teaching style would be acceptable for more faculty. I hope to pursue an open and effective way!

Hi cogdog, こんにちは thank you! Having this kind of workshop at a sub-course level is preferable. Since only a minority of teachers in Japan have introduced hybrid teaching in their classes, it is also vital for teachers participating in the workshop to get to know and encourage each other.

We are planning a follow-up survey of the faculty participating in the workshop! It appears that a few faculty have implemented hybrid teaching, but understanding the actual situation will be necessary to improve the methodology.

Also, thank you for referring to our entire guide! The copyright guide is one of my favorites, which aligns with international and regional regulations Japanese faculty should know! The frog and rabbit characters are our favorites, too. These are based on Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga, which are familiar to Japanese people and are said to be the oldest manga!

We used open-licensed Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga. Please check it!

Thank you Ebba Ossiannilsson! I am very interested in your efforts to survey OECD countries, including Japan, concerning quality in digital adult learning. This is an emerging topic in higher ed and lifelong learning. Sorry for the lack of international-capable materials from Japan… I am happy to share with the current. Please keep in touch!