Self-directed learning system for NU students

Nagasaki University requires students to earn the credits for the four- or six-year educational program. Moreover, students need to;

1. To be able to learn, think, argue, and act independently;
2. To acquire general skills that can be used across disciplines and fields;
3. To acquire basic knowledge and skills as a professional and researcher, and acquire a high sense of ethics;
4. To understand the diversity of the global environment and society;
5. To be able to take initiative and collaborate with others; and
6. To acquire a global perspective to contribute to the local community and future generations.

(University-wide Diploma Policy)

The degree (bachelor’s degree) will be awarded to those who are recognized as having the following characteristics.

This is the diploma policy required by the entire university. Each faculty, department, course, and so on also has a policy for each specialized field. In addition to knowledge and skills, students must acquire all of the abilities and attitudes listed in the university-wide and departmental policies during their studies.

How can you acquire these skills and attitudes while you are in college?

Nagasaki University is promoting active learning. Active learning is self-directed learning. From general education to specialized education, Nagasaki University proactively adopts methods of active learning and small-group education to foster students’ initiative and collaboration. In addition, to establish self-directed learning, we have a learning support system called LACS (Learning Assessment & Communication System). LACS includes a learning portfolio, the function of submitting papers and receiving handouts, and the function for faculty and students to communicate with each other for each class.

In addition, Nagasaki University has developed a system for students to check their abilities and attitudes from various perspectives by linking syllabi, class questionnaires, report on academic progress, and learning portfolios in order to promote their self-directed learning.

The learning portfolio, which serves as a record of the student’s learning while in college, is also used for the “comprehensive evaluation” upon graduation. This is clearly stated in the curriculum policy of Nagasaki University.

University-wide Curriculum Policy (excerpt)

Students can accumulate their academic achievements in the learning portfolio system as needed. By looking back at their learning portfolios, students can check their own progress. In addition, the academic portfolio is used by mentor teachers as a source of guidance and advice for students. In addition, the portfolio is used as a source for the comprehensive evaluation of the student’s academic achievements at the time of graduation.

First of all, please check the “Abilities other than knowledge and skills should be acquired thorough the course” in syllabus and see what kind of abilities and attitudes you can acquire in each class. It specifies which of the seven abilities and attitudes the class wants students to acquire; autonomy, generic competence, ethics, understanding of diversity, cooperativeness, ability to exchange ideas, and interest in international and local communities.

You can check whether you have acquired these skills and attitudes through the class by using the class questionnaire, “Do you think you have changed in terms of behavior and/or attitudes through this class?”

1. Got new knowledge and skill (including language skill)
2. Got ethical viewpoint
3. Learned how to do research on and/or to study the related topics
4. Learned how to think logically about the reasons of thoughts and/or things
5. Learned how to act in a structured way
6. Learned how to express your own idea
7. Learned how to exchange ideas with others
8. Became more flexible to collaborate with people who have different ideas
9. Learned how to persevere even in a difficult situation
10. Learned how to play your own role positively in a group
11. Become conscious of social problems
12. Other
13. Nothing changed in particular

The items checked in the class questionnaire are stored in the learning portfolio so that students can check how many classes they have taken to acquire these abilities and attitudes. This will help you choose the classes you should take, and you will also be able to compare yourself with others to see your own course-taking tendencies.

In addition, by checking the self-evaluation rubric for each ability in the learning portfolio once a half year, you will be able to grasp the status of each ability. You can evaluate the abilities necessary for each department as well as the abilities listed above in the university-wide diploma policy.

Moreover, the following items on the frequency of behaviors in the academic progress reports conducted at the time of admission and at the end of each academic year are also stored in the academic portfolio so that students can compare themselves with others and review their own behaviors.

A. Understand your own strengths and limitations, and make a strong showing

B. Set yourself a challenge, and do what needs to be done to reach a goal

C. Made a decision yourself on how you act

D. Accumulate various reliable information from multiple sources.

E. Properly analyze data or information you accumulate, and interpret the results logically and correctly.

F. Understand the root of problem to improve or solve, and take action with originality and ingenuity toward a resolution.

G. Consider the premise or basis of information you get or the arguments of others.

H. Consider various things from an ethical perspective.

I. Learn different sets of values or social and cultural backgrounds unlike your own.

J. Understand the diversity of environments around you and of the whole earth.

K. Understand what your role, job, or task is, and do it responsibly.

L. Work cooperatively.

M. Exchange opinions, have a talk, or have a discussion with others in a constructive manner.

N. Get interested in the problems of global environment, society, or people.

O. Get interested in countries other than Japan or a global society.

P. Get interested in social problems.

In this way, Nagasaki University has established the standards of competence that should be cultivated while in college in the university-wide diploma policy and the diploma policy of each department. The syllabus, class questionnaires, academic progress reports, and self-assessment rubric of competence have been designed in a consistent manner.

Are the skills and attitudes developed at university really being utilized after graduation? Nagasaki University asks its graduates and various companies for their cooperation to conduct an alumni surveys every four years and employers’ surveys. These surveys are used to examine whether the education at Nagasaki University is truly meaningful and whether there are any areas that need improvement.

Your responses to the class questionnaires, academic progress reports, and self-assessment rubrics will be compared with the syllabi of each class to identify areas of deficiency and areas for improvement in each class and the curriculum of each department, and will be used to improve education at the university.

Various skills and attitudes can be acquired not only in the classroom, but also through extracurricular activities such as club activities and volunteer activities. Please have a variety of experiences while you are in college.