Tokyo Tech News
Tokyo Tech held online orientation sessions for approximately 1,200 new bachelor program students on April 23, 24, and 27. The shift to a virtual environment came after the Institute was forced to cancel the spring 2020 entrance ceremonies and close its campuses due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Spring is an important time of transition for many young adults in Japan. The move from high school to tertiary education means not only attending new classes, but also shifting to a more independent mode of learning while designing one's own timetable and lifestyle. At Tokyo Tech, the new students ― both first-year students and transfer students from other universities or technical school ― were divided into 18 virtual orientation groups based on their School affiliations. Some 98.5 percent of these students attended their respective orientation sessions, learning about the Institute's education and student support systems. Faculty members corresponded individually with those who could not attend their sessions, ensuring that all students were prepared for online classes, which began on May 4.
Each two-hour session kicked off with a congratulatory message from Tokyo Tech President Kazuya Masu. This was followed by an explanation of the student-centered learning system and student support functions by Associate Professor Masayasu Shimura from the School of Engineering. The talk by Shimura, who is also a member of the Student Learning Support Section at Tokyo Tech's Student Support Center, included an introduction of Tokyo Tech's newly established welcome counseling services for new students and the numerous career paths supported by the Institute. Each session concluded with some brief guidance on academic affairs from the Student Division.
After the common portion for all students, Schools provided more detailed guidance to affiliated students regarding courses and programs. Each School also took their own unique approach to sharing important information. The School of Science conducted orientation for each class. The School of Engineering focused on providing plenty of time for questions from students. At the School of Materials and Chemical Technology, the faculty member in charge of each class introduced his or her own research. The School of Computing gave a virtual tour of Ookayama Campus and its buildings, and introduced students to the lab visit seminar offered around campus. The School of Life Science and Technology focused, among other things, on research ethics and the use of online conferencing technologies. The School of Environment and Society provided detailed explanations of academic definitions and objectives within each department.
Each year, the Student Learning Support Section also organizes a group of Tokyo Tech alumni and upperclassmen and —women who offer guidance to new students. This year, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, these volunteers prepared their advice in the form of videos which new students can view again if they wish to do so.
Comments from participating students:
Spring 2020 was the first time Tokyo Tech's orientation for new bachelor program students was conducted online. It was new territory for everyone, and the Institute looks forward to utilizing the key takeaways from the experience in the future.