Greeting for December 2007, upon approval of Doctor’s program establishment

The Graduate School of Instructional Systems Doctor’s Program will be established in April 2008. The aim of the program is to deepen graduate school education and advance academic research in order to meet social needs and academic requirements. For the above purposes, the Doctor’s Program will commence fostering human resources, including educational researchers who can take the initiative in developing and promoting Instructional Systems.

The Graduate School of Instructional Systems was established in 2006 as an independent department (master’s course) of the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies. As the master’s program was going to be completed and the first students were going to graduate, we filed an application to establish the Doctor’s Program and change the established master’s program to Master’s Program. The application was recently accepted.

The Doctor’s Program, for those who have completed the Master’s Program, fosters human resources such as education researchers who are involved in training education specialists or in related researches; professors or researchers in universities or other higher education institutes; or research professionals in industrial research laboratories. As with the Master’s Program, the Doctor’s Program mainly offers distance/asynchronous instruction, with the objective of making the school a graduate school for working people.

Since its establishment, the Graduate School of Instructional Systems has been systematically conducting educational researches to foster highly educated professionals who can develop, practice and assess effective, efficient and attractive e-learning. The Graduate School of Instructional Systems is working together with e-Learning Consortium Japan, a specified nonprofit corporation (eLC), to produce human resources required by the e-learning market, and has been designated by eLC a mutually recognized educational institute for its e-learning professional certification (e-LP). Students can obtain multiple certificates upon completing the program.

We work together with the E-learning Promotion Organization, which began in April 2007 as an all-campus organization of Kumamoto University. We also concluded a framework agreement with the National Institute of Multimedia Education (NIME) to cooperate in research on e-learning promotion in universities.

The Graduate School of Instructional Systems was selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as its Support Program for Improving Graduate School Education 2007. The aim of the program is to make graduate school education more effective by supporting excellent systematic educational efforts. For the first year of the program, 355 national and private universities throughout Japan filed applications; 126 were accepted after strict examination.

The selection shows that the efforts and potential of the Graduate School of Institutional Systems are recognized at the national level, though the School was only recently established. Having been selected, the Graduate School of Institutional Systems will address the Education Innovator Development Program (training of e-learning professionals who can take the initiative in developing internationally oriented human resources) from the school years 2007 to 2009. The details of the program are as follows.

1) Introduce Story-Centered Curriculums developed through international industry-university cooperation

2) Using e-portfolio, develop education improvement systems through international cooperation

3) Develop international distance joint-learning courses through strategic cooperation with foreign universities on the leading edge of globalization

4) Develop Combination of Learning and Work through cooperation between higher education and industrial education

We will advance education research by taking advantage of the above results. We will also foster human resources, including educational researchers, who can take the initiative in developing and promoting Instructional Systems through research guidance offered in the Doctor’s Program. We look forward to welcoming to The Graduate School of Instructional Systems students who share the same feeling, and to learning together with them.