Greeting for March 2008

The Graduate School of Instructional Systems was established in 2006 as an independent department (master’s program) of the Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences, with 15 students and 22 part-time students. The first students graduated from the program in March 2008. In the 2008 school year, the Doctor’s Program (with a quota of three students) was established and the established Master’s Program expanded its quota to 15 students. Since its establishment, the Graduate School of Instructional Systems has been conducting educational researches systematically to foster highly educated professionals who can develop, practice and assess effective, efficient and attractive e-learning. The aim of the Doctor’s Program is to deepen graduate school education and advance academic research in order to meet social needs and academic requirements, while fostering human resources – including educational researchers – who can take the initiative in developing and promoting instructional systems. In the Master’s Program, competencies expected of program graduates are clarified and practical curriculums are organized. The Graduate School of Instructional Systems is working together with e-Learning Consortium Japan (eLC), a specified nonprofit corporation, to produce human resources required by the e-learning market, and has been designated a mutually recognized educational institute by eLC for its e-learning professional certification (e-LP). Past diplomates have graduated from the Graduate School of Instructional Systems as e-learning specialists with multiple e-LP certificates. The Graduate School of Instructional Systems was selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for its Support Program for Improving Graduate School Education 2007 (126 national and private universities were selected from among 355 throughout Japan). Its selection shows that the efforts and possibilities of the Graduate School of Institutional Systems are recognized at the national level, despite its recent establishment. Following its selection, the Graduate School of Institutional Systems is addressing 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. For the students we received in 2008, we have introduced Story-Centered Curriculums on a trial basis, with the aim of strengthening the power of practice. We have other research subjects underway as well, such as the development of education improvement systems using e-portfolio, development of international distance joint-learning courses, or development of Combination of Learning and Work through cooperation with industrial education. We will advance education researches by taking advantage of the above results. We will receive not only degree students, but also part-time students and research students, in both the pre-doctoral and Doctor’s Programs. The range of graduates’ activities is gradually expanding, from joint researches with e-learning-related companies to the organization of academic conferences or study groups. We are also preparing to receive international students from developing countries with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). We believe that academic foundation and specialists are essential for e-learning in Japan. We look forward to welcoming to the Graduate School of Instructional Systems students who share the same feeling, and to learning together with them. Katsuaki Suzuki, Professor and Chair of the Graduate School of Instructional Systems