Design Academia - 国公立デザイン系大学会議

COVID-19 and "Humanization of Technology"

Behind the “humanization of technology” as the founding philosophy of the Kyushu Institute of Design is an urgent need for the appropriate use of science and technology for the realization of people’s well-being in order to solve the various social problems associated with the rapid economic growth. Today, fifty years later, we are facing serious social issues brought about by a pandemic, and the important task is to overcome these difficulties and restore human life through “humanization of technology”.

How did Kyushu University Faculty of Design Respond?

Due to the impact of COVID-19, which has been spreading since the beginning of 2020, Kyushu University has decided to conduct all classes in the spring semester of 2020 academic year via distance learning. In order to make classes more flexible and effective even in a remote environment, Kyushu University School of Design has provided all full-time faculty members with a paid account for “Zoom (video conferencing system)” if they wish. In addition, 500 GB of cloud storage was purchased for the entire department, providing an environment for easy recording, and viewing of lecture videos. Also, “Slack (a type of chat tool) channel” was set up to encourage faculty members to share remote learning know-how. On Slack, many useful resources were shared, including how to conduct distance classes, successes/failures, effective tools/equipment and how to use them, and a program to automatically extract information on attendance from Zoom.

Distance Learning for Students
Below are some of the responses to a survey of students on distance learning.

  • Some people can understand everything in one lecture, but for people like me, who have difficulty with that, video lectures are a great help. In fact, there were times when I couldn’t understand the lecturer in a face-to-face class, and I wondered if I was going to be okay. However, through distance learning resulted from the coronavirus, I realized that this type of learning style which is not the face-to-face classes best suited for me.
  • In the classes of sketching and modeling, I thought it was easier to understand the teacher in the remote class because I could see his hand up close. I think real-time classes are easier to communicate with the teacher and to do group work because we can see each other’s faces.

Humanizing Design Education with Technology
Surveys from students made us realized that even simple innovations such as providing lecture videos on-demand or video recording of sketches at hand have the potential to improve the quality of the student learning experience. As the scope of design becomes increasingly broad, and traditional classroom formats and unified curriculum are no longer adequate to meet the needs of these students, this response to remote learning is a unique opportunity to design a new type of design education. Currently, the faculty members of Kyushu University School of Design are working under various constraints to reconfigure their classes using the latest technology to allow “humanization of technology” in the field of design education.


The number of accesses to the lecture videos from the online class (just under 200 students) on May 19. You can see that the number of accesses for review increases immediately after the online class ends and again just before the report deadline.