Design Academia - 国公立デザイン系大学会議

New Ways of Living and Working with COVID-19 and Singularity

COVID-19 and Singularity

The spread of the new coronavirus has led to a search for new ways of living and working. We were forced to take online lessons at Okayama Prefectural University. When thinking about new lifestyles and design, we had a chance to think about the Singularity (Technical Singularity), the point at which artificial intelligence will be able to surpass human capabilities. If we are to reach the Singularity, would design survive? What do we need to do to survive? We believe that the jobs that require communication with people and the jobs of creators who create new things will have a high probability of survival. The face-to-face classes, which can only be communicated through live communication between faculty and students, is what is necessary to survive the Singularity that may come. With this belief, the School of Design has taken the following actions.

Student Online Class Environment Survey
We surveyed the students’ viewing and communication environment and provided them with Wi-Fi routers to conduct online classes. We used “Zoom” and “Microsoft Teams” for live classes, and for on-demand classes, we used the “Hattorin” teaching system.

In addition, advisors provided careful guidance to students on communication and questionnaire surveys using “Hattorin”. As a result, both students and faculty began to use “Hattorin” daily, and its use was promoted.

Support for Classes in the School of Design
In the first half of the first semester, we conducted on-demand and live online classes for lectures, and the practice classes were conducted with a hybrid approach. All courses that were deemed difficult to conduct online were canceled.

For the second half of the first semester, the timetable was drastically changed, with online classes in the morning and face-to-face classes in the afternoon from 3rd to 6th periods (normally 3rd to 5th periods) in order to avoid having lunch at the university. For the first half of the first semester, we also shortened the summer break to offer face-to-face classes for make-up classes and classes that were cancelled.

Based on the questionnaire survey conducted during the first half of the first semester and interviews with advisors, most students wanted to attend face-to-face classes, so we consulted with students and took the above measures to prevent infection thoroughly. In order to avoid crowds, in particular, we had to change classrooms and divide the class into two classes, which placed a great burden on both students and faculty. However, we believe we were able to maintain the quality of the class. Fortunately, there were no cases of illness among students and faculty members.

Future Class Development
As a result of implementing both online and face-to-face classes, we confirmed the advantages of each, so the hybrid type of classes will continue to be implemented in the future. However, with online classes, it is difficult for students in the same grade to collaborate with each other and across grade levels. We are also having difficulties in managing graduation project exhibitions and other activities. In addition, it has been difficult to conduct sufficient classes for group exhibitions by students and PBL subjects. Therefore, in the future, we plan to hold face-to-face classes while taking advantage of the online system.