Students' Initiated Support Activities during the COVID-19 Disaster
At Saga University, we have prepared “Webex,” which supports synchronous remote classes, and “Office365 Teams,” which can be used for on-demand distribution of materials and project-based classes, to support classes during COVID-19. We also launched the “Online Class Portal” in March to support teachers. In addition, a support group called “Gechide no Tamago“, which was voluntarily set up by volunteer students of the Faculty of Art and Regional Design to provide online support to new students played an active role.
“Gechide” is a Japanese acronym for “Art”, “Community” and “Design”. The support for using the tools of the online classes is created from the perspective of the students taking the classes and is used by current students and faculty members. Its content is diverse, including how to take online classes and submit assignments, advice on living on your own, introductions to clubs, training on design software, and handling questions and consultations. The contents are selected based on the number of questions received from new students via social networking sites and the number of hits on published articles. Then one member writes the article and the other members check before publishing it.
The project began as an attempt to put into practice what the participating students themselves felt was necessary and important. Since the launched in April, the site has received approximately 72,000 hits in two months. One of the students in charge of the site said, “I was surprised at the number of new students seeking information, but I think we were able to meet their needs”.
The student life resulted from COVID-19 has changed drastically. There are instances where old educational strategies are no longer adequate. Students are now trying to break out of their egg shells and step out on their own. Our faculty aims to create an environment of relational design that can support such practical efforts in both hardware and software.
Members of the “Gechide no Tamago”. In addition to supporting new students, the students in the support group are currently working to provide career support for current students and create a mechanism to promote collaborative activities between the community, universities, and students.