Online university, pandemics and the long history of globalization
Online classes have so rapidly expanded in Japanese universities as a result of the Covid-19 shock in 2020. Although this shift opens many possibilities in the university education including the participation of students who have small kids, disabilities, and reasons they cannot come to the university campus, we still need to think about the difference between the small scale interactive style class and the large scale on-demand delivery style class. The most important part of the online class is the sharing of time. However, in the online class of delivery type, the learning time itself is not shared, and the students can access the lectures at any time. In online lectures where space and time are not shared, there should be artificial mechanisms to share the context that establishes the questions in a different way than physically given. In this paper, I discuss MOOC (massive online open courseware) and Minerva University as the two prominent challenges of online education today. And I also discuss the historical positionality of university as a crossroad of different intellectuals and students of different cultural backgrounds in the long waves of globalization and pandemics.
KEYWORDS: Online university; MOOC; Minerva University; globalization; pandemics; sharing of time
Born in Tokyo in 1957, Shunya Yoshimi is a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies (III). He has also served in multiple positions at The University of Tokyo, including Dean of Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies; Vice President of the University of Tokyo; Chairman of the University of Tokyo Newspaper, etc. until 2017. Currently, he is Chairman of University of Tokyo Press. He studies contemporary Japanese cultural history, everyday life, and cultural politics from the perspective of dramaturgy. His major works include Dramaturgy of the Urban (Kawade Bunko), The Politics of Exposition (Kodansha Gakujutsu Bunko), Cultural Sociology in the Media Age (Shinyosha), Voice of Capitalism (Kawade Bunko), Cultural Studies (Iwanami Shoten), Invitation to Media Cultural Studies (Yuhikaku), Expo and Postwar Japan (Kodansha Gakujutsu Bunko), Pro-America, Anti-America (Iwanami Shinsho), Post-postwar Society (Iwanami Shinsho), What is University? (Iwanami Shinsho), Atoms for Dream (Chikuma Shinsho), Out of America (Kobundo), Abolition of Humanities? (Shueisha), Geopolitics of Visual City (Iwanami Shoten), Scales of History (Shueisha), Between Post-war and Post-disaster (Shueisha), Living in the Trump’s America (Iwanami Shinsho), After Cultural Studies (Seidosha), Heisei Era (Iwanami Shinsho), Olympic and Postwar (Kawade-Shobo Shinsha), The Condition for Intellectual Creativity (Chikuma Shobo), Tokyo Turn Around (Shueisha), etc.