What is the Program for Promoting Inter-University Collaborative Education?
The Program for Promoting Inter-University Collaborative Education is a program launched in 2012 by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). This program aims to ensure and improve the quality of higher education and promote the functional differentiation of universities by providing intensive financial support to superior projects aimed at establishing an educational quality assurance system that responds to demands from society, which are selected from among projects cooperatively promoted in specific geographic regions or fields by universities, regardless of whether they are national, public or private institutions.
Overview of This Cooperative Project
The promotion of universal access to higher education has brought about a diversity among students in terms of learning purpose, motivation, learning habits, and academic performance. In Japan, many universities – small private universities in particular – are facing challenges as to how to establish an education system that ensures the quality of undergraduate (bachelor’s degree) education despite their limited resources, while accepting students from a wide variety of backgrounds. To address this issue, it is essential to set up an education management system that enhances faculty members’ awareness of the importance of sharing educational goals and management methods, rather than relying on those of individual faculty members, and enables the implementation of more systematically organized education.
In this project, “teaching and learning management” means that individual universities – with the ultimate goal of achieving the diploma policy (DP, or learning achievement goals) they have set based on their educational missions and principles – provide organizational and systematic education by creating a systematized education program, improving educational approaches, facilitating cooperation and collaboration that cross disciplinary and faculty boundaries, and promoting the visualization of how to measure learning results.
This project consists of three initiatives.
Three Initiatives to Be Tackled
Establishing a teaching and learning management system
In this cooperative project, the establishment of a teaching and learning management system means to realize organized and systematic education with the implementation of HIPs and the development of a method to evaluate learning outcomes as key pillars, by enhancing the teaching skills of individual faculty members and by promoting cross-disciplinary and faculty-to-faculty cooperation and collaboration based on systematic education programs and in a manner that takes full advantage of the individuality of each faculty member. In addition to teaching skills, another important factor is to manage the progress status of courses by enhancing the ability to design courses, including better syllabuses, more opportunities for learning outside the classroom, and more rigorous evaluation.
This initiative aims to create an environment that enables the enrichment of organizational education by establishing a teaching and learning management system.
Implementing HIPs (High-Impact Practices)
High-Impact Practices practical examples
High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are a generic term for education programs in which active learning and learning outside the classroom are systematically designed to have a strong impact on students and contribute to their cumulative learning.
This initiative focuses on the improvement of both active learning in the classroom and hands-on learning outside the classroom. Hands-on learning practices consist of three programs: (1) a research program to develop an ability to identify issues, (2) an internship program that responds to social needs of human resources development, and (3) a service-learning program that utilizes service activities in the community and in Japan and abroad as learning resources.
Developing a method to evaluate learning outcomes
There is a need to develop an evaluation system to establish whether the effects of the utilization of HIPs as an educational approach and the establishment of a teaching and learning management system are reflected in students’ learning outcomes. To create such a system, it is necessary to measure learning outcomes and accumulate measured results.
For the quantitative measurement of learning outcomes, rubrics and tests to assess students’ level of achievement in their studies (achievement confirmation tests) are used. Rubrics are said to be best suited for qualitative evaluation. The achievement confirmation test is very useful for measuring students’ level of acquirement of basic specialized knowledge required in individual faculties and departments and for measuring Japanese and English language skills.
In addition, tests for Japanese language skills and mathematical analysis skills, developed by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations, are used in this initiative.
Visualizing learning outcomes by employing these rubrics and tests enables students to confirm what they have learned and to know what kinds of knowledge and skills they need to acquire.
Moreover, this program utilizes an IR (Institutional Research) system as a learning support tool. Under the system, students’ panel data are classified into specific clusters and fixed-point observations are conducted, and the results are utilized for the assessment of students’ progress and the evaluation of various education programs and courses.