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  1. YNU
  2. Education
  3. Educational Policy
  4. Policy on Organizing and Implementing Curricula (Curriculum Policy)

Policy on Organizing and Implementing Curricula (Curriculum Policy)

Education System and Basic Curriculum Structure

Policy for organizing curricula

YNU organizes its curricula in a structured way, establishing the courses necessary for each college/department/bachelor’s degree program to achieve its aims in terms of cultivating human resources, as well as its other educational philosophies and goals, and to impart to students the four types of practical knowledge detailed in the policy on graduation approval and granting degrees (Policy 1: Diploma Policy).

When organizing curricula, YNU takes due care to supplement the teaching of knowledge relating to the specialist field of each college/department/bachelor’s degree program by cultivating broad expertise and familiarity with the liberal arts, practical intellect, and communicative proficiency, and by fostering highly creative strength of character combined with strong ethics and a sense of responsibility.

Methods of organizing curricula

YNU’s curricula comprise college-level education courses established by each college/department/bachelor’s degree program, as well as liberal education courses. Each course is divided into required subjects, elective subjects, and optional subjects and curricula are organized by apportioning these different categories of subjects appropriately for each year of study.

The university may offer structured curricula spanning multiple colleges/ departments/ bachelor’s degree programs in which students are enrolled (inter-college bachelor’s degree programs). Furthermore, the university may offer structured study programs (sub-major programs) relating to specific fields, topics, or interdisciplinary fields other than those of the colleges /departments /bachelor’s degree programs in which students are enrolled.

In addition, YNU promotes coordinated collaboration among its organizational entities to offer post-graduation study opportunities, enabling students to learn both inside and outside of educational programs in order to enhance their own attributes after graduating and cultivate the skills necessary to become socially and professionally independent. In this case, the university seeks to create a global campus where a large number of international students can come together and cooperate in their endeavors, at the same time taking care to provide education geared to society’s needs and the local community.

Organization of college-level education courses

College-level education courses are organized by stipulating appropriate course categories including core courses, basic courses, and specialized courses according to the policy on organizing and implementing curricula (Policy 2: Curriculum Policy) drawn up by each individual college/department/bachelor’s degree program.

College-level education provides courses dealing with three forms of literacy (academic, civic, and information-related), and the courses are in principle taught to students when they enter the university. Academic literacy consists of the basic skills necessary for independent and investigative study at university, and of thinking about how to make the most of one’s time at the university. Civic literacy entails nurturing the insight and concern necessary to play an active role as a good citizen within the global community. Information literacy involves understanding information ethics and information security when using the Internet, as well as general programming concepts.

Organization of liberal education courses

Liberal education provision is organized in a structured way to offer a full range of courses across all colleges, from entry study courses to advanced liberal education courses. They comprise basic courses, foreign language courses, health and sports science courses, global study courses, and innovation study courses.

Liberal education curricula comprise courses to be offered across all colleges with the aim of achieving the university’s liberal arts education goals. By providing courses involving all colleges, students are offered the chance to acquire broad, diverse academic knowledge. Curricula employ an advanced-course registration system (including advanced liberal education) designed to broaden the diversity of students’ outlooks, transcending differences in year-group, age, or nationality.

Liberal arts education goals

YNU’s liberal arts education aims to help students achieve the four goals below, guided by the university’s four fundamental principles—Be Active, Be Innovative, Be Open, Be Global.

  • Acquire the basic academic skills necessary to engage in a field of specialization by independently studying a range of academic knowledge and developing broad familiarity with the liberal arts
  • Nurture the ability to think logically, critically, and creatively about the issues faced by contemporary society
  • Enhance communicative proficiency by nurturing international awareness and a deeper understanding of other cultures
  • Cultivate a sense of ethics regarding the right way to act as a person and a sense of responsibility as a member of society

Administration of Curricula and Grading Standards

Policy for implementing curricula

In addition to providing undergraduate education based on internationally recognized quality assurance in each college/department/bachelor’s degree program, YNU also implements the initiatives below through its curricula according to the university’s policy for organizing curricula.

  • Offers undergraduate education incorporating leading-edge research findings in order to enable students to understand a variety of value systems, nurture a strong sense of ethics, and develop independent, creative skills
  • In addition to the regular major programs, enhances other provision including inter-college educational programs and sub-major programs in order to cultivate human resources with interdisciplinary skills giving them the ability to see things from a range of perspectives, as well as broad specialist expertise
  • Incorporates into curricula learning that switches between theory and practice to cultivate the ability to seek out practical issues, think about them logically and critically, and solve them creatively. Examples of such learning would be active learning by means of interactive methods such as problem solving PBL (project/problem based learning) and group work, or industry-academia collaboration and fieldwork outside the university.
  • Offers a liberal education that cultivates communicative proficiency and a global approach so that students can use what they have learned to take up challenges on the world stage
  • Helps students to reach their potential according to their individual attributes and skills by providing them with careers education from the time they enter the university. Such careers education aims to develop their attitudes to work and to life, and also to develop the sense of ethics and responsibility necessary for working adults.

Methods of implementing curricula

Classes at YNU employ one or more of the following formats: lectures, exercises, experiments, practical training, or skills practice. The university may allow students to take full advantage of a range of media or other methods to take classes in locations other than classrooms and the usual venues where classes are held, whether in Japan or overseas.

The number of credits per course is calculated according to the class formats listed below (as well as the course’s educational efficacy and the amount of study required outside of class time, etc.). One standard course credit comprises course content requiring 45 hours of study.

  • Classes comprising lectures and/or exercises: One credit per 15 hours of classes
  • Classes comprising experiments, practical training, and/or skills practice: One credit per 30 hours of classes
  • Classes in art and similar fields comprising skills practice with individual tutoring: One credit for the number of hours of classes stipulated by the relevant college/department/bachelor’s degree program
  • A single course that employs a combination of two or more formats from among lectures, exercises, experiments, practical training, or skills practice: One credit for the number of hours of classes stipulated by the relevant college/ department/ bachelor’s degree program according to the combination of formats used in the class in question
  • Classes for graduation-related work including theses, research, or creative projects: The number of credits stipulated by the relevant college/ department/ bachelor’s degree program considering such factors as the amount of study necessary for the class in question

Implementation of college-level education courses

College-level education courses offer organized college-level education across the entire curriculum by coordinating and interlinking with individual courses according to the policy on organizing and implementing curricula (Policy 2: Curriculum Policy) drawn up by each individual college/department/bachelor’s degree program.

Curricula are accompanied by curriculum trees (curriculum or course maps) incorporating course numbering according to the policies on organizing and implementing curricula (Policy 2: Curriculum Policies). The aim is to clearly indicate what constitutes a sequential, structured curriculum so that a diverse range of university entrants can devise their own study plans and carry out independent study.

The university clearly indicates grading standards and assessment indicators (course rubrics) to be used by all class teachers with respect to learning outcome goals, operating an organized system for management of teaching and learning (a PDCA/plan-do-check-action cycle) to be used for improving and developing its curricula to ensure internationally recognized quality assurance.

Implementation of liberal education courses

To implement its liberal education courses, the university as a whole works toward its liberal arts education goals by putting the initiatives below into practice. The Education Center plays a central role in pursuing these initiatives on behalf of the entire university to plan, refine, implement, and improve educational provision from entry study to advanced liberal education.

  • Provides four years of consistent liberal education from entry study to the advanced level in each college/department/bachelor’s degree program
  • The university as a whole takes responsibility for offering greater freedom in choosing courses and providing a rich and varied selection of courses as a means of enabling students to study independently and develop broad familiarity with the liberal arts
  • Employs integrated course numbering for both undergraduate colleges and graduate schools to provide sequential, structured liberal education courses as a means of fostering the broad specialist expertise combined with an ability to see things from a range of perspectives that is required in the new global age
  • Uses methods such as industry-academia collaboration and active learning to offer classes reflecting current circumstances as a means of deepening students’ understanding of the issues faced by contemporary society and nurturing their ability to devise ways of finding solutions
  • Uses small-size classes and forms classes according to learning level (TOEFL IBT score) to provide effective foreign language education as a means of nurturing communicative proficiency and a global approach
  • Employs an advanced-course registration system designed to broaden the diversity of students’ outlooks, transcending differences in year-group, age, or nationality, organizing advanced liberal education courses as a means of fostering the highly creative strength of character to survive in the new global age

Course scheduling under a two-semester-six-term combination system

YNU employs a two-semester-six-term combination system in scheduling the duration of courses. The academic year is divided into the spring semester and the fall semester with courses offered in durations of both 16 weeks (semester courses) and 8 weeks (term courses) for each semester.

For semester courses, the academic year is divided into the spring semester and the fall semester, and courses are scheduled to complete over a period of 16 weeks excluding vacations. For term courses, the academic year is divided into 6 terms; courses are offered in the spring semester (first half: Term 1; second half: Term 2) and the fall semester (first half: Term 4; second half: Term 5) and are scheduled to complete over a period of 8 weeks. When designing courses, those comprising lectures and/or exercises are scheduled once a week, accounting for one unit, and those comprising experiments, practical training, and/or skills practice are scheduled twice a week, also accounting for one unit.

YNU may offer intensive term course lecture sessions during the summer vacation (Term 3) or the spring vacation (Term 6). It also makes active use of a gap term system whereby classes in required subjects are not scheduled during term-time immediately before or after these vacations. In this way the university exercises care to encourage students’ independent learning by increasing opportunities for them to benefit from a variety of experiences within Japanese society or abroad, including overseas study or summer schools, internships, and volunteering. It also enables the university to provide opportunities for students to develop a sociable and diverse outlook by cultivating understanding of different cultures and a well-rounded character, as well as cooperating with others.

Two-semester-six-term combination system

Course numbering

YNU makes use of course numbering, assigning specific symbols and numbers according to course difficulty (level) and the order in which courses should be studied as a means of offering integrated four-year curricula from university entry to graduation approval in each college/department/bachelor’s degree program. This enables the university to make clear to students the recommended year in which to study different courses and how their studies will progress.

When offering study guidance, the university prepares curriculum trees (curriculum or course maps) incorporating course numbering as a means of clearly indicating to students in advance the basic configuration of a sequential, structured curriculum so that a diverse range of university entrants can devise their own study plans and carry out independent study.

Grading standards

A range of factors are taken into account in determining grades for YNU courses using the grading methods stated in the Web Syllabus. University-wide grading standards apply based on the university’s course designing and grading guideline. Grades are expressed in terms of five levels— S, A, B, C, and F—and grade points (GP) are awarded for grades achieved in each course. However, where it is difficult to express grades in terms of five levels, course grades are expressed as Pass or Fail and GP are not awarded.

The Web Syllabus gives students clear advance notification of such details as the aims of classes in each course, class plans, content to be studied outside class hours, standard goals, advanced goals, grading methods, grading standards, class teaching methods, textbooks, and references.

As part of its grading standards YNU prepares course rubrics as indicators for assessing learning outcomes; these clearly indicate in matrix format the content to be studied and the levels to be attained by students.

  1. The advanced goal indicates all content covered in the course (the aims of the course). Mastering more advanced content requires independent study; if the advanced goal is exceeded, an S grade is awarded.
  2. The standard goal indicates the minimum content to be mastered by students taking a course; if the standard goal is attained, a C grade is awarded, indicating a level of attainment requiring further study.

YNU’s requirements for graduation are that a student completes the courses and number of credits stipulated by the relevant college/department/bachelor’s degree program and achieves a GPA of 2.0 or higher in courses required for graduation. GPA are calculated by multiplying the grade points awarded for courses completed by the student with the relevant number of course credits and dividing the result by the total number of credits for courses on which the student is registered.

Formula for calculating GPA

GPA = ∑ (GP x no. of credits) / no. of credits for registered courses

Awarding of credits

The prescribed number of credits is awarded by YNU to students who complete courses and, following determination of their results, have obtained grades of S, A, B, C, or Pass. However, for courses involving graduation-related work including theses, research, or creative projects, credits are awarded based on assessment of learning outcomes using an appropriate method stipulated by the relevant college.

Course results are determined by means of a written examination for students who have taken courses, to be administered in principle at the end of the semester or term. Other factors to be considered when determining results include reports of research, examinations during the course, practical examinations, attendance, and progress with studies.

Policy on Study Guidance from Entry to Graduation

Policy on study guidance

In addition to providing appropriate study guidance in each college/ department/ bachelor’s degree program according to students’ diverse needs and the benefits of the learning support provided, YNU as a whole also implements the initiatives below.

  • Increases students’ motivation to study by enhancing provision of course numbering and student portfolios so that students can devise study plans according to their own goals and review their study progress, and also provides study guidance enabling students to further enhance their own skills
  • Supplements the contact advisor system and the various counselling services by making use of education and student IR (institutional research) to identify students who are struggling to adapt to university early on and addressing their problems, as well as otherwise reinforcing support for such students in their studies and day-to-day lives
  • Uses the university’s own scholarships based on donations and other sources of funds to financially support Japanese students and international students, and also extends financial support offered to students sent overseas
  • Addresses the diverse requirements of society as well as students’ needs, upgrading the university’s physical environment by making it barrier free, employing universal design, and improving student dormitories and welfare facilities. In addition, provides a study environment that is easily accessible to all students and enables all students to make the most of their abilities
  • Provides an environment for high quality education incorporating active learning that makes full use of ICT equipment to handle different learning formats catering to a variety of needs. To this end, refurbishes lecture halls and increases their provision, improves library facilities, and updates key ICT (Information and Communication Technology) infrastructure
  • Provides career formation support for students via courses that employ problem solving methods and careers education. Such careers education takes advantage of collaboration with the business community according to the business community’s needs
  • Provides study guidance for international students by using tutors and student volunteers to offer learning support, improving the provision of Japanese language education using Japanese student volunteers, and offering career support. In the latter case, guidance on job hunting in Japan and in students’ home countries is offered by collaborating with the YNU “Koyukai” alumni association and with overseas alumni

Study guidance and reasonable measures for students with disabilities

YNU takes all reasonable educational measures necessary to ensure that students with disabilities can receive satisfactory education according to the nature of their disabilities. In so doing, one aim of study guidance for students with disabilities is to ensure a university in which all students can learn together, respecting each other’s characters and personalities, without segregation on the basis of disability. Another aim is to support students with disabilities in maintaining their independence and participating socially. Furthermore, the university takes steps to improve and extend educational content and methods, taking care that students with disabilities receive their education alongside students without disabilities whenever possible so that students with disabilities can receive satisfactory education given their own personal attributes, according to their age and abilities. In such cases, the university provides adequate information to students with disabilities and their parents or guardians, and respects their wishes as far as possible.

Taking courses and limits on courses registered by students (cap system)

Students register the courses they intend to take at the beginning of each academic session (each semester or Terms 1 and 4) as stipulated by the relevant college/ department/ bachelor’s degree program. To ensure that students take courses properly throughout each year from the first to the fourth, and that they have adequate time to study, limits are set on the number of credits students can register to take in each academic session (semester or term). The limits on the total number of credits that students can register to take for college-level education courses and liberal education courses are set as appropriate by the relevant college/department/bachelor’s degree program. To ensure that the academic credit system is genuinely effective in such cases, the limits set on the number of credits students can register to take is strict, and students who earn the prescribed number of credits with outstanding results may be allowed to register to take additional credits exceeding the limits. For liberal education courses, the limit on the number of credits students can register to take is 12 per session, and for global study courses it is possible to take up to 4 extra credits in addition to the 12 credits per session. However, intensive lectures (excluding health and sports science courses) offered during the summer vacation (Term 3) and the spring vacation (Term 6) are not subject to this limit on the number of credits.

(Educational Affairs Division)