International Education and ICT During and Post-COVID-19: Japan’s Experiences and Perspectives

Visiting Scholar Talks

Feb 29, 2024 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Common Room (#136), 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA,


Hiroshi Ota | Professor and Director, Hitotsubashi University Global Education Program, Center for General Education, Hitotsubashi University; HYI Visiting Scholar, 2023-24


Christina Ciocca Eller | Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Studies, Harvard University

Co-sponsored with the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies

Universities are often said to be organizations that do not change easily (change-averse or status-quo organizations). Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many Japanese universities took a sit-and-wait attitude although the pandemic was both a crisis and an opportunity for universities to change. However, several universities were oriented toward innovative international educational exchange using ICT and implemented many new programs. This paper analyzes the good practices of such universities based on data from interviews and public documents to discover what made them different from most other Japanese universities and who and what roles they played in university leadership, management, and governance. Moreover, based on this analysis, expected changes and new trends in international education in the future are explored.

Unfortunately, ICT-based international education, such as virtual exchange and mobility, is often regarded as an emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and these acquired online international learning methods are fading away after physical student mobility resumes on a larger scale. It is as if universities are abandoning the newly developed modality (foundation) of international education and are returning to the familiar old normal. Thus, this presentation also discusses why universities are so reluctant to transformational change despite the strong need for change in universities and their education.