Discovery Seminar A

A dinosaur
LecturerTomohiro EGASHIRA, Associate Professor
DepartmentInstitute of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2013 Spring
Recommended for:1st year students in the Faculty of Letters, Agriculture, Informatics (Natural), Science, and Engineering (I, III, IV, V) (21.5 hours / session One session / week 15 weeks / semester)

Key Features

Discovery Seminars are, more than anything, introductory classes. The purpose of Discovery Seminars is for students to acquire the skill that is most fundamental to study in a university, language. To actively create time for students to use their own words, class time is devoted to discussion, debate, and giving presentations. Through this, I believe that students achieve independent classroom participation. Moreover, this seminar plays an important role in students’ making friends at the beginning of campus life during their first semester of their first year when they are nervous and anxious. Among the many lectures that have dozens of students and small seminars that are devoted to a single prescribed subject, this Discovery Seminar only has first year students and is an excellent opportunity for students to make friends. With these intentions in mind, during the Discovery Seminar, we tried to make this class pleasant and friendly. To achieve this,

  1. During the first class, everyone, including the instructor gives a ten-minute self-introduction.
  2. Especially during the first part of classes, I have students talk about whatever new has happened to them in the last week, including joining clubs and circles and starting new part-time jobs.
  3. Over the first three weeks, we played many easy games, including the Sailor and Fiancé game, the first impression game, and the NASA game.
  4. Over the duration of the course, I did my best to create an atmosphere that encouraged students to speak up whatever the topic of class was.

Moreover, I attempted to make the class fun for the instructor as well, and though I may have been aided by the personalities of the students, I believe that I managed to create an atmosphere that encouraged students to befriend each other. Additionally, through playing games during the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th class meetings, we learned the meaning and goal of university study (mastering the ability to acknowledge multiple ways of thinking, avoiding being influenced by biases or prejudices, and understanding the importance of exchanging opinions).

Course Overview

The goal of this class is to foster the skills that students need to study at university, reading, writing, listening, speaking, debating, and giving presentations. Therefore, we made educational problems our topic, which can be discussed easily regardless of each student’s departmental affiliation. Moreover, we also aim to cultivate students’ skill at interpersonal relationships, which are integral to University life. Except for the first and last meetings, where students give presentations on their feelings about the class, the specific contents of this course are divided into three topics.

  1. In order to encourage students to communicate with each other, we will break into small groups and play games. Based on the theme of the games, we will learn the meaning and goal of University study.
  2. The whole class will discuss topics. Students will have the opportunity to experience debate and discussion for themselves and we will take freely from newspaper editorials, movie clips, and picture books to find our topics.
  3. After students have finished their survey and research of the topic they selected, each will make a short PowerPoint presentation (20 minutes each). Since the library is indispensible while doing research, during the first half of this course, with the help of library staff, students will learn how to search for books and articles. Because students will undertake their research individually, class time will not be given to research, but regular progress reports will be made in class.
  1. We will discuss the meaning and purpose of studying at the university level and how it differs from education up through the high school level.
  2. By playing games that encourage interpersonal communication, (like the Sailor and fiancé game and the NASA game) students will form friendships with each other and learn about the importance of knowing how others think and feel.
  3. While reading related texts and sources, we will freely debate and discuss educational problems in modern society. From bullying, truancy, corporal punishment, “Yutori Education” (stress-free education), school reorganization, the educational gap among people, and moral education, students will decide which topics to discuss. In order to improve student’s foreign language skills, students will be given one English text.
  4. To discuss the meaning of studying at university, we will watch films that depict universities (and high schools) and university students.
  5. Students will choose a theme that interests them and perform their own research and give a PowerPoint presentation on the results of their research.


There is no assigned textbook.

Reference materials

There are no special reference materials.

Words from the instructor who created the class webpage

I came to Nagoya University myself a year ago in October, so feel like a “first year” myself. I am looking forward to hearing students’ opinions.

Course Schedule

Session Contents
1 Introduction, lecturer and students self-introductions
2 Studying at University and making friends game 1: exchanging various ways of thinking, sailors and fiancé game
3 Studying at University and making friends game 2: removing bias and prejudice, first impression game
4 How to search for books and articles in the library
5 Studying at University and making friends game 3: the importance of exchanging opinions, NASA game
6 Discussion: what to you think about bullying?
7 Debate: what do you think about “Yutori Education” (stress-free education)?
8 Discussions on various materials 1: Newspaper editorial
9 Discussions on various materials 2: Film
10 Discussions on various materials 3: Picture book
11 Making reference materials
12 Student research presentation 1
13 Student research presentation 2
14 Student research presentation 3
15 Talk about what you learned in this course


Grades will be given as follows: presentation=40%, contribution to in-class discussions=40%, final report=20%. Students are allowed to withdraw from the course.

Last updated

May 07, 2020