Case Study in Higher Education

1. Type of lesson/case study

This case study focuses on the content of a department compulsory subject (title: Social Welfare for Persons with Disabilities) in a large-scale university class. The target student (21 year-old girl) has a natural hearing impairment and a physical disability certificate (mild), uses hearing aids and can understand loud and slow spoken words; in addition, she can have everyday conversations without any problems. However, because the speed of the lesson at the university was so fast, she was unable to understand the details of the explanations during her university lessons due to their speed and sometimes felt insufficient.

2. Content area for lesson/case study

This lesson expands basic knowledge of “disabilities” and stimulates a discussion about the social life and human rights of people with disabilities. In addition, students are able to understand the measures (laws, systems, services, and so on) of social welfare for people with disabilities and to study the way of providing support according to types of disabilities.

3. Number of students

The number of students in this lesson was 180.

4. Syllabus for the lesson, if applicable

The lesson deepens the understanding of Japanese laws and systems related to the welfare of persons with disabilities through a 90-minute class conducted 15 times in a semiannual semester. Table 1 gives an overview of the class syllabus.

Table 1. Overview of the class syllabus

【Title】 Social Welfare for Persons with Disabilities
【Learning Objectives】 The objectives of this course are: 1. To understand the life of people with disabilities and explain their issues in social life; 2. To understand the system and details of services associated with social welfare for people with disabilities, to specifically explain them, and 3. To think about the independence of people with disabilities, grasp the needs for each individual, and consider specific supporting methods.
【Schedule】 1. Social state surrounding people with disabilities 2. Actual status of people with disabilities (physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, etc.) 3. Changes in the understanding of disabilities (ICIDH to ICF) 4. Legal structure related to people with disabilities (1) [Act for Persons with Disabilities and Act on Welfare of Physically Disabled Persons] 5. Legal structure related to people with disabilities (2) [Act for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Act on Mental Health and Welfare for Mentally Disabled] 6. Act on Support for Persons with Developmental Disabilities and characteristics of developmental disabilities 7. Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act (1) [Expanding the range of patients with intractable diseases, classifying disabilities support] 8. Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act (2) [Independence benefit in the old Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act, community life support projects, etc.] 9. Support for children with disabilities (1) [Children day care services, etc.] 10. Support for children with disabilities (2) [Roles of special support education schools and special support classes] 11. Roles of administration and service institutions, etc. 12. Current status of sports for the disabled and their issues 13. Roles and actual status of professions 14. Cooperation between healthcare, education, and labor institutions, etc. 15. Summary and examination
【Instructional Methods】 1. This course is conducted basically on lectures using PowerPoint. 2. Students will have group discussions as needed. 3. Guest speakers (external instructors) may be invited depending on the theme. 4. Supplementary educational materials such as videos and DVDs will be used about social welfare and educational sites to deepen the understanding. 5. Students will work on the past questions of the national examination for social workers as needed.

5. Instructional design approach(s) used

The following efforts were made to promote understanding of the lesson contents of hearing-impaired students in large-scale classrooms.

  • Utilization of FUJITSU Software LiveTalk (Figure 1)
  • Utilization of note-taking (collaboration with the student counseling room))
  • Utilization of DVD with Japanese subtitles
  • Give a paper overview of DVD in advance
  • Pre-distribution of materials used in the lesson
  • Adjusting PowerPoint materials (create fonts that are easy for everyone to read (bright characters on a dark background))
  • Student sits in the front row of the classroom, and teachers speak slowly and clearly.

Figure1. Fujitsu Software LiveTalk system (This Figure is diverted from the following website.

Diagram for Koreeda Case Study

6. Outcomes attained

FUJITSU Software LiveTalk is a device developed as a communication tool for the hearing-impaired person, and it is a system that captures the voice of a microphone into a personal computer and converts it into characters. In the large-scale classroom (capacity of 300 people), there were environmental problems such as voice cracking, which made it difficult for this student to use. When used in a small classroom (specialized seminar class: capacity of 30 people), by connecting directly to the microphone, the speed at which the computer converts the voice into characters has increased. It was thought that she could make full use of it, as she got used to using the equipment. However, since this student can understand the general content of the lesson by speaking slowly, she has not continued to use LiveTalk since then. As a support other than LiveTalk, in the class of the large-scale classroom, the author collaborated with the Student Counseling Room and had one student (part-time job) for note-taking. In addition, taking into account the wishes of the individual, the author took measures such as utilizing DVD with Japanese subtitles and distributing materials to be used in the next lesson in advance.

Through the case studies, it was considered necessary to maximize the wishes of the individual and to prepare a wide range of support methods and educational contents that can respond to the degree of disability and the needs of the individual.

7. Future issues

Among students with developmental disabilities, such as learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, there are many students who are not good at copying notes and are difficult to understand only by communicating information in words. Efforts to use subtitled images and distribute paper materials in advance were considered to be effective not only for the hearing impaired, but also for students with developmental disabilities. In addition, it was considered necessary to present textual information (with Japanese subtitles, etc.) when transmitting general web information. This student was studying for the national qualification of a social worker, but the free web-based exam preparation course was only a verbal explanation, and even if she heard it, she could not understand it and stopped listening on the way. Currently, this student is active as a social worker after graduating from university.

8. References

FUJITSU LIMITED (2020): Fujitsu Software LiveTalk Website [in Japanese]

Posted By Kiyoji Koreeda, Professor of Toyo University