On June 6, 2023 (Tues.), DWANGO Co., Ltd. (referred to as "Dwango" below) held a presentation at Tokyo Portcity Takeshiba about establishing the new online university "ZEN University" together with the Nippon Foundation (referred to as "the Nippon Foundation" below). Dwango streamed the presentation online.
Note: The following instructor titles are subject to change.
Resolving inequality and providing essential higher education to everyone
In today's Japan, educational disparity exists. Income, regional, and gender disparity are cited as issues surrounding the educational environment, and are thought to be closely related to the social issues of the cycle of poverty, increases in economic disparity, and regional decline. As an institute to resolve these inequality issues and makes essential higher education available to everyone, the Nippon Foundation and Dwango established Preparatory Association of The Nippon Foundation and DWANGO Educational Institute and decided to aim for the establishment of an online university. Also, for some time now we have been receiving many requests regarding the establishment of an online university from both students and guardians involved in the Dwango-incepted Japan top class "internet high schools" N&S High Schools (referred to as "N&S High" below). Against this backdrop, in contrast to the majority of already existing online universities that serve working adults, we have decided for ZEN University to establish curriculum mainly oriented towards students entering university after graduating from high school.
From left to right: Saeko Ishida,Announcer, Takeshi Natsuno, President CEO of DWANGO Co., Ltd., and Nobuo Kawakami,DWANGO Co., Ltd. Advisor
Research projects unique to ZEN University
In addition to being an educational institute, ZEN University also dives boldly into advanced fields in the role of a research institute as well.
We will open IUGC (Inter-universal Geometry Center) within ZEN University as an IUT theory hub. We aim to gather individuals who are taking on the challenge of difficult IUT problems, and will strive for further penetration and development of mathematics. And in our quest to expand the base of researchers, ZEN University will provide curriculum such as an introductory course by Ivan Fesenko, who will serve as the IUGC Associate Director .
2nd Matsuo Lab
ZEN University will invite Japan's top expert in artificial intelligence research, University of Tokyo Professor Yutaka Matsuo, to establish the "Second Matsuo Lab" as a research hub fusing AI and the humanities. Not only will students study deep learning, but they will also develop the ability to appropriately apply AI.
The history project
Japan has an amazing content industry including the fields of IT, games, comics, animation, and the internet. ZEN University will link with each of these fields to pass along their histories to future generations. Drawing on an accumulation of oral history spoken by industry insiders and digitalized sources related to user culture such as Comic Market, participants will prepare and release primary resources, learning truly useful lessons from modern industrial history.
From left to right: Established IUGC,Established 2nd Matsuo Lab,The history project
Boundary free curriculum across a wide range of fields
ZEN University will offer 135 courses spread over the five fields of culture and society, information, mathematical sciences, the digital industry, and the creative industry. In the single department of "Intelligent information social studies" alone, students will be able to enroll in courses that coincide with their personal interests, without being restricted by barriers between sciences and humanities. Classes are composed of 60 minutes of video learning and 30 minutes of classwork, allowing learning at the student's own pace. The university plans to provide more than 12,150 videos total for classes, and is now deeply engaged in recording content at a special university studio. As of June 2023, 540 videos in six courses are complete. We plan to have diverse educators rich in variety take up the teaching mantle to also provide seminar style classes as well. Additionally, the learning app "ZEN Study" will allow a unified learning platform from N Middle School to N&S High and ZEN University levels. This makes it a tool with a high amount of freedom in learning goals, with something for middle school and high school students who want to try learning content at a university level as well as university students who want to review educational content in the high school range.
Additionally, the university will hold an interview lecture in collaboration with "Genron Café" under Professor Hiroki Azuma. This is an opportunity to broaden horizons through dialogues with many different experts. And through the exchange of cutting-edge knowledge that transcends the boundaries of individual fields, students will be able to deepen their own thoughts and values.
The total number of videos is slated to be up to 12,150 videos.*Each course is slated to contain 90 videos. Additionally, on demand classes are being produced, and the number of videos may change.
We will release details as they are available on this website moving forward, so don't forget to come back for more information.