Friday, November 25, 2011

My performance in lecturing students

This is a long pending task I just managed to finish & put on the blog! Sorry, this entry is not about climate change but my performance in communicating the message of climate change to the graduate and post-graduate students at Nagoya University!

I have been a visiting lecturer at Nagoya University at the Nagoya University Global Environmental Leaders Program for the last two years. I was asked to teach graduate and post-graduate students on the topic of climate change and developing countries. The class consisted of mixed nationalities with most of them are from Asian and European countries. The total strength of the class was 35.

As I do with most other things I do, I requested the students to evaluate my lecture using 20 indicators (See Table below) consisting of 4 on students, 8 on the content and 8 on content delivery on 1-5 scale where 1  means bad and 5 means excellent. This evaluation was not the standard part of my TOR to the course but was done on my initiative.

Some quick observations from the evaluation:

I couldn't analyze the responses for long time. Just got some time to do it and I am surprised to see that most  students have rated my lecture on level 4 or 5 on most indicators. Below is the figure showing the results. The ones rated 3 are mostly for indicators related to the students self evaluation of their English understanding skills and prior knowledge on the subject.
  • Most indicators stayed the same in both years. However, there was an improvement in indicators of audibility and organization of the lecture delivery from the first year to the second year.
  • Most students have rated 4 or 5 on various indicators related to the lecture content and delivery.
  • Most students rated 3 or 4 for their English skills and their prior knowledge on the subject.
  • Most commented that I talk too fast and don't give time to imbibe concepts (one expression that particularly caught my attention was 'WOW he is too fast').
  • Few complained that I used too many slides with figures and I explain figures too fast.
  • The students who said the topic was new to them rated my lecture as difficult to understand.
  • The students who rated their prior knowledge on the subject as good have rated my lecture as good to excellent.
  • Very few students with excellent English skills have rated my lecture as average. Most of these students thought I should have spent more time in explaining concepts.
  • On overall, most students thought they learning was either good or excellent from the lecture. 

Figure: Rating distribution of students on various indicators of the lecture.

Table: Indicator list used for evaluation of the lecture.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fitting the Radiation Safety Piece into the Jigsaw Puzzle: Restoring Agriculture and Food Sector Aftermath the Great Tohoku Disaster

Time and Date: 1-5PM on 8th November 2011. Venue: Room #801, Kokukaikan, Tokyo
Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Hayama, Japan

For general participants: please get in touch at or call if you wish to register your attendance in this event.

The Great Tohoku Earthquake that occurred on 11th March 2011 is the most powerful earthquake in the known history of Japan. A chain of events unfolded after the earthquake that included a tsunami of historical magnitude that damaged critical infrastructure such as nuclear power plants located in Fukushima leading to release of unknown quantities of nuclear radiation into the environment. As a consequence of these series of events, lives of more than 25,000 people were lost, many went missing, and hundreds and thousands were displaced into various prefectures of Japan. Though Japan is known for its advanced earthquake and tsunami risk mitigation measures, these events have clearly overwhelmed the national and prefectural administration leading to a national emergency that is still unfolding.
Subsequently, many policy makers and disaster risk reduction specialist in Japan and abroad have been focused on how to rehabilitate the displaced people and how to reconstruct the affected areas. The national and affected prefectural governments have put in place several measures for rescue, rehabilitation, compensation, and reconstruction in the affected areas. Amidst all these discussions and developments, one aspect seemed didn’t not get much attention as much as it deserves i.e. the radiation safety aftermath of damage to nuclear power plants in Fukushima. The release of unknown quantities of radiation into environment has several implications in terms of health safety of citizens even beyond the disaster affected areas, mistrust on Japanese exports, delayed rehabilitation in areas with high radiation exposure, demand for imported food, and implications in terms of economic growth for a country whose economy primarily depends on exports.
This raises important questions that need immediate answers from the perspective of civil society and disaster risk reduction professionals: what radiation related issues are faced by the civil society, how food safety regulations in Japan consider radiation contamination, what specific limitations are posed by the radiation for speedy disaster recovery, and what it all means for the resilience of the Japanese society as a whole? These are also the questions that the civil society in Japan is interested to know answers for, as evident from several discussion boards and networks that have emerged on Internet. This informal event aims to address these questions in a greater detail with an objective of finding way forward. This initiative is funded by the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) through the project CRP2010-02CMY-Pereira.
Contact:; +81-80-5631-0541


13:00  Welcome remarks                                                         SVRK Prabhakar
13:05  Session I: Rehabilitation of food and agriculture in Japan post-Fukushima
>The impact of Fukushima event on food and agriculture and measures for it [Mr.Toshihiko TAKEMOTO, PRIMAFF
>The impact of low concentration radiation on food in Japan [Mr.Seiichi Oshita ]
>The radioactivity found under cooperative work of agriculture [Ms. Tomoko M. Nakanishi, University of Tokyo]
>Consumers’ voice and activities of Pal-System for food contaminated by radiation [Mr.Michimoto MATSUMOTO, COOP, Japan]
>People’s  voice and activities to ensure food safety from radiation [Ms.Setsuko YASUDA, Vision 21]
14:25  Session II:
 Managing radiation hazard: Information management and linking civil and nuclear administration  
>Health safety post Fukushima: Study findings from radiation doses in education institutions: [Mr.TSUZI Masayoshi]
>Information of radiation and civil society[Mr.Mikio NAKAYAMA]
>Presentations from Disaster Risk Management Professionals [Prof Hari Srinivas]
15:25  Coffee Break:  
15:40  Session III: Citizens Charter: Civil Society Perspectives  
>Citizens perspective: Antonio Portela
>Issues and experience from Network I: Pieter FRANKEN, Safecast
>Issues and experience from Network II: David Sidney Moore, Tokyo Kids and Radiation
16:40  Session IV: 
Discussion on implications of Fukushima on the resilience of Japan and policy suggestions
>Open Discussion among all participants