In these unprecedented times, one might ask: How are university students studying during the pandemic? This article will explain how classes are conducted at Waseda University as of 2021 and introduce personal experiences as a Waseda student myself!

*Information on class modality introduced in this article will be subject to change depending on the pandemic situation.

A New Way of Learning

The pandemic has brought a whirlwind of changes to learning in universities across the world. Waseda University currently offers five different types of class modalities! Depending on each course, Waseda provides a mix of On-demand, Full On-demand, Real-time streaming, Hybrid, and In-person classes.

Let’s take a closer look at what each class modality is like!

Learn From the Comfort of Your Own Home: Online Classes

On-demand, Full On-demand, and Real-time streaming are three different types of online classes currently offered by Waseda University!

On-Demand vs. Full On-Demand

For On-demand classes, professors provide materials in form of videos and assignments online each week with schedule restrictions. Some courses may have on-site classes or exams depending on the course and the pandemic situation in Japan.

For Full On-demand classes, you have no restrictions on what time and day of the week you access provided resources!

Real-time Streaming

Real-time streaming is live scheduled classes. However, depending on the courses and the pandemic situation in Japan, there is also the probability of a mix of on-demand or in-person classes.

How Are Classes Conducted Online?

Waseda University offers vast materials so that you can have a rich online class experience!

Waseda Moodle is a learning management system (LMS) Waseda university uses for on-demand and real-time streaming classes. With Waseda Moodle, you can view on-demand class videos, join real-time streaming classes, submit assignments, take quizzes, and even communicate with professors using the chat messaging system!

For real-time streaming classes, some will use Waseda Moodle and Zoom simultaneously. (Modes of class instruction may differ per professor).

Hybrid Classes

Hybrid classes at Waseda University combine both online and in-person modes of instruction. So, on certain days you have face-to-face classes on campus, and on other days, you have either an online assignment or an on-demand class. However, the ratio of online and in-person classes differs with each course. (Hybrid courses does not mean you have the choice to attend either online or in-person class).

In-Person Classes

In-person classes are held on-campus so you can have live interaction with professors and classmates! For new students, in-person classes are the perfect opportunity to make friends, especially after a year in isolation!

My Personal Experience as a Waseda Student!

As a Waseda student, I experienced more than a year of taking online courses during the pandemic in another prefecture!

2020: Online Classes Begin!

From April 2020, Waseda University started offering online classes under the first COVID-19 state of emergency. Since then, I began taking online classes from my parent’s home outside of Tokyo.

In the summer of 2020, my university dorm contract ended so I decided to fully move to my parent’s home and continue online classes there (on-demand and real-time streaming) until the pandemic situation improved in Japan.


Fast forward to April 2021, Waseda University installed new air conditioning systems in buildings and convened some in-person classes. However, in my case, I chose not to move back to Tokyo as the COVID situation in Japan was still at its peak. I continued online classes, and for classes that required field research, I carried them out in my local area instead of in Tokyo.

Now in September 2021, I made the decision to take online classes again. I also took the risk of not having enough class credits because Waseda University had incorporated more in-person classes after their successful vaccination program. So, as a student living away from Tokyo, there was the possibility that I had to take a gap year if there were not enough online classes I could take!

Everyone Experiences Differently…

I know many friends who were still abroad taking online classes or gap years due to the pandemic. Other students stayed in or moved back to Tokyo to attend in-person classes. Some even decided to study abroad as exchange students this semester after receiving COVID vaccinations! In other words, learning experiences at Waseda differ with everyone!

Studying Amid Uncertainties

The class modality really depends on the state of emergencies as well as how fast the vaccines are given to students and staff of Waseda University.

Waseda University has provided different types of class modalities this past year and today, but with a lot of uncertainty. From my personal experience, at the end of the day, it was my own decision and responsibility on how I wanted to study at Waseda University during the global pandemic!