Why the President of Kyoto University Decided To Teach an edX MOOC

What are the roots of human culture? Why do we form social groups? What can we learn about our origins from our primate cousins?

Join Juichi Yamagiwa, President of Kyoto University in Evolution of Human Sociality: A Quest for the Origin of Our Social Behavior starting on October 29. This first-ever course, taught by a sitting president from one of edX’s member universities, explores the roots of human society through the lens of primates.

Why did President Yamagiwa decide to develop his own MOOC?

President Yamagiwa wanted to broaden access to high-quality education and share current research with learners from around the world. He also wanted to share his knowledge and passion for the study of Primatology with the edX global learning community.

Additionally, pursuing teaching is extremely important to President Yamagiwa. Before his presidential election at Kyoto University, many of his primatology students were saddened to learn that he may no longer teach and conduct research in the field when he was President. A true contributor to international primatology education and research, he is now able to teach thousands of learners from every country with his edX MOOC.

President Yamagiwa has focused much of his research in the field of gorillas.

As part of his indepth research, President Yamagiwa frequently visited Africa to observe gorillas, their lives and behaviors, and even slept close to them when needed. It is a common Japanese field method to go back and forth between theorization and direct observation. Kyoto University is renowned for its work in primatology studies due to field work like President Yamagiwa’s and his colleagues.

Evolution of the Human Sociality on edX

This course focuses on primatology studies related to gorillas and other primates based on a new academic discipline. It examines the origins of humans through primitive phenomena such as living habits, food, sex, and violence.

At the opening speech of Kyoto University’s annual All Campus Education Meeting this year, President Yamagiwa announced his first MOOC to senior administrators and faculty staff members. He explained that MOOCs and opening up educational access are an educational priority at Kyoto University and will help drive efforts now and in the future.

Join us on our journey of KyotoUx Evolution of the Human Sociality and let us explore the quest together!

For more behind the scenes info, check out our Facebook page and watch the making of the Evolution of the Human Sociality About video below.