Fuse Rie
University of Helsinki. University instructor

What are "Japanese Studies Resources" for Finnish Students Learning Japanese?

The use of technology is often recommended to effectively promote students' learning and teachers are strongly encouraged to use it for teaching at Finnish universities. This paper focuses on the use of digital resources for learning Japanese as a foreign language as well as Japanese culture and society in the context of Finnish universities and reports the results of a pilot study on the topic. The focus of this research is students who learn Japanese at the University of Helsinki and University of Turku. A survey by questionnaire and interview was conducted in autumn 2017 at the University of Turku and in spring 2018 at the University of Helsinki. The questionnaire contained three questions about what kinds of digital resources students have used for Japanese language learning and how, and what kind of digital resources they want to use. The questionnaire did not define what digital resources are, so that the students could answer with whatever they wanted to mention.

The study presents four main results. Firstly, students tend to understand "digital resource" as mainly online applications for memorising Japanese words and letters, and online dictionaries for searching the meanings of words. Second, digital resources are purposed as supportive tools. Students use digital resources for self-practice activities and do not integrate textbook study and thesis writing into the use of digital resources. Third, students have a tendency to find digital resources through internet search engines, such as Google and not, for example, through recommended lists made by teachers. Students seemingly use digital resources randomly, or have limited knowledge of them. Lastly, students have a tendency to use resources in English rather than in the Japanese language. 

This research attempts to recognise students' understanding and use of digital resources for Japanese language learning and aims to consider what resources teachers could present to students, and how, in a classroom context. The study also reflects on why digital resources are needed for university education, particularly Japanese language learning outside of Japan.