Learning Innovation Unit, Dublin City University

Learning Innovation Unit

Learning Innovation Fund Awards

Dr Minako O'Hagan- Manga, anime and videogames: an interdisciplinary initiative in japanese studies, multimedia and translation

Principal applicant

Dr Minako O'Hagan

School or Unit


Additional Applicants

Dr Pat Brereton, Communications, pat.brereton@DCU.ie

Carmen Mangiron, SALIS, carmen.mangiron@DCU.ie

Amount requested


Summary description

This project forms a pilot study towards developing a new interdisciplinary course on Manga, Anime and Videogames with the broad objective to teach the nature of these new digital entertainment genres. DCU is one of the few Irish third level institutions which are offering full-time Japanese programmes and is ideally positioned to develop such a course as Ireland's first in the hope to contribute towards the development of Asian Studies with a technology focus. The proposed course is unique in its nature, combining multimedia and translation in addition to Japanese studies perspectives. The course will be delivered in English without prior requirement for a knowledge of Japanese. The proposed project focuses on three aspects: needs analysis, creation of a pilot content and feedback on the pilot content in view of offering it as part of modularisation of courses in 2007/8. This project falls into the funding categories of "first year initiatives" and also "moving into student man

aged learning" by use of e-learning on Moodle.

Project URL


Strategic Objectives

6. Expansion of inter-disciplinary opportunities and new ways of learning 6.1 Greater flexibility in curriculum choice - modularisation 6.2 Inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary provision (also 1.3 Student managed learning)

Strategic Context

This is a first step towards establishing an innovative interdisciplinary course in view of the modularisation objective of the LI Strategic Plan. It will also aim at providing a student-managed environment in the provision of the module by use of Moodle. By developing a course on increasingly popular Japanese cultural forms among students irrespective of their main disciplines of study at DCU, this course will be ideally suited to the move towards modularisation and can be offered campus-wide and beyond. This initiative in turn entails an interdisciplinary collaboration between SALIS and Communications staff in terms of teaching and research with the scope to further develop it into a multidisciplinary course, for example, involving Computer Applications. As such the new perspective to be brought into these emerging study areas could contribute to a creation of new knowledge. It will contribute to the DCU's main theme of "leadership through foresight" as well as serving intensel

y student focused approach by incorporating popular genres of entertainment into education.

Implementation Plan

We will first conduct an online survey targeting DCU students in April and May to identify the potential demand for and a focus of such a course. The research team will design the survey on Moodle and research assistants will be responsible for implementation of the survey and collection of the data. This will be followed up with more targeted feedback from focus groups, taking advantage of the two DCU social club members of Anime and Videogames. Comments will also be sought from the industry representatives to include the market needs from translation and localization as well as media industries. On the basis of the outcome of these surveys we will develop a pilot course content framework on Moodle during July and September for a final feedback from the targeted group of students and the industry representatives.

A course of this nature is unprecedented and this initial attempt will be of an exploratory nature, while the currently well supported approaches such as reflective learning with the use of learning journals and project-based approach will be incorporated into the content design. It will also reflect the interdisciplinary nature of our approach to the subjects and will be developed with modularisation in mind to appeal to students from a wide range of disciplines. The difficulty will be the kind associated with any challenge in trying to break into new areas and also a smooth running of the team work of the project team, both of which we have done before and are not fazed about the prospect.


The students will benefit from being able to access an interdisciplinary module on the subjects dealing with the popular cultural forms, which was not available before at DCU. The approach we are taking in shaping the course is in large part based on a needs survey of the students and the cyclical approach of implementing user feedback in the early stage of the course design is believed to contribute towards better meeting the learner needs. As specified above, we intend to involve in the feedback loop the industry stakeholders who may be concerned with the training issues of their future recruits. Once the proposed project completes, we envisage the effort to be continued with constant refinement of the content and feedback. This project will be able to provide quantitative and qualitative data in the process of developing the new initiative using both online and offline feedback we intend to seek.

Dissemination and Sustainability

We intend to publish the outcome of the experiment through academic journals in the involved disciplines ie translation studies and media studies. Given the track record of the applicants, we do not envisage any difficulties in contributing to the dissemination of the outcome of the project

Detailed budget

Two students (one from translation and one from multimedia) who will implement the online and focus group surveys, collection of data and contribute towards the pilot content development for Moodle over the period of 24 weeks on a part-time basis between April and September: € 5,000 x 2=10,000

Development computer and software: €1,500

Materials: €350

Cost for focus groups, including industry reps: € 500

SALIS is unable to cover the whole cost, but is committed to cover €2000, thus the funding we are seeking is a total of €10,350

Total: €10,350

Other Information

The main applicant currently holds two related research projects which are funded internally (RAP Career Start) and externally (Japan Foundation - see the project site on Moodle for J-Foundation). The proposed project will be able to dovetail with these associated projects which are providing for domain knowledge acquisition by the applicant on the subject areas. The collaborating colleagues, Dr Pat Brereton provides his expertise in multimedia and film studies with his cutting-edge research on DVDs as well as teaching whereas Carmen Mangiron brings her industry experience of videogames localisation and also designing and teaching academic courses in e-learning mode.