2016 Transdisciplinary studies 8:Consensus Building

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Humanities and social science courses
Inohara Takehiro  Kuwako Toshio  Kaneko Hironao  Sakano Tatsurou  Nishikizawa Shigeo  Takada Tomoki  Toyoda Mitsuyo 
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Course description and aims

This course is designed and delivered to cultivate the following abilities, attributes, and perspectives which are appropriate and required for those students who study at one of the top leading comprehensive universities of science and technology in Japan.
By the completion of this course, the students will have
1) the ability to recognize and explain the nature and broadening scope of certain fields and/or disciplines in science and engineering,
2) the ability to examine the ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications/Influences) of those fields and/or disciplines and what role they should play in society and for society,
3) the attitude to seek the broad and transdisciplinary perspectives on science and engineering, and
4) the ability to develop an attitude to examine one's own field of study with a multi-dimensional framework.

This course is designed, developed, and offered jointly by the respective School and the Institute for Liberal Arts.

The theme of this course is “Consensus Building.” This course deals with various topics and knowledge on consensus building through lectures. Specifically, this course takes up: “consensus building in nature restoration project,” “participatory approach and consensus building,” “agreement and legal effect,” “education and the development of public engagement,” “practice of social experiment of “Deliberative Poll”,” and “project management of social consensus building.”

This course aims to cultivate the students’ abilities to understand the knowledge structure on consensus building and to convey them to others concisely.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1) State the definitions of “consensus” and “consensus building;” and
2) Explain to others the knowledge structure on consensus building by using the concepts such as consensus building, social consensus building, nature restoration project, public participation and public engagement, legal effect, education, “Deliberative Poll,” project management.


consensus building, social consensus building, nature restoration project, public participation and public engagement, legal effect, education, “Deliberative Poll,” project management

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

As with all the other courses in this category (400 Transdisciplinary Course), this course is offered in the "Active Learning" mode which requires students to take an active role in their own learning. Therefore, it is required to submit a summary report at the end of each session. (In case you are not able to attend a class, you should inform the instructor of your reason for absence in advance.) Class attendance is required and taken into account for grades.

One class deals with one topic. Each topic is lectured by an expert of the topic. At the end of the class, each student writes and submits a “summary report” on what he/she learned through the lecture.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Guidance and introduction State the definitions of “consensus” and “consensus building.”
Class 2 Consensus building in Nature Restoration Project: We discuss about a theory and method of consensus building management based on activities on Sado Island, Japan. Understand that one of the most important issues regarding nature restoration project in Japan is how to involve in the project various stakeholders as local residents, NPOs, governmental officials and experts.
Class 3 Participatory Approach and Consensus Building: The rationale, methods (document, meeting and internet based ways) and challenges of public participation will be explained from the point of view of the consensus building by looking into some cases and environmental practices. Understand that public participation is required for the environmental planning and policy making process in which multi-stakeholders should be involved.
Class 4 Agreement and legal effect: Pick up the process of contracting as the unit of consensus building. Understand the notion of agreement concerning to the law.
Class 5 Education and the Development of Public Engagement: How can education contribute to the development to public engagement? On the basis of case studies of American and Japanese school education, students discuss and deepen their understanding of the maturity of public engagement from the perspective of human development. Read “Convention of the Rights of the Child” proposed by UNICEF and consider the meanings and challenges of this convention from the perspectives of “consensus building” and “human development.”
Class 6 Practice of Social Experiment of “Deliberative Poll”: Based on the design principles and the examples of practices of “Deliberative Poll,” we see that deliberation by randomly sampled citizen is an effective way to overcome the trade-off problem between the number of participants and the quality of their deliberation, and a key factor to realize deliberative democracy. Understand the design principles and the properties of “Deliberative Poll.”
Class 7 Project management of social consensus building: In this class, we regard “consensus building” as “a process to dig up the underlying value of each opinion in acknowledgement of the existence of diverse opinions, and to share the information, and to create the solution.” The process of social consensus building needs to be managed as a project. We discuss about a method to manage the design, operation, and proceeding of the process, and also how to deal with the risk in consensus building. Designing project of social consensus building / Reference: “Gouikeiseigaku” (Keisoshobou) Chapter 9
Class 8 Review Explain the outline of the knowledge structure on consensus building to others.


“Consensus Building,” (Keiso-syobo, 2011, ISBN-13: 978-4326301966)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Course materials are posted on OCW-i and/or provided during the classes.

Assessment criteria and methods

Assessment will be based on “summary reports” written during each class (40%) and two reports at the end of the course (30% each; total 60%).

For the credits of this course, as with all the other courses in this category (400 Transdisciplinary Course), students have to submit an original paper which addresses "the nature and scope" of the given field/discipline and its "social role." An important part of assessment is made on the quality of the paper. Details of the requirements of the paper will be explained in the first class meeting.

Related courses

  • SHS.P441 : Graduate Lecture in Politics, Law and Administration S1A
  • SHS.P442 : Graduate Lecture in Politics, Law and Administration S1B
  • SHS.P443 : Graduate Lecture in Politics, Law and Administration F1A
  • SHS.P444 : Graduate Lecture in Politics, Law and Administration F1B
  • SHS.P461 : Graduate Methodologies in Politics, Law and Administration S1
  • SHS.P462 : Graduate Methodologies in Politics, Law and Administration F1

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Prospective students should have interests in consensus building.

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

Takehiro Inohara, inohara.t.aa[at]m.titech.ac.jp

Office hours

Instructor’s office: Rm. 813, 8 Fl., West Bldg. 9. Contact by e-mail in advance to schedule an appointment.

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