The era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has arrived. The world is being developed faster than expected and people feel the need to live in step with the changing world. In order to cope with this trend of the times, KU’s liberal arts education course has changed. The College of General Education has established a course called Arete Classic. What is the connection between reading classics and the Fourth Industrial Revolution? I asked Jeon Young-rok, a Dean of College of General Education, for an interview to hear more details.
1. How has KU's liberal arts curriculum changed in line with the new era?
We have sincerely reorganized the liberal arts curriculum in consideration of the upcoming future.
(1) The liberal arts course is required to complete more than 30% of graduation credits to enhance core competencies (with the class of ‘20).
(2) The cultural studies are divided into three types: Base(토대), Wisdom(지혜)and Hanma(한마) liberal arts.
(3) KU has designated mandatory courses to have Digital Literacy and Data Literacy as required by the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Plus, KU will increase the number of credits for SW-related subjects so that SW technology and majors can be integrated.
(4) The general selection courses will be organized into employment, start-up, qualification, and technical subjects to absorb the subjects in the existing liberal arts of vocational training and expand the subjects that help KU students develop their skills for social advancement.
2. What is the reason for the new Arete Classic this year? What is the significance of reading classics in this period of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
One of the purposes of liberal arts education is to ensure that students have a solid worldview, values, a human view, namely to have an educated view of the world. KU thought that reading is much more effective than teaching and learning, so KU decided to establish the new Arete Classic course after lots of discussions with various professors about how to teach reading.
The purpose of this course is to improve brain power(지력) of creativity by reading classics and revealing what the author is trying to say at the student level, with the aim of individual Arete. KU students will become curious about human civilization, have the ability to read and understand, and notice the need for lifelong learning.
3. What is difference between Arete Classic from the existing liberal arts courses?
In the Arete Classic, teaching professors do not summarize, organize, and explain contents of books to the KU students. It is proceeded only in reading each line of a classic chosen by the students and to understand what the author is trying to say as a collective intelligence of the discussion group. Students who take this course will read a classic at least three times. They have to read all the books within 1~2 weeks including opening of the semester and read certain amounts of books each week before participating in class discussions. Students read the book thoroughly by transcribing notes which are important or good phrases to them. This course gives KU students the experience of reading a single classic almost completely.
4. How is the Arete Classic going in KU?
This semester, eleven classics, including Plato's Symposium and Hermann Hesse's Demian were opened for two credits. The grades are given in the pass or non-pass format. We will collect the results of class operation from this semester and gather opinions of professors and students to adjust the teaching method, the appropriate number of students, the number of credits per subject, and the method of grade evaluation.
5. What do you expect from liberal arts education using Arete classic?
In the short term, the first one is to give all students a thorough experience of reading classics in terms of enhancing students' core competencies. Reading classics is the basis of reading books. Secondly, I hope that every student has the right reading skills. Having the right reading skills makes reading efficient and effective. In addition, KU students can enhance confidence in self-directed learning, necessity of lifelong learning, and lifelong learning ability.
Reading just one classic cannot give you the right view of the world, values, or human view of the world as an educated man, but it is certainly a good opportunity for students to grow into a cultural people.
*The Fourth Industrial Revolution: The next industrial revolution in which advanced information and communication technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, big data, and mobile, converge across the economy and society, resulting in innovative changes.