During course registration, Sookmyungians received an interesting text message regarding class guidelines and an interdisciplinary program being offered this second semester of the school year by PRIME. Human and robot coexistence, three-dimensional modeling, virtual reality (VR) contents, and Fourth Industrial Revolution are commonly heard key generational terms today. In the first semester, the topic of debate for the annual Sookmyung Debate Contest was “Societies of the Forth Industrial Revolution era, GiG economy should be actively accepted”. Long before the Korean presidential election, the idea of who would make the best president for the 4th Industrial Revolution era was of constant discussion. How has the 4th Industrial Revolution period affected Sookmyungians’ lives?
Fourth Industrial Revolution, For What?
What is this Fourth Industrial Revolution? Despite the frequent referral to the term, very little is really known about it. It represents high technological information communication in an economicbased society united by the desire for innovative change. There is a trend to combine information technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing, Big Data, 3D printing, Robotics Engineering, and Nanotechnology with industry and service. It is considered the next step after the Third Industrial Revolution, which centered around computers and the internet. The Fourth Industrial Revolution advances forward with hyperconnectivity and superintelligence to widen scope and increase velocity. This industrial change affects life and all members of society. As, the impact of the 4th revolution is so great, that President Moon has established ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution Committee’ and its work and policy ideas are expected to launch next year September. The attention to this revolution is not confined to governments, universities are also following its impact closely. According to the academic thesis site Dbpia, among the most followed 50 theses papers of the first half of this year, 26 deal with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The top read paper is also on the topic of Fourth Industrial Revolution.1) In other words, the 4th Industrial Revolution is hot topic these days.
Sookmyung Women’s University has also joined the trend. One example is the school’s offering of the ‘Creative Contents and Technology’. The course was newly introduced this school year. The short course description details the purpose of the course clearly. The course description reads: ‘facing the Fourth Industrial Revolution age, universities and other higher education institutions are training creative and collaborative talented people from non-engineering majors, especially students majoring in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences to ensure future career success.’ Universities and students are concerned about the revolution. Society has already started on its path of change, so universities are training students for that new road, and students are eager to start down the path as well. What exactly is the university offering Sookmyungians in terms of this training?
Fourth Industrial Revolution on Campus
The easiest way for Sookmyungians to learn more about the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to take a course on it. A query on the keywords 4th Industrial Revolution on the school website will result in 6 classes being displayed. For instance, the course ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution and Law’ first opened the first semester of this school year. It is registered under general electives, but it was designed by two professors from the college of law. The course reached its seating maximum of 61 pupils last semester. This semester, the course ‘An introduction to the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is being offered. Sookmyung Women’s University also has a variety of courses it recommends students apply for such as “Let’s be a SMAKER”. SMAKER means Sookmyung maker. The idea for the class comes from the notion that ‘in the Fourth Industrial Revolution age, everyone can “make” something with an idea.’ Besides this course, the university recommends students take course such as Capstone design courses, career linked courses, and PRIME tech school courses. Capstone design gives students the opportunity to be creative and experience all aspects of a business project from planning to prototype development. Through such courses, students learn and become familiar with the 4th revolution.
There are a number of events on campus that also give students others chances to learn and prepare for the revolution. Sookmyung Women’s University often holds briefing sessions, workshops, contests, and seminars. For example, just recently on July 11, 2017 the Career Development Center hosted a briefing session discussing the training of highly qualified persons who would lead the 4th Industrial Revolution. That same month, the Entrepreneurship Center recruited participants for its ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution makers workshop’. The workshop included special lectures by professionals, and students were asked to participate in a group project on the workshop’s theme. Students from 9 different universities, including Sookmyung Women’s University, such as Seoul National University, KAIST, and POSTECH participated. Events such as those detailed guide students interested in the revolution to apply their knowledge and newly learnt information in both individual and group projects.
In addition to attending events, students should drop by facilities on campus that cater to the revolution to know more firsthand. A great place to start is the 3D prototype lab in the Students Union Building 202. Last year, the lab held a special activity in which students were given the change to experience VR and 3D printing. This July the university established a residential engineering experience program for first year students in basic engineering. Participants were required to develop a program through VR toll, because the opportunity to use 3D printers and VR equipment is rare, the school gives students the chance.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Generation
Sookmyung Women’s University is flowing with waves of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; however, how much of this has hit students. Based on a survey of 84 Sookmyung Women’s University students only 13% had good working knowledge of the 4th Industrial Revolution. 49% had heard of it, but were unclear what it details, and 37% said they know little or nothing. These findings suggest that while most students do not know much about the 4th Industrial Revolution, there are a few that do have knowledge of it. It could be said that more is needed to enlighten students on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The survey also asked about the level of participation in and satisfaction with the various school activities related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution at Sookmyung Women’s University. Of the 84 respondents, only 9% said they had ever enrolled in a course about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Participation percentage in events and seminars was even lower at 6%. In particular, almost all respondents had not experienced 3D printing in the 3D prototype lab (95%). Of the respondents who had 3D prototype lab experience, only 3% said they would continue to use the facilities. In terms of satisfaction, 65% of students who experienced the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Sookmyung Women’s University had positive comments. However, there still remain 35% of students who are unsatisfied. That is, the wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution at Sookmyung Women’s University has not yet struck students.
Sookmyungians have yet to feel the effect of the 4th Industrial Revolution for various reasons. First, 63% Sookmungians on ‘Active Promotion’. Despite the school’s initiative to create more activities and promote them, students are relatively unaware of them and as such do not participate. The lack of specific promotion is on the basis of the reasons for the problem. ‘Additions of related programs’, ‘Expansion of budget support’ and ‘Expansion of relevant facilities’ were followed as a matter of fact. Improvement to the promotion strategies of activities is currently being modified. These new ways will hopefully reduce dissatisfaction and concerns that the range of topic choice is too narrow and that the programmes are too short-lived. Sookmyung Women’s University needs to think about long-term education and training that will guarantee graduates’ ability to evolve to match the Fourth Industrial Revolution rather than focus only on short-term onedimensional learning. Moreover, the university should focus on getting students to knowledgeable on ways to utilize own major in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Direction
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has spread itself over Liberal Arts, Natural Sciences, Fine Arts, Music and Physical education and there is no sign it will slow. With the expansion of future growth engines in the Fourth Industrial Revolution supported by Moon’s administration, the nation looks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution wide-eyed. About this social trend, Sookmyung Women’s University is also making strenuous efforts to deal with related content, education, and publicity. However, it appears that the school has come short in its endeavour. Therefore, Sookmyung Women’s University must look to students who are the actual beneficiaries of the program to realize a future together. Above all, it is important to focus on endorsing the importance of being fully informed about the Fourth Industrial Revolution wave so that students can understand the current of the times.
1) Lee Jae, “Most Common Thesis Field the First Half of the Year ‘Forth Industrial Revolution’”, Daily UNN, July 30, 2017