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Alternative University of the Future, Minerva School

 In the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the cry of 'Now education must change' is rising. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a revolution that requires major changes in the traditional university hall or university system. Accordingly, Minerva School is a university that implemented a new education system. Let's see why Minerva School is now emerging as an alternative future university. And let's see what other universities are doing with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Moreover, we will look at the limitation that prevent educational systems such as Minerva school from being fully implemented in domestic universities.

 

What is Minerva School?

   Minerva School, founded by US venture capitalist Ben Nelson, was established in 2014 as an educational institution emerging as an alternative to the campus-less university. Minerva school does not have a fixed admissions capacity, which is to say that if applicants are eligible, the school can accept all its applicants. The selection process does not use traditional test scores such as the SAT to select students. Instead, students are selected for their own entrance exams called a “challenge.” The details are not disclosed due to security issues, but they are quite creative tests. The focus is only on validating student competence. The biggest feature of Minerva School is that there is no campus but dormitories have been established in seven cities around the world. The seven cities are San Francisco (United States), Berlin (Germany), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Seoul (Korea), Hyderabad (India), London (United Kingdom), and Taipei (Taiwan).
Students stay in the San Francisco dormitories in the first grade and stay in dormitories around the world in grades two through four for three to six months each to learn local culture and industry. The annual tuition fee is US $29,000, which is about one-third of the price of a private university in the United States. It is possible to run the university with relatively low tuition fees because all investments go to education because they did not buy real estate or build buildings on a large campus like other universities.

Course system
  What is unique about the course system is that all first graders take a common course. This is intended to allow everyone to have experiences, including those who have not yet decided on a major, as well as  to adapt the students to Minerva's academic system while they are still in first grade. At the end of the first year, students should choose their desired majors. Then, in the second year, students go through a “concentration” course where they concentrate on their chosen major. In the third grade, students complete the advanced course, and 4th grade is mainly focused on projects rather than classes. The number of classes is lower than that of most universities, and it is operated as a practical class. Classes are taught not on professors' interests, but by the demands of the changing times. All major courses are convergence majors which is necessary for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For example, a philosophy student will complete a coding class.

Status of Minerva School
  The competition level of Minerva school is very high. In 2018, last year, more than 200 freshmen were selected from 23,000 applicants from 70 countries. The percentage of students passing this university is very low, only 0.86%. According to the Financial Times, Minerva School has a lower pass rates than Harvard (5.2%), Yale (6.3%) and Stanford University (4.7%). Minerva School is considered the most difficult university in the world. 29% of all students are Asian, including 10 Korean students. In one case, Kim Kang-san (22), a third-year Minerva School student from Korea's National History Center, passed the prestigious Cambridge University, Imperial College London, and UC Berkeley in the United States, but chose Minerva School. He said, “Existing colleges teach the knowledge and theories that others have studied. However, Minerva gives students the ability to create their own knowledge and theories. ”

 

Minerva School, why is it rising?

Online Classes That Make Active Engagement Possible

  Classes are only in small online seminars with less than 20 students. As a result, students from all over the world go online anywhere at any given time without having to gather in one place. Online classes do not offer unilateral online or recorded lectures, as is often the case with cyber ​​universities. They value active learning as much as possible to get the most out of their students and to develop the problem-solving skills they will need in the real world. The class is conducted in a reverse learning format, known as 'flip learning', where students first read related materials before class and then discuss in class. Instructor announce the subject of discussion in online lecture, all students chooses their own positions and present. The online lecture platform 'Forum' developed by Minerva School can identify students who are left out of class through various functions, such as the software that automatically distinguishes students who speak a lot from students who speak less. They are encouraged to participate, present, and participate in class. The professor immediately gathers feedback from the students. Additional questions are asked of students who are checked in red due to their low presentation level. All classes are recorded so that the professor can replay the video after class and give detailed feedback.

Practical Training Course

 

  Online lessons last about three hours from Monday to Thursday. At other times, students go directly to business and social sites and apply what they have learned in class. Based on Minerva School's educational philosophy, which focuses on the whole experience rather than just the class itself, the focus is on developing the expertise needed for living and the needs of the company. Students participate in joint projects or internships with global companies, social enterprises, and public institutions each semester. 'LBA (Location Based Assignments)' is a representative field project. This is a project to which students can apply what they learn in the city where their dormitory is located. For example, Choi Dan-na, who attends Minerva School, went to a nonprofit or government agency in San Francisco to volunteer. She also had an internship at a bitcoin-related startup during her vacation. Based on what she learned in class from these experiences, she also analyzed the problems faced by the organizations. Choi said, "It's good to be able to use what I learned in class outside the classroom." A recent example of collaboration with Korean companies is SK Telecom's 5G and AI project collaboration with Minerva School. SK Telecom started five joint project with Minerva School students for three months starting on September 20, 2019. The five tasks included developing new 5G businesses and solutions for language acquisition based on 5G and AI. Students will be free to collaborate with SK Telecom's staff with on-site visits, emails, and SNS messages. The project results were announced in December 2019. Minerva student Jakub from Poland said, "I have a high interest in 5G, but I can't experience 5G in many countries," he said. "I learned about 5G at SK Telecom. "I want to be a 5G pioneer of my native Poland." SK Telecom Yoon-hyung, head of competency and culture group, said, “We are looking forward to creative 5G business ideas by combining ICT capabilities such as SK Telecom's 5G and AI and the innovative DNA of Minerva School.”
Thus, Minerva School is providing students with practical experience by connecting projects with companies.

 

Limitations of Korean Universities

  Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva School, pointed out the old education system is the biggest problem of Korean education at the 20th World Knowledge Forum held on September 27, 2019. "For what reason has the education system not changed for decades," he said. "Korea clearly knows the importance of education more than any other country, and the educational environment is excellent, but the education system is unchanged." The reason this old education system is still present is due to various regulations of the Ministry of Education.

Regulation of Admission Capacity
  Korean universities also considered introducing the Minerva School, but they are blocked by the regulation of admission. “The Minerva School does not have an entrance capacity. If there are a lot of good students, they are selected.  Our country's universities needs to get permission from the Ministry of Education to adjust the capacity because of the regulation of admissions,” said Chang-je-dong, president of East-West University. At the same time, Seoul Metropolitan universities, such as Seoul National University, were restricted from expanding their admission capacity under the Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Planning Act, which was enacted in 1982 for the purpose of suppressing overcrowding. In order to increase the capacity of a certain department, they must reduce the capacity of another department. Therefore, it is difficult to flexibly respond to increasing social demand for specific fields. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution develops, more and more applicants intend to major in computer science. However, the number of students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University is still at 55, just 15 years after 2005. On the other hand, the number of undergraduate departments in computer science at Stanford University has increased fivefold over the last decade to 750 students as of October 2019. Currently, Computer Science is investing intensively, accounting for about half of the Stanford University College of Engineering. Semiconductor companies such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are complaining about the lack of advanced manpower, but there is no way to expand the number of related departments at domestic universities.

Limitations of Online Courses
  The universities in Korea still have limitations to introducing the 100% online discussion classes of Minerva School. Minerva school's professors give only a brief description of the class, intervening only enough to question poorly participating students. Students watch a video or read a thesis on the topic before class, and students in the class participate in the discussion. However, the online lectures in Korea do not deviate from professor-centered information delivery. Student participation in online lectures is nothing more than attending a lecture, or writing an online discussion. Even this is not done properly. There is no input of attendance for lectures or sharing the contents of discussions with students. In addition, Korean universities are not able to replace all of the offline lectures with online lectures because online lectures do not exceed 20% of the total lectures. At the 115th Korea Leaders Forum held by the Korea Institute of Engineering on September 17, 2019, presidents of the universities insisted that the government should improve the regulation of online lectures. Baek Woong-gi, the president of Sangmyung University said “the 20% regulation makes it difficult for universities to try creative and diverse education online." Mr. Baek said, "Minerva School has no admissions capacity, classrooms, and libraries, and classes are the representative examples of educational innovations held in debate." "On the other hand, domestic universities must report to the Ministry of Education what percentage of online lectures make up all of their classes," he said. According to this, it has been argued that Korean universities should allow 100% online courses.

 

Changing universities

  Many other universities which are interested in following the Minerva School's education system that enables the development of creative talents in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, are also making changes.

Inha University-Opening Lectures with the Community

 


  Inha University has opened a lecture in connection with the community, which is not a simple lecture, but a class in which students participate. 'Community and Design' classes were opened in 2013 and are held every semester. In 2019, the classes were conducted in connection with Incheon Transportation Corporation. The class consists of looking at historical facts related to the process of forming a city along the Incheon subway line under the theme of 'Incheon transportation.' Based on the activity, students will finish the class by producing and displaying a work that visualizes the traffic in Incheon. According to a lecture evaluation on 'community and design' subjects at the Inha University community 'Every Time', an anonymous student who attended the first semester of 2019 said, "Investigating and visiting the site, I worked on the poster design of the problem or topic. The class itself was very good. ” In another case, Inha University held the 'Incheon Regional Innovation Project-Youth Hope Problem Solving Contest' in November 2019 where students and companies in Incheon worked together to find ways to solve corporate problems. It was a time for companies to get fresh ideas from students, and for students to identify in advance the problems they would face in the world of real work. Jung Si-eun and Cho Seol-ki, who received the grand prize at the competition, established a marketing strategy for 'Area', a health supplement of the company called Sehabio. In an interview with the Gyeongin Ilbo after the contest, they said, "We proposed marketing using YouTube and Instagram to expand the Area consumer group, mainly in their 40s and 50s, to people in their 30s." "We created a marketing strategy for dietary supplements based on survey results, and the judges seemed to think this was very impressive," they said. Cho Seol-ki said, "This competition helped us find a good company with a high level of competitiveness in Incheon." "I hope there will be more of these events linking business with students," he added.

 

Sahmyook University-Su Innovation Academy

 Sahmyook University is dreaming of taking a leap forward with both 'Innovation Innovation' and 'Activation of Entrepreneurship' to foster talents who will lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In addition, the Center for Entrepreneurship fosters creative and convergent human resources by establishing related programs.
<MVP Instructional Innovation Law>
   SamYook University has implemented the ``MVP Innovation Teaching Method'' developed in September 2018 to maximize the capacity of professors and students and to improve the quality of education. This innovative teaching method has four steps: flipped learning, learner-centered learning, counseling, and portfolio submission. The professor will act as a guide rather than just teaching, so that students can be motivated to participate in active learning. During the course, individual and group counseling is provided between professors and students, which is intended to build a partnership system with professors and to increase interaction. In addition, after the semester lectures, professors must complete the Teaching Portfolio. This will contain the collected and organized class materials, as well as reflections on the lessons taken so that they can be improved in the future. Song Chang-ho, professor of physical therapy at Sahmyook University, applied the MVP innovation teaching method to the 'Neuroscience' course in the second semester of 2018. “I was able to see an amazing process of the change to a learner-centered course as I progressed, and the class was more passionate than ever.” “The average score of students improved from 80 to 60 points after applying the MVP innovation teaching method. It's done. ”

< Startup Specialized Program>

 


  In addition, Samyuk University has been operating an entrepreneurship specialized program that has been differentiated from general entrepreneurship education since 2018. The key is to combine the latest fourth industrial revolution trends such as social, mobile, and big data with existing entrepreneurship education that only teaches simple theory. Students will be able to reflect on the latest trends using big data analysis when writing their start-up plans, or upgrade their presentation visualization capabilities by intensive mentoring support with experts in their fields. In addition, through field trips to specialized institutions, students will helped to expand their start-up view of the fourth industrial revolution era. One of these programs is the Global Entrepreneurship Program Global-Up, which has been in operation since 2016. In order to cultivate global entrepreneurship, students are selected every summer and sent to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Taiwan, and other places. During the summer vacation of 2019, 15 students visited the establishment-related institutions, companies and markets of Osaka, Japan for 4 nights and 5 days. They visited local entrepreneurs and companies such as the Osaka Entrepreneur Museum, Social Business Entrepreneurship Support Center, and Ritsumeikan University to identify and analyze the latest startup trends. Heelim Park, a graduate of business administration of Sahmyook University, who participated in the start-up travel friends course, is now a fresh starter and is about to graduate. He is currently a representative of a startup called Tagon, that hosts monthly performances to present Korean indie music overseas, and produces and distributes video contents related to popular music. He said, “I gained a variety of experiences by participating in the entrepreneurship travel course, and I am continuously taking entrepreneurship education.”

 

Arizona State University, USA
  Arizona State University (ASU), which abolished 69 departments and changed all lectures to projects in the ten years since 2008, is drawing attention as being educational innovative. Sixteen colleges were established by consolidating departments to educate students to develop the ability to find solutions to problems in real life. For example, by integrating existing departments such as astronomy, earth science, and astrophysics, the earth and space exploration colleges were created to cultivate specialists in the age of space exploration. The university has also turned into a project-based class where students can actively participate. ProMode (Project Based Module Learning), for example, is a one-year project-based class for first-year engineering students to find and solve problems in the world. In class, student will be the main characters, participating in lecture and projects by team, and professors only act as coaches. Philip Miller, professor of engineering at ASU, said, “What matters more than success in this project is to use what you learn to work on this project, to learn and follow the engineering design process, and to solve complex problems. I provide hints for teams and students to solve problems. This allows students to reach their fullest potential. ” In addition, the university applies 'adaptive learning' to lectures. Adapted Learning refers to an online education system that collects and analyzes individual learner's learning data to support optimal personalized content according to the current level of understanding and their learning style. For example, you can suggest different levels of instruction according to students' understanding. In addition, a comprehensive academic progress management system enables a flexible academic system. Mathematics was adapted to students by introducing an adaptive learning platform. The percentage of students who passed without overcoming this increased from 66% before the introduction to 75% and the withdrawal rate dropped from 13.6% to 5.6%.

 

  So far, we have explored the reasons why Minerva School has emerged as an alternative to universities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This could be largely divided into online classes that enabled “active participation” and linking projects with companies and communities. Other universities around the world are showing interest with Minerva School's new education system and are trying to adjust university education in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, due to the regulation of the Ministry of Education in Korea, innovative changes of universities are nearly impossible. It is hoped that Korean universities will change their old-school education through deregulation as soon as possible.

 

장세연  won_1022@naver.com

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