For almost three years, large fences covered the construction site for a new building in the Korea University (KU) campus. The special roads made for excavators and cranes during the construction process forced students to take a detour, which raised numerous complaints on the KU campus. At last, the building covered in veil for so long is now open for all students. The SK Future Hall has completed its construction, signifying the opening of an innovative building for integrated learning within the KU campus.
SK Future Hall is the newly established building on the KU Liberal Arts and Humanities Campus, located between the Student Union Building and Central Plaza. The initial plan of completion by December, 2018 was prolonged to September, 2019 due to construction delays. During the settingup process, not only the building but also new roads were established. This effectively connects the surrounding areas and existing buildings such as the International Studies Hall, College of Liberal Arts, and Central Plaza.
Intersecting Point of Tradition and Future
SK Future Hall is known for integrating both traditional and futuristic features in its architecture. The exterior is in gothic style embracing the Grand Auditorium, which represents the traditional aspect of the building. When designing the building, KU stated that such historic architectural style signifies the heritage of democratic education of KU. Moreover, the classic exterior of SK Future Hall indeed radiates a majestic aura, also forming great harmony with other buildings in the campus.
In contrast to the outer appearance of the building, the interior is filled with modern educational spaces including seminar rooms, agoras, and creative laboratories equipped with computer technologies. The incorporation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the building allows students to easily experience specialized technology during their studies. As such, the harmony of traditional and modern features in SK Future Hall provides an aesthetic view and endless inspiration for KU students.
Finding the True Purpose of Education
Many answers exist when the question about the purpose of education is asked. To such question, KU answers that education should be achieved with discussion, original work, and critical thinking. KU has emphasized its educational goal throughout the years, which is “To foster creative future talents that will change the world.” By stressing the importance of self-directed creative learning, KU has eschewed educating students by spoon-feeding them knowledge. Rather, KU’s education endeavors to lead the students to find answers themselves by interacting in active discussions.
SK Future Hall fully reflects the educational ideals of KU by providing spaces for students to discuss and learn on their own. The building is mainly divided into two purposes: cooperative learning and individual studying. The former can be achieved through the 111 seminar rooms and agoras which facilitate open discussion and communication. By reviving the agora, the well-known traditional hub for learning, a large number of students are able to gather and share their ideas on different matters. The latter focuses on providing spaces for students to be immersed in their studies. It provides 111 individual studying areas that allow students to concentrate and proceed with an intensified self-learning experience. The number of seminar rooms and individual studying areas were particularly chosen to celebrate the 111th anniversary of KU.
▲ The inner structure of SK Future Hall. Provided by Korea University
Students in SK Future Hall
As SK Future Hall puts a strong emphasis on discussion, KU stated that courses with Flipped Class (FC) format will primarily take place at the building. FC format courses approach education in an unconventional way, where self-learning is most prioritized. The traditional roles of professor and students are reversed, where professors take a major role in delivering information, while students are encouraged to communicate with each other in order to discover new information and ideas in depth.
Currently, one of the most well-known courses following the FC format in KU is Liberty Justice Truth, which is a mandatory course for freshman. The lecture portion of the course is handled online, while debate and discussion take place offline. Both off and online classes are aimed to strengthen students’ thinking based on the knowledge acquired from the lecture. The SK Future Hall is intended to take part in supporting the course, the discussion session in particular.
Unlike the current surroundings, the previous rooms used for discussion sessions were constantly criticized for not being appropriate. Since the rooms were suitable for the traditional education system of one-way teaching, most of the classrooms had fixed chairs and tables all facing the front of the classroom. On the other hand, the seminar rooms of SK Future Hall fully support active communication between students, with grouped tables and chairs allowing students to see each other face to face. In addition, every table is equipped with computer technology which connects to the Internet, allowing students to acquire external information and apply it to the questions raised during the class.
Other than FC courses, SK Future Hall will provide the appropriate space for team projects and study groups. Previously, many students had difficulties in finding areas to meet for such purposes. Group study rooms situated in KU libraries were at most times full, with high competition to reserve the rooms. However, the new building will now allow students to freely get together with its 111 spacious seminar rooms. Likewise, the SK Future Hall will be the next platform for students to enhance their learning experience to its fullest level.
The new change in the campus will now bring about a change in the everyday life of KU students. SK Future Hall fully aligns with the educational philosophy of KU, and it will be a stepping stone to foster students capable of solving problems from diverse approaches. From cooperative to intensive learning, the building provides a comfortable environment for KU students to devote themselves to their studies. Despite the long construction period, the positive impact it generates for the campus will last longer and stronger. As a new chapter of KU’s future education, SK Future Hall will be an important symbol of innovative education in the KU campus.