8 Week Distance Format

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Martin, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. Martin

    Martin
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    Liberty University has announced that they are transforming their distance learning program. By 2006 they will have transfered all of their classes from a 16 week format to a 8 week format. Also the classes will be online and will now feature weekly assignments and due dates. Tests will also be online.

    At current time distance courses have a deadline by which all assignments/tests must be turned in (16 weeks after start date). Tests, at this time, are either online or proctored.

    Liberty tested this new set up on their distance MBA program. It has worked very well and students have loved it.

    Liberty states:
    "Last year our Masters in Business Administration (MBA) switched from the 16-week to this same 8-week format. The new structure has enhanced our students' abilities to be successful in their academic pursuits, while engaging in a tight distance community. Our MBA students have experienced this cutting edge format and have seen the social and academic benefits that the 8-week format provides."

    Personally I think this is a great idea. One of the weaknesses of the current set up is down time. For me 16 weeks is too long however it is needed if proctored tests are involved. Why? Sometimes it takes a week or so to get an appointment. My proctor has been great. In fact the other day I found out that she has kept a copy of everything I have done. I thought that was amazing. Anyway if the classes and tests are online, and if these included weekly due dates, I think this will be a great help to future students. Why? Because it will keep them busy and motivated. In the current set up there is too much time and that can allow students to drift and end up droping out. In the new set up students will be constantly working and meeting deadlines. Also the new set up should allow students to move through the program at a quicker pace. That is always a good thing.

    Just a FYI

    Martin.
     
  2. untangled

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    That seems to be a great idea. They do need more classes online. When I took a few classes they were mostly by correspondence, not online. I'll be watching to see what happens with that. An eight week format could help by allowing a student to focus on one class at a time.
     
  3. Martin

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    ==The online format with Liberty is good. They don't have all of their classes online but they are working hard at it. Another thing they are doing is updating the lectures. Most of the lectures I have had were recorded in the 90's. Thats fine but the newer lectures are better (dvd, better studio, live class, etc). I also like the online tests better than the proctored tests. I would have thought, however, that online tests would have caused the test grades to go up (both essay and mc/tf). However it seems like the opposite has happened. The test grades seem to be lower. I guess people think because it is online it will be easier and they can use their notes. WRONG. The time limit will not allow you to use your notes, and the questions can be just as hard. Anyway I have really enjoyed my time at Liberty. I highly recommend their dlp program (and campus program) to anyone looking to further their education. I just wish they would strengthen their languages (via distance). They say they are working on that but don't expect anything in the next year or so. I have tried to pull at least two classes at a time at Liberty. This has worked very well for me. The eight week format would not allow more than one course at a time but it would still allow the student to get the degree in a reasonable amount of time (w/out having to take two or three courses at once...and via distance that can be a challange).

    In Christ,
    Martin.
     
  4. Humblesmith

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    I can see where there would be advantages and disadvantages.....
    I personally would think 8 weeks would be easier to plan my life around, and provide more manageable deadlines.
    However, an MBA is not the same as a theology degree. By nature, MBA's are business-driven, with bottom-lines and monthly statements, etc. I would guess that an MBA program would be easier to divide the courses in half than at a seminary. My current distance seminary courses have a significant level of reading and writing, plus the expectation to tie all the concepts together. It would be do-able, and would be easier on my schedule, but my guess it would be less efficient for the students to actually grasp the more complex material. Plus the registrar would have twice the number of courses to track.
     
  5. UZThD

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    8 wks seems very short--course, I'm very slow [​IMG]
     
  6. RandR

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    I'll be curious to see if they do that with LBTS as well. Seem to recall that one of Caner's goals was ATS acccreditation. My hunch is that the correspondence courses generate a whole lot more revenue than ATS accreditation would replace in on-campus students. That's one goal of the new Dean's that likley won't come to pass any time soon.
     
  7. Broadus

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    NOBTS used to be on an 8-week format for their on campus studies. I took some extension courses in GA using this format in the mid-90s. It enables (encourages? forces?) one to be focused upon the studies at hand. I think this would be especially beneficial for distance learning, with fewer courses in a more concentrated time frame.

    Blessings,
    Bill
     
  8. gopchad

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    I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Biblical Studies program at Piedmont Baptist College in Winston-Salem. It is going to be available completely online starting in the fall. It is a 7 week format. Lots of reading, lots of writing, but it is not as bad as it sounds. You are very busy for 7 weeks, then you have a little down time before the next module starts. I am going to combine it with some on campus 1-week modules to finish it. They have talked about requiring some on-campus work, which I think is probably a wise move.

    Chad
     
  9. Martin

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    I doubt Liberty will ever gain ATS accreditation as long as ATS remains outdated on its view of online/external programs. Liberty's dlp is one of its fastest growing programs and, thanks to the outdated thinking by many in the theological studies area, Liberty is one of the few accredited schools offering degrees via online/distance (and not just part of a degree). I doubt Caner is/was aware of these issues.

    Martin.
     
  10. PatsFan

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    That's an interesting format. My DMin program gives us 16 weeks to do papers, etc. after a two week module. I like the time, but I wonder if I might procrastinate less with just 8 weeks. I like the idea too.
     
  11. RandR

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    Martin,
    I'm sure Caner was/is quite aware of ATS' standards. What he might not have been aware of is how many of LBTS' students are distance and the revenue they generate. So yes, you're right, ATS is not likely in LUs future.

    But please lighten up when it comes to the whole ATS/distance ed. issue. The constant railing agaisnt ATS is no different than the way some others mock distance/online ed. There's a place for both.
     
  12. Martin

    Martin
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    You said:
    But please lighten up when it comes to the whole ATS/distance ed. issue. The constant railing agaisnt ATS is no different than the way some others mock distance/online ed. There's a place for both.

    ==Yes, there is a place for both. However ATS is a problem. I stand by what I have said about them. However I will say this: ATS will change. They already allow about 30 hours via distance/online. In time ATS will realize the need and, because they are a business, they will go with the need. The schools they accredit will do the same. I predict that within 10 years ATS will allow degrees online/distance (like RA agencies already do). Just a prediction.

    Martin.
     

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