A Brave New World is Here and Now!

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by North Carolina Tentmaker, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    I am a student at Master’s Divinity School (now Master’s International School of Divinity). My fall 2006 copy of Master’s Journey just arrived today and there is a great article in there by Steven K. Haught called, “A Brave New World is Here and Now!” I believe this link will let you read the entire article.

    http://editor.ne16.com/mdivs/MJ_first_edition_11-06.pdf

    The subject of the article is of course distance education. Let me give you some highlights:

    The battle of course goes far beyond accreditation and really applies to our model of education itself. In business and manufacturing we are constantly challenged to “break the paradigm” and “think outside the box.” Yet when it comes to education we are still locked up inside a classroom with desks and professor lecturing at the blackboard. Education based on the students personal initiative and ownership of the process, something we would praise in business, is dissed as “non-traditional” or assaulted on this very board as “questionable distance learning degrees.”
     
  2. paidagogos

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    One-sided view

    Thank you for bringing this article, which many of us would have missed, to our attention. I do, however, have some observations and criticisms of the article. Rather than spend time in a bandwidth-wasting essay, I will simply delineate some observations and criticisms in numbered format for thought and discussion.

    1. This article is basically rah-rah cheerleading for distance education where both the author and the institution have substantial vested interests. It carries the weight of an infomercial.
    2. The tone and philosophy is reflective of Trinity (Newburgh), which is in some trouble with accreditation and credibility now. Most of the administrators and folks at Masters International have had some past association with Trinity and somewhat still represent their ideas.
    3. Distance education is now facing some tough questions of performance itself. Now that the novelty has worn off, we are seeing some of the foibles of DE. Face-to-face instruction does have some benefits that cannot be conveyed through other means. These advantages or benefits vary depending on the subject matter and level. IMHO, some skills and information can be as effectively taught at a distance, much the same as one can learn from a book without a teacher, but other areas of the humanities do not carry over the subtle nuances of communication of live person-to-person discussion.
    4. The article is basically generalizations and opinions as opposed to substantive content with comparison and contrast of ideas.
    5. The article is totally prejudiced and partisan in approach. There is a complete lack of balance or objectivity.
    6. The article is deficient of data, argument and reasoning. The author is absolutely correct in that his version of distance education is market-driven and this is advertising. I cannot take it as a serious and scholarly analysis or projection of the future in distance education.
     
  3. paidagogos

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    One-sided view

    IMHO, this article does not represent the views and state of the larger body of DE. These ideas are more characteristic of the less than wonderful schools or the fringe element in distance education. The statements are highly generalized, overly optimistic, opinionated and overblown.
     
    #3 paidagogos, Nov 10, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2006
  4. El_Guero

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    The article makes me wonder where they are on their accreditation process.

    And it makes me wonder if they charge too much for what they offer.
     
  5. mjohnson7

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    I have to agree with paidagogos, that Haught is not painting an accurate portrait. I'm a proponent of Distance Education, having earned by BS through Liberty's DLP, however it does have drawbacks as paidagogos mentioned. Liberty's programs are great, but I would have performed better in a traditional campus program, it just wasn't an option at the time.

    I mean no offense to tentmaker, but it often irritates me when schools like Master's and Andersonville (and their graduates), hold their diplomas/degrees up with pride...I have a pastor friend, who only had 15 hrs from a legitimate college, finish his bachelors degree at Andersonville in a year. When he showed me the level of work he was doing I was sick at my stomach! He was fully convinced he was "earning" his degree. He wasn't....they are a diploma mill....he paid for his whole bachelor program with one check and got a discount for paying in full up front!

    Sorry...didn't mean to rant! Anyway, there are some things I would agree with Haught on. For instance, competition in the marketplace. Competition works with educational institutions as well, and I think you can see that with places like Liberty. I can't imagine what their advertising budget is, but it works. This is one of the reasons Liberty has grown so much....plus they have regional accreditation through SACS, they continually improve their delivery format, they are more expensive than a state school but a very reasonable private education....these are reasons people are flocking to them....they now have more DL students that campus students. Other universities are sitting up and taking note of this. There are now hundreds of regionally accredited online degree programs now.

    Competition have been in higher education for years, it's just now affecting the DE formats.

    The real question is this....when you put your educational credentials in your resume or hang your diploma on the wall, do you want observers to be carried out on a gurney because they were laughing so hard a pitiful attempt to seem legitimate through one of these Mickey Mouse schools, or look at you with respect for having sucked it up and earned the piece of paper that now hangs on your wall.

    Think about it.
     
  6. Martin

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    Hi Tentmaker!

    Just a question, what do you think about MDS program?

    Just a question no hidden agenda I promise.

    Thanks.
    Martin! :thumbs:
     
  7. UZThD

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    I basically agree.
     
  8. paidagogos

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    Overcharge!

    Hey, El Guero! You hit the nail on the head! Yes, they do overcharge for what they offer. You can get what they offer and better on the internet for FREE! For anyone willing and disciplined enough to do the work, you can learn the equivalent of a seminary education from regular seminary courses on the Internet for FREE. It just depends on whether you want a degree or an education. Check out the following web sites and let me hear what you think.

    There is a movement on foot of major institutions (e.g. MIT) making their course materials available to anyone desiring to learn for free. Many have video plus pdf materials. Google "open courseware."

    If a fancy diploma to hang on your wall is all that you want, then have a quick printer do one to your specifications awarded to yourself by your own seminary. It's much cheaper and probably worth just about as much.:smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. mjohnson7

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    Amen!

    I heard this over and over from my friend..."I don't care about the degree, I just want the education.." It was then I offered to give him every text book from Bible college with class notes (I kept them all). He said, "no thanks." I also mentioned all of the free opportunities online, he didn't want that either...he wanted the letters behind his name. If that's what you want...fine...at least have the moxie to be honest about it!
     
  10. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    I like it. My program is a Doctor of Biblical Studies in Pastoral Ministry. I have a previously earned unaccredited Master of Divinity degree. I am in the middle of my third class which is on Church Management.

    This course work is not easy, but I have done well so far. It is taking me about 6 months per class right now. I wish I could put more time into it and finish quicker but I continue to plod along.

    They have some great seminars and mini classes you can attend in person and they offer them in different cities but you would have to take a week off to attend them. For me that is quite impossible right now. They also have some very good counceling programs some of which are accredited.
     
  11. El_Guero

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    Just give me them letters!

    ;)

    :BangHead:

     
  12. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    Yes I realize that this is not a “fair and balanced” article. The author and publisher have a vested interest in distance education. But I thought it very interesting to apply what I have thought of as business measure to education. His argument that distance learning programs will succeed if they offer a quality product because they can do so at a much cheaper price makes a lot of sence to me. You could use the same argument for the success of homeschool programs over traditional Christian private schools.

    I found his argument for the andragogical educational model over the pedagogical model extremely interesting. While many churches are experimenting with different styles and models for worship we are still locked into the classroom setting for education.
     
  13. Martin

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    ==Sounds great. God bless you in your studies :thumbsup: .

    Are you a pastor?

    ==I had to take a class on church management for my MA degree. I hated it. I guess it depends upon what you are interested in. My favorite classes were church history (I, II, Baptist) and the various New Testament classes I took.

    ==Keep it up. One of my advisors at Liberty told me that I just kept rolling along. I tried to do two classes at a time. What I would do would be start one class and then, mid-way through that class, start a second. That way I was always at least half way through each class. I set a schedule for myself that I followed rather legalistically. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday were devoted to finishing the course I was the furtherest along in. Tuesday, Thursday, and some Saturday evenings were devoted to the class I was just starting. I normally set aside about two hours per night (sometimes it took longer though). I took Sunday's off unless I had to put the finishing touches on a paper. I had the benefit of no wife/children so I could come home from work every day and dive in with little distraction. I would dare anyone to call, or knock on my door during certain hours. With that set up I was able to move through the courses at a good rate. I finished most courses about a week before the final due date, though I did finish other courses earlier than that (usually ones I could work on during my vacation times). Another benefit I have is that I am a bookworm, I love to read and study. So I actually enjoyed most of the classes. Right now I am earning a MA/History degree oncampus. It is harder for me to set that kind of schedule with oncampus studies. Sometimes I think they are going too slow for me.

    ==Do they use cd/tapes like Andersonville? Are they tapes by teachers at that school or are they tapes by ITS?
     
  14. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Thanks for your comments Martin.

    I have pastored previously and hopefully will again, but I am not a pastor right now.

    I took "Pastoral Leadership in the Small Church" through seminary extension and it was one of my favorite classes. Management and leadership however can be very different things.

    No they don't use any taped lecture. Everything is based on a library of books that you get on cd. Because all the textbooks are digitalized you don't have to buy books. That makes it very cost effective. However with no book you can't highlight or make notes on the book so I end up printing all the books anyway. If I could work better off the screen it would be easier. I will stay at it, the last few months have been tought because of other family problems but I will get moving again here soon.
     
  15. Pipedude

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    I know I'm late getting here, but traffic was just terrible...

    I've said this elsewhere and I'll say it again, since I love to hear the sound of my own keystrokes: I have nothing against the free market or unconventional approaches to education, but I object to labeling the result with the same tag as conventional education. It is illegal to produce sherbert and label it ice cream. Let the entrepreneurs run with their ideas, let them best the traditional schools--the proof of the pudding will be in the tasting. But call the paper that the students receive something other than a conventional degree.

    Especially when the school's officials are so oblivious of the subjunctive mood that even a proofread article comes out like the quote in the OP.
     
  16. Rufus_1611

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    I'm not sure what the author's definition of "Brave New World" is, but I don't think he makes an effective case for the Brave New World that Huxley wrote about.
     
  17. saturneptune

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    It seems a lot of you in these posts are basing your earning a credible degree on one fact. Accreditation by six regional agencies that are acceptable to the US Department of Education. Do you all hear what you are saying? You are basing a legitimate degree on an opinion of a department of the federal government. Is that your high standard? The government cannot do much anything right, and to think they can legitimize a college education is kind of silly when you think about it.

    Now, there are degree mills out there, that exchange a diploma for money. However, there are online schools out there that are credible not accredited by the above. Oh, and by the way, since we are talking for the most part about degrees in Bible, theology, ministry, and the like, what business does government have an any aspect of this.

    There is something to be said for setting higher standards than the US Department of Education and learning in new ways.

    I have no dog in this debate, as I have only gone to bricks and mortor colleges that are accredited.
     
  18. paidagogos

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    To accredit or not to accredit?

    If you have read my other posts on this bulletin board, you will know that I argue vigorously for the right of non-accreditation. Furthermore, I have named quality non-accredited schools [e.g. BJU (now accredited), PCC, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, et. al.] in support of my argument. So, I will agree that there are credible non-accredited schools but I don't know which schools you are calling credible. Many people use this argument, which I accept, and proceed to claim respectability for "less than wonderful schools." After all, even degree mills blatantly claim respectability and some claim accreditation by bogus accreditors. Would you please name the schools you are talking about?
     
  19. saturneptune

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    You totally miss the point. Why would anyone even consider accreditation by the federal government an acceptable standard for their or their children's education in light of how the federal government does its other jobs?
     
  20. Broadus

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    The federal government does not accredit any institutions of higher education. The Dept. of Education, as well as the Council for Higher Education, does certify accrediting agencies.

    Accreditation does not assure a high quality education. It simply certifies that the institution in question has met minimal standards. Consequently, schools that fail to meet these minimal standards should be avoided. There are simply too many quality colleges and seminaries which have met these minimal standards to risk one's future on unaccredited institutions.

    One caveat, however. As stated above, there are a few unaccredited institutions which do not seek accreditation because they believe it improper to bring theological education under secular scrutiny. Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Whitefield Theological Seminary come to mind. Others claim the same reason not to pursue accreditation--Hyles-Anderson College comes to mind. HAC, however, could not gain acceditation if it desired, though (I hold an M.Ed. from Hyles-Anderson).

    Of course, there are a number of institutions which claim accreditation from bogus accrediting agencies. Caveat emptor!

    Bill
     

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