Brick and Morter Seminaries v. Distance Ed Seminaries

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by michaelbowe, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. michaelbowe

    michaelbowe
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    It seems every thread gets lead to this subject, so I though why not start a new thread! What are people's thoughts and experiences with these different programs? What are the strenghts and weaknesses? I have experienced both types of programs. I have found DE to be completely convienient, difficult, and disciplined. There is almost no limitation as to what a person can do via the internet now. I also experienced the B&M aspect of seminary. I would not trade the friendships I have made with anyone. Many of my friends have my resume, and I have thiers. I attend a seminary in a town that has three and we are allowed to cross register. This brings incredible insight and discussion with people of different faiths, stances, etc. One of the limitations on B&M is the moving and having to devote class time. Please no one mention costs, most seminaries have incredible financial aid to cover the costs of tuition, and I'm not speaking of loans either. One of the limitations of DE is that lack of face to face relationships. I can debate with people on discussion boards like this one, but I do not know any of you face to face, I've never met your kids, and you haven't met mine. Let's get your thoughts and please be polite.
     
  2. Havensdad

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    Really? Tell you what, brother, you show me a quality Brick and Mortar school, where my full semester tuition, including books, and fees, will cost me no more than 500 bucks per semester (full time, 15 CH schedule), and I will shut down the ministry, and go.

    Otherwise, it is DEFINITELY part of the discussion
     
  3. michaelbowe

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    Almost every seminary has need based grants, and other scholarship opportunities. I haven't paid a dime, my school covered it. Just google, "need based grants for seminaries" and it will pull up several quality seminaries that are accredited and offer tuition assistance.
     
    #3 michaelbowe, Mar 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2009
  4. Havensdad

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    Might I ask WHAT school that was? All of the seminaries I have seen, have tuition caps on their need based grants, of 70 to 80 percent. They also include language like "a limited number of grants", which means if I get it, someone else is stuck out.

    I am speaking of regular, low priced cost, available to everyone: not just the special few.
     
  5. michaelbowe

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    Sure, I attend Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, which is almost a cuss word on this board, but they have several endowements that have provided my full tuition. My church that endorsed me to go to seminary supports with a 1,000 scholarship that usually pays for books. I do not care for the big six seminaries, but thier costs are quite low for anyone affilitated with the SBC. They offer grants as well, check SWBTS. edu's financial aid. They say, "75% of students recieve aid in other forms than loans." There are several seminaries offering 100% need based grants, and then there are also scholarships that are not based upon academics, more so on what state you live in. All these are from endowements. Almost all accredited seminaries have them, and want help students to attend. I know many of my classmates recieved the same type of aid. Hope this helps.
     
  6. Havensdad

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    Even if you qualified for the cooperative program, and received every scholarship available, it would still not approach the cost of DE. 3/4 of the students receive "some form" of aid (most of this 75 percent is low level aid, leaving the student with still thousands of dollars to pay on his own).

    It is very nice for you, that you are part of a Church which can give you a 1000 dollar scholarship. My home church takes six months to get 500 dollars for a mission offering. Also, 1,000 dollars is quite a chunk for overseas missions: I am afraid I could not spend that kind of money on books, when there are people dying overseas without Christ.

    Money is still a consideration. I know, my friend, that you would like to sweep this under the rug, for it is a MAJOR mark in favor of DE, but you cannot. The simple fact of the matter is, unless you are one of the special few with a 4.0 GPA, or just happen to be one of the 5 -10 percent that get the big grants/scholarships, DE is FAR less expensive.

    When you add the HUGE expense of uprooting your family, finding a job in a strange town (many people that "go off" to seminary, have to leave a well paying job, and end up having to work twice as much doing jobs like washing dishes, or flipping burgers), not to mention the fact that housing is usually twice as high in college/seminary towns, the problem is compounded.
     
  7. michaelbowe

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    I'm not sweeping it under the rug. It's just not as large of a problem as it seems. There are exceptions to every rule. My undergraduate which was DE had a tuition of 4000, per semester, that is not cheap. I do not care for the six seminaries, and I think thier aid is quite weak, but there are others. As regarding my church, you are right, I am lucky, I attended a large church which set and endowement scholarship to give anyone in the church attending seminary 1000. They give a lot of overseas missions, as well as local missions. I left my home town paying 1200 for my three bedroom apartment plus utilities, now I pay 980 including utilities, and I have more ministry opportunities available than when I did at home. Finances are an issue, just not as much as you would think. Seminaries work very hard to make the education available. I may be an exception, but if so, then so are most of my classmates. Some DE programs are significantly less expensive, but there are B&M programs with low expense too.
     
    #7 michaelbowe, Mar 23, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2009
  8. michaelbowe

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    I wanted to make this thread about experiences. I wanted to hear people honest strengths and weaknesses of either program. When it comes to finances, that is an issue either way, Liberty costs about as much as SBTS, and I don't know if they offer scholarships to DE. I'm not sweeping costs under the rug. I wanted to hear different perspectives of people experiences. What areas of his or her education did he or she find could use improvement. If you attend the perfect seminary that doesn't have a problem good for you. I don't need to attend, for I will mess it up, but I experienced both DE and B&M have enjoyed both programs.
     
  9. Havensdad

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    Actually, this is not the case. Even with the cooperative program (which cuts tuition in half), full 15 CH tuition at SBTS is just under 4,000 dollars per semester.

    Liberty Seminary, thanks to it's "Tuition cap" of 2,000 dollars per semester, is about half that. And that is not even including the additional costs associated with B & M.
     
  10. michaelbowe

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    I did say about as much. If you attend a SBC church the tuition is 190 per credit hour 9 is full time, but will stretch it to 12, every school has different credit hour systems, mine a max load is 5 credit hours. That is 2280 plus fees. Liberty is capped at 2000 plus fees, not much different.

    The cost of moving is a valid point, and if you experience seminary hardship because of the costs of moving then fine talk about it. I wanted to hear strengths and weakness of peoples experiences about either or both programs.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    I think there needs to be a balance of DE and B&M in one's educational life. Let me explain below.

    I have done all of my education through B&M, on campus residential studies. I moved from college, to seminary, to graduate, to post-graduate institutions during a time in my life when I could do so with little overhead cost. This is a blessing and one I know many don't share.

    The relationships, both academically and personally, have been huge for my growth as a person, pastor, and academician. I have used the vast libraries and primary source materials uniquely available on campus to support and create more robust papers and research. The ability to have my complete focus on academics and studying as my primary task is vital to being able to produce quality for work.

    That said most of my personal growth and studying hasn't happened in a classroom but my kitchen or personal study carole. The lectures (primarily during undergrad and graduate work) have been (mostly) monologue with little interaction with the professor presenting. With the internet I can find and download about 95% of relevant journal articles for my research. With Google Books and other virtual libraries I can read (for the most part) relevant literature. (Frankly I'm using Google Books to read commentaries online while at my local coffeehouse prepping a new sermon/talk.)

    To be honest for my second half of graduate and almost all of my post-graduate work I didn't need to be on campus for a residential program. It could have been done with me 1,000 miles away or 1,000 yards away from the campus center. For the last couple of years I've lived about 50 miles from three major research institutions and have driven to them for research purposes. When finishing my dissertation I was traveling (for about two weeks) abroad and ended up using three other institutions in two countries for writing/researching purposes.

    I think that we need (particularly in our younger years) to have a healthy on campus experience. Yet I would also say that it is just as academically credible to do it off campus in our mature years academically.

    Maybe balance is good, but in the modern technological age can we really keep telling honest, hardworking people that they can't get advanced degrees simply because of financial and geographic limitations.

    Now I'm not saying that you don't have any time in residence for these degrees. Probably needs a couple of weeks per semester on campus for sure. There needs to be a definite accountability program for keeping up with syllabi and weekly research needs.

    Maybe I'm just suggesting there is a better way than having to pick up and move across the country...particularly since you don't do most of your significant work in a different place than your living room or study.

    Not sure if this helps.:type:
     
  12. michaelbowe

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    I like your post, and thank you for it. I agree with you. There are a few ATS accredited seminaries that will allow residency requirements to be met via week intensives. I'm not even sure age should be the determining factor between DE and B&M, I'm young. I'm assuming your working on a Ph, or ThD, and I can see your point about the later years of research. I don't know many seminaries that require you to stay after you have completed the seminars, test, or class requirements. I am not sure to the accuracy of that last statement. Thank you again for your post.
     
  13. Pastor Larry

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    I would avoid DE. The lack of personal interaction with both students and professors cannot be overcome.

    Education is an investment. So it may cost more to have a legitimate education, but it is worth it, particularly if God has called you to ministry. Take the time to prepare.
     
  14. sag38

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    Larry, I think it's a bit insulting to suggest that those who did not attend a B+M school do not have a "legitimate" education. My degrees came from B+M. I spent time in the Army and National Guard (too long) to pay for it all. And, I wouldn't trade the experiences and knowledge gained for anything in the world. But, I can't knock the DE because I've never taken that route. Whose to say their education isn't as "legitimate" as yours or mine?
     
  15. Rhetorician

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    Michael Reponse

    Hello Michael,

    I hope you are well. I am not sure we have talked before. But I was wondering if your comment concerning the BTSR is "polite?" I personally am ultra conservative. But I am also know that some brethren have con chosen for one reason or another to follow the path I have chosen. And I have never heard anyone "trash" BTSR.

    Just my observation.

    "Shalom Y'all!":thumbsup:
     
  16. michaelbowe

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    That was more sarcasm, and I appologize. You are correct, that was not very polite of me to make such a comment.
     
  17. michaelbowe

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    I can't take things this far. I would partially agree the lack of personal interaction is an issue for DE, just as expense of moving is an issue with B&M, but there is some interaction with DE, and some have a more exceptional experience than others. I have obtained my undergrad through DE and while the interaction was limited to a discussion board like this, there was interaction.
     
  18. Havensdad

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    LOL.

    What if God has called you to get a legitimate education through Distance education. Should you be disobedient, and do B & M anyway?
     
  19. Martin

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    ==There are several problems that you address here and I want to respond.

    1. The lack of personal interaction is a problem for some people. Not everyone needs, or seeks, personal interaction during their education. These people are happy with discussion boards, phone calls, and email. For those who need, or strongly desire, personal interaction with fellow students and teachers, I would advise them to avoid online education. However for those who don't need or desire such interaction, distance education is a perfect option.

    2. The idea that online/distance learning is "easy" or a "short cut" is a myth that just refuses to die. That is frustrating as college instructor, and former student (duu), because I know it is not true. Online learning takes just as much time and work, maybe a bit more in some situations, than traditional learning. I pray that one day this myth, based on an out of date bias against the old days of correspondence schools, will die the horrible death it deserves.

    3. The idea that online/distance education is not "legitimate" is another myth that needs to go. This myth is also based on the old correspondence schools. Online learning is very legitimate. That is why Universities such as UNC, ECU, NCSTATE, SEBTS, DTS, and LU are creating online programs and offering online courses. Most community colleges also offer distance learning courses and degrees.

    4. Distance learning, as I said, is not for everyone. However the idea that those enrolled in online programs are not taking time to prepare for God's calling is just false. Distance/online students are taking the time and they are making the sacrifice to prepare. Online learning takes just as much, sometimes more, time and energy as on-campus courses do. The only difference is that online learning takes the school/course to the student instead of the other way. This makes education possible for the working parent, the soldier in the field, the missionary in the field, the pastor on the go, the teacher on the go, or the housewife who can't leave her children to attend traditional schooling. Any school, university, or seminary that dismisses distance/online learning does so at its own peril. The day is coming, quicker than we know, when online learning will be the primary way of earning certain types of graduate degrees. I can imagine a day, though not in our lifetimes, when online learning becomes major part of every degree program. Though I doubt the traditional classroom will totally die, even there online learning is creating major changes. Traditional classes now have online components. Universities and colleges are teaming up to "share" classes via hightech video connections. I could go on and on, but I think the point is clear. Online/distance learning is here to stay, it is the higher education of the future. Schools that fight against it will find themselves left out in the cold.
     
    #19 Martin, Mar 24, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2009
  20. Martin

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    ==Like many here, I have experienced both oncampus and distance learning. My experience was in seminary. I originally attended Southeastern in Raleigh but, due to personal situations, could not continue the drive. I transferred to Liberty Seminary and earned my M.A. in Religion through their online program. I recently finished my M.A. in Social Studies and History degree and I earned it oncampus. Out of the 36 hours of my graduate history studies, the University accepted 6 hours of transfer credit from Liberty Seminary (Church History I, Baptist History) which is the maximum transfer allowable into a graduate program. As a community college instructor I have taken online workshops (etc) and our small history department (3 instructors) also offers several courses online each semester. I say all of that to say that I have plenty of experience with this.

    That online education is not for everyone should be clear. Some people need the structure and personal touch that only traditional learning can provide. However for those who don't need that, online learning is a really good option.

    Personally I have enjoyed both equally. Both have ups and both have downs. For me, the biggest down of oncampus studies is night classes. The biggest down of online studies is a lack of lectures (which can be overcome now through teachertube, youtube, etc).

    The difficulty level was about the same. I did not see any major difference between LU (online) and SEBTS (oncampus). However the graduate history program was far more demanding than either.
     

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