MDiv DE or B & M

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    To whom it may concern:

    There are a few MDiv programs out there just now that are either completely Distance Education (DE), completely Brick and Mortar (B & M), and some level of both.

    Which is the best, DE or the B & M? I know this is completely subjective. To define each "best," may each person set up their own criteria of what "best" means and argue for either method in their own contexts.

    Let costs be kept out of the picture and let rigor be considered as equal in both programs. Why do one or the other?

    Let me hear from you! :laugh:

    "That is all!"
     
  2. revmwc

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    Here is the problem I see and have continued t ask define Rigor? What do you consider Rigor? Is lecture time, study time, time in testing just how does one define what is a great amount of rigor?
     
  3. Rhetorician

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    Hello Rev.

    Dear Brother,

    Since I allowed in the OP that everyone can define the terms as they see fit, I usually define "rigor" way down the list. What sets the context for me is:

    1. Regional Accreditation,

    2. Association of Theological Schools seminary accreditation, then

    3. The number of earned doctoral degrees from reputable programs.

    To me these three criteria set the tone and tenor for a program of "rigor."

    My thoughts! :wavey:

    "That is all!"
     
  4. revmwc

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    LBU has very good Distance learning program to me anyway, they are affiliated with a nationally recognized accrediting agency although they have no interest at this time to be fully accredited.
    The instructors hold Doctorates from reputable schools. They are also recognized as one of the schools recommended by the BBFI.
    The curriculum is textbook and syllabus based. They have existed since 1973.
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    Rhetorician Follow up to Rev

    Dear Rev.,

    Just a short follow up:

    I teach college and the following has always been a standard for a 3 Sem Hr class, when I teach and when I was doing BS work:

    For each 3 hours class time, there has to be about 3 hours of outside homework, projects, memorizing, or whatever the BA/BS level classes required per class.

    One particular class I recall in Grad School, "Baby Hebrew," I was doing a 3 hour "in seat" lecture time per week. And I was doing 12-15 hours outside of memorization, translating, etc. just to keep up.

    Another standard for the BS/BA is; that it you take 12 sem hours, subtract that from 40 hours that leaves 28, then that is what you should have to do outside of class to be a success in mall classes to have an "A" or "B" average. The person has to be a good student and good study habits of course.

    My grown daughter just happened to be here for lunch. She just finished an "online" Masters in Education at Arkansas State University. I asked her about the rigor of her Masters courses. She said she spent between 20 and 30 hours per week on a course that lasted 5 weeks.

    So these are probably good paradigms of what rigor ought to be and look like, from my perspective.

    "That is all!" :applause:
     
  6. StefanM

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    I don't generally consider these time suggestions realistic. Language and quantitative courses tend to be the most time-consuming, but other classes' loads depend heavily on the ability of the student. Top students can complete assignments much more quickly. Students with refined research skills can produce papers without much trouble.

    I've been in courses of varying levels of difficulty throughout my academic career, and I've had the best experiences in the classes that were challenging but not overwhelming. When a student is so overwhelmed that every spare moment must be spent studying, the focus centers on completing the assignments instead of digesting the material. If a student isn't sufficiently challenged, the curriculum induces boredom and apathy.

    I view rigor in terms of the quality of the expected product from the student. You can work a student to death and not have a quality curriculum.
     
  7. revmwc

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    I had to take 2 units of english, 2 history, 2 social studies, 2 science and 1 elective. With a wekk at school for 4 workshops the week of Graduation to complete my B.S.
    I spent about 3 hours a night on the courses reading through the text working the syllabus and writing papers. Still finished all work except grad week in about 13 weeks but Saturday would be about 5 to 7 hours of study time. Sunday evening I might get an hour or so in. I kept hard at it to get the textbook read questions answered 250 to 300 questions in the workbook. Pluse about 5 written assignements per class, with a final over the 250 to 300 questions most finals having 40 to 50 question out of the syllabus but all had to be memorized. That was rigorous to me.
     
  8. Havensdad

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    Rhet,

    It depends on the person and their situation. A person who is not actively involved in ministry, and who is not very self-motivated, would probably be better off with B & M.

    A self motivated person is probably better off with DE...particularly if they are an exemplary student. Also, I do not personally believe a person should abandon a ministry that God has placed them in, so DE offers an option that allows one to continue in the work of the ministry where God has placed them, while advancing their studies.
     
  9. michaelbowe

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    Havensdad,

    I respectfully disagree. I mentioned in a another thread how Jesus called people to leave their life settings to go be his servants, i.e. Apostles. Timothy left his family to learn from Paul. Paul left his previous life behind to go into ministry. Biblically speaking, someone should be willing to move to better themselves for God's wonderful call. That said, being willling and having too are two different things. I am a product of both B.M and DE. Distance Ed has opened doors for many people. However, do not limit discipline to those that go the DE route. Residential work does require discipline. It means making a schedule, it means making time for classes, lectures, homework etc, just as signing into the digital classroom requires the same disciplines.

    Motivation has nothing to do with it. If someone is not motivated he or she will fail a residential program, as well as a distance one. Each situation is different, and that should be taken into account regarding any program.
     
  10. TomVols

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    I don't think self-motivation makes someone less inclined for B&M or more so for DE. Anyone who's ever spent a day on a higher ed campus knows that, if you aren't self-motivated, you won't last long. Goodness, you wouldn't have gotten there to start with if you weren't self-motivated. And the time struggles are just as real for B&M and DE. I've gone down both paths, so I can speak to this firsthand.

    If the person has no prior theological training, I believe B&M with significant on-campus resources and interaction is vital. Iron sharpens iron, and while some of that comes from the page, some comes from experience garnered by hearing the trials and struggles of other students, profs, and staff. (As someone once said, we should learn from the mistakes of others because we won't live long enough to make them ourselves :)) Also, time and again, I see "DE only" students who lack the ability to relate to anyone on a meaningful level. Of course, there are many library rats who can't speak to another human if their life depended on it. There is a better way, somewhere in the middle.

    However, there has to be an option for the practicing minister who providentially cannot get to a solid campus setting, and thankfully DE provides such. I find it interesting that a great number of DE leaders argue for campus-based initial seminary work (MA, MDiv, etc.) But IMHO, I don't believe DE should be the first option. The heroes of the faith who were self-taught were all involved in classical education. That should tell us something. But, DE has a place at the table.
     
  11. Havensdad

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    This is exactly my point. If Jesus calls a person to "leave all" and go into a ministry/mission field, it is not that person's right to say "Hey, I am going to drop what Jesus has called me to do, and go to a B & M Seminary instead." We are called to "leave all" and follow Christ...even if that is somewhere where we cannot attend classes in the flesh.
     
  12. michaelbowe

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    That isn't the point you said. I am saying sometimes people need to be WILLING to leave their current setting. God may or may not be calling a person to do that, but a person should be willing to leave if necessary.
     
  13. Havensdad

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    Of course. A Christian should submit to whatever God calls them to do. But I think many times people mistake their own desire to go to a prestigious Seminary with the call of God. If God calls a man to a particular place of ministry far from a B & M seminary, and he feels he needs Biblical education, his only option is DE.

    Not only that, God calls men, I believe, to DE. I think He did with me.
     
  14. michaelbowe

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    Tom,
    I too have gone down both paths, and agree DE should not be the first option. There is no substitute for the in classroom experience. Not only did I learn from the discussions, but many of my friends have my resume, and I have theirs if I see a ministry position I think he or she might fit, I send it that way. The networking, the in class experience is great!

    However, I have not seen DE students not being able to relate to anyone on a meaningful level. I realize there are people who just want to be introverted and hide in a closet on the computer all day and get a degree, but I have not seen this regarding some people I know who did their degrees via DE.
     
  15. michaelbowe

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    I agree, God's calls people to certain seminaries. I too did DE, but I also did B.M. I think it is something that must be prayerfully considered, but regarding your initial post, self motivation is not the determining factor for DE, or residential. Nor should it be that a person does not want to leave his or her setting. It should be what is God calling a person to do.
     
  16. Havensdad

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    I believe that DE gives self motivated, exceptional students (not putting myself in this category), an opportunity to advance at an accelerated pace, which is not as available in B & M.
     
  17. TCGreek

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    I've experienced both. But my preference would be B&M for the interaction in the flesh.
     
  18. michaelbowe

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    I too graduated from Liberty's DE program and you still have to do the 8 week program. I did my undergrad at Amridge which is DE and it had 15 week semesters. I started at BTSR, but needed to leave because of family issues, but the semesters were 15 weeks as well. How is that accelerated? A DE student can work ahead of schedule, but usually a syllabus is given for a residential program allowing the same ability.
     
  19. michaelbowe

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    I agree, I would not have left BTSR if it were not for some family issues that pulled me away. I am thrilled I was able to finish, thanks to DE but loved the residential experience
     
  20. TomVols

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    This is extraordinarily fallacious. Accelerated learning is just as available B&M as it is DE, and could be more so due to more offerings at some B&M schools.
    Total strawman. It would be equally so to say "I think many times people mistake their own desire to stay at home, not risk their cushy jobs and 3 cars so they can do DE."
    Nor is it the right of the person to say "If I can't walk over to my PC and get it, I'm not getting it, Lord" :)

    Thanks, friend.
     

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