One View of Online Ministry Education

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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  2. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    I'm not sure about online Christian education, but I know there is a reason that psychologists, counselors, etc., are discouraged from getting an online education in those specialties:

    Online education tends to encourage the regurgitation, often word-for-word, of the text, and no learning takes place whatsoever. That makes for bad counselors, bad social workers, and bad psychologists.

    I'm pretty sure the same could be said for online ministry education.
     
  3. exscentric

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    "Kinda quiet around here!"

    Ya, and some old guy keeps comin in n waken us up!

    Well, since I'm awake -- "Good teachers who believe in their content will figure out how to connect with students and lead them to learn, regardless of delivery mode." seems to be a good estimation of teaching, the only hang up is that simple word "good."

    Good teachers can use any medium effectively and most do. It may take a little more work but they will do it. If the teachers are "good" then medium is not quite relevant. On the other hand "bad" teachers are going to be bad, most likely, no matter the medium.
     
    #3 exscentric, Nov 7, 2013
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  4. JonC

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    That was not my experience. When I wanted to complete my masters I did so online. What I found was quite the opposite from what you are describing. The reason I say this is that my instructors, I believe, demanded more in ways. When I physically attended a course it seemed that we as a class developed a opinion of the class material. It did not seem this way online and the online student had to present and defend what was assumed in the classroom environment. As an online student, it seemed that I had to provide a more substantial defense of my understanding. This was the reason that one of my friends quit the online program and moved back to the school – he found it more difficult online (although I suspect it was more a matter of time management).



    For me, the online format is better in regards to learning (but people are different and learn differently). But the downside is that there is no interaction among peers and I believe that this hampers the student’s development. There is much to be said for social interaction and peer development and I do not believe that an online format comes close to replicating this aspect in their discussion boards.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    There is no truth to any of this.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    Online education is a mixed bag.

    On the one hand, it provides a means of engagement for students who are unable to move to attend legitimate seminaries to receive quality education. It provides them with the means to better themselves in a format that, usually, is virtually (no pun intended) the same as in classroom interaction. Online education also is helpful for getting coursework done at one's pace and even arranging a schedule where they wake up early or stay up late. I've had some peers who have benefitted from this kind of scenario.

    That said, it is also challenging because education is more than what takes place in a classroom. Students who aren't around substantial research libraries (secular or religious) will have limited options for developing their studies and broadening their reading lists. As well, faculty interaction is supremely limited as well as peer to peer interaction. One of the chief benefits I took away from my seminary experience was the network of like minded young pastors, many of whom I can keep up with.

    Though this next isn't true for all, it is true for far too many: online students have a tendency to be less prepared about a topic that others. Now, this is variable and one can find the same response from on campus students. As I've interacted with online students (in various fields) there has been a noticeable lack of familiarity with important issues related to their studies that is unlike many on campus students. However, one simple rule about education is that you can get out what you put in.

    One of the best posts I've seen of late came from Bart Barber of the SBC: I'm Thrilled That You Can Earn Your Mdiv Online...Now Please Don't

    That's about it for me. :)
     
  7. reverist

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    As one who has both experience attending seminary and teaching/attending online, I would like to offer two perspectives, humbly.

    1. The online experience is great, and perfectly adequate, for those in certain ministry contexts pursuing certain ministry goals.

    For those who are already serving, or who are acting as pastoral interns, or missionaries, an online master's may be quite helpful. He or she will learn a lot by reading, and if she has a good online prof, will learn some from his commentary on the reading material and discussion forums.

    2. The online method is not the optimal resource for the best academics.

    Having done both as a student, I feel somewhat qualified to give anecdotal evidence of this. I learned a lot getting my MAR from Liberty. I really did. In fact, I thought maybe I was learning as much as those in a brick and mortar. Since I've transferred to do my MDiv at SEBTS, I've come to realize there is a marked difference in quality. Not necessarily in the books read, but in the ability to understand the material. Having a professor right in front of you virtually guarantees you will have more Q&A time than if you were online alone. While you can talk to other students and profs online, there are two issues. First, many other students are simply not theologically prepared (or maybe even not academically qualified). This is not always true, but it's enough to where it was truly a rare experience for me to learn from someone else's post (at least, by positive example). The profs often teach several sections, and take a couple days (1-2) to get back to you, usually without detailed answers (at least not as detailed as you'd get in class). As a result, even if you ask for clarification, you will do it less often and with less resolution of the issue. So, it's great for many, and it was great for me. But it will not compete at the highest levels of academics a majority of the time.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    As one who has done both I can say my experience has been that there is no difference. I have never had a prof who was quick to answer any of my questions and if I needed to talk to by phone.

    I collect books so I have always had a significant library. Currently I have almost 1000 books. If I need something I will buy it. But the online library has also been a very good resource for books or any other journal articles needed.
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    A downside to online ed is you cannot take the biblical languages track.
     
  10. Siberian

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    Best, most balanced and clearest statement on delivery method (B&M vs Online) that I have heard in a long time: "a delivery system does not determine if the education is good; the teacher does."
     
  11. Greektim

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    You haven't looked at good online programs then. Good schools inside and out of the SBC teach the languages online. I did 3 semesters of Hebrew online, and the platform was great! Just as interactive, and perhaps better b/c the "whiteboard" was right in front of my face.
     
  12. reverist

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    Tim, random question about the ThM: How long did it take you? I went to Dr. Jones' luncheon on it, and it seems really interesting (he's a very persuasive guy). Also, I have got to look up your thesis (assuming you did the thesis track). :)
     
  13. Havensdad

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    Thats not true of all schools. I did my Biblical Languages online through New Orleans Baptist, and transferred them into Liberty.
     
  14. Revmitchell

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    Liberty is a "good" school.
     
  15. Greektim

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    Don't know... never went there. I just live in Lyncheburg during the summers and use their library for my ThM research.
     
    #15 Greektim, Nov 12, 2013
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  16. Greektim

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    My situation is unique. I had to do an MDiv equivalency (added 12 credits), then I left the country which prolonged it vastly. I will finish this summer. Thesis subject will be the something along the lines of the function and use of the Pentateuch in the 7 oracles of Rev. 2-3 drawing on the themes of promised land and presence of God.
     
  17. RG2

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    I do have to say I don't know if this is quite comparing apples to apples, since your online study was done at a different institution than your in class. Coming from someone who has taken Online classes from a number of different institutions, Liberty included, I would agree with everything you have said about Liberty but that isn't the case with every institution.


    This isn't true for all places. I took my Turbo Greek online, not from Liberty though.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you can't judge all online education from LU's model.
     
  18. reverist

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    Wow man sounds challenging and like a lot of fun! Things are wrapping up here pretty good. I really enjoy SEBTS and would definitely recommend it. Some people worry about the Reformed aspect, but I'm not Reformed and I've never been made to feel unwelcome. :)
     
  19. righteousdude2

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    I have no problem with this form of education....

    ....BUT, I think those who go to cyber college/school miss out on fellowship, personal interaction with others, and real life experience as you get immediate feedback, input and criticism from your peers and those teaching!

    Still, this seems to be growing in popularity!
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    You would have to be an online student to know this is incorrect.
     

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