Thursday, April 04, 2013

Online Education

Over the next while Toronto Baptist Seminary will be working to make two of our degree programs available online. This is something that people have been encouraging us to do for a long time because it enables students to complete an undergraduate and graduate degree from anywhere in the world and it does not require them to leave their jobs or ministries in order to come to Toronto and study here at the seminary. We believe this is a good thing and it will enable us to multiply the effectiveness of TBS in ways there were impossible even a few years ago. The demand for theological education remains steady for a number of reasons, including the unfortunate fact that consistent theological instruction that clearly articulates a Christian worldview, is difficult to find. For all the sermons, blogs, books, and conferences out there, there is something about organized, systematic instruction that requires you to personally interact with the material being taught by way of assignments, research papers, and exams, that is invaluable when it comes to really understanding and knowing what is going on.

That being said, I hope we never see the day when economics forces all course material to be delivered from an electronic classroom versus a real classroom, in a real building, in a real city! While modern technology makes it possible for us to deliver training in new and exciting ways, there is still something to be said for the classroom experience and for the personal interaction of students and teacher, as well as, students with one another. I think that this is true when it comes to education in general, but I believe it is certainly true when it comes to theological education. You cannot learn to interact with people in isolation from people. Nor can you study the gospel which is all about God's gathering together a community of people redeemed by his Son if the communal aspect of the Christian life is only a theoretical construct. The demands of the present circumstances and the opportunites presented to us compel us to move forward into the online world, but we do so understanding that a combination of both online and classroom instruction is better than either one on their own if we are to strive for the excellence that the study of God deserves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find if the teaching is more than good then classroom lessons are great, but usually theology teachers are dry.

Ian