Distance Learning

Seminary To Take Theology Courses Online

Theological education will get a makeover in fall 2010 at Lexington Theological Seminary when it begins offering its masters programs through a hybrid online model using a combination of video, audio, and PowerPoint presentations. The seminary, based in Kentucky, expects to deliver a mixture of short courses online and on-campus intensives to students.

Project director Ben Wyatt said he believes that Lexington is the first seminary to provide interactive modules for online learners. "Other institutions have gone online, but those are text-based resources where the students are required to read article after article; and research indicates this type of learning doesn't engage today's student."

The seminary is using iSpring Presenter to add audio narration to its PowerPoint slideshows along with other multimedia components, such as video.

Wyatt said the faculty will integrate Web 2.0 tools such as Wallwisher and VoiceThreat. The first is a free program that allows individuals to post notes to a virtual wall. The second provides a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate pages and leave comments in five ways: using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a Webcam).

Wyatt said the institution may use Skype for faculty to provide virtual office contact with students. "I am looking into other Web 2.0 tools because I believe it's important to use the tools 'today's students' are using," he said. "These tools will keep the students engaged in the online learning environment."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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