Bible colleges or seminary education has experienced a major shift in the last few years… WHY?
Newsflash: The internet has arrived!
Like nearly every other enterprise, the world of theological education has been experiencing a significant severance with the traditional Bible school or seminary moving to and going towards the internet and online classes.
This is obvious to everyone and educators have been responding by moving courses and programs online. For instance, Tom Tanner and Eliza Smith Brown observed that as of 2015 “more than half of all the Association of Theological School members now offer distance education, as contrasted with less than 10 percent just ten years ago…25% of all the students associated with the ATS were enrolled in at least one course online. It was only ten years ago that fewer than one in ten were offering classes online.”
Apparently, online classes have proven to be a key factor in the enrollment and growth for some Seminaries and Bible colleges.
Seminaries, colleges, and Bible schools have been responding to students and its constituency needs by “going online.” In the process they have learned a great deal about how to deliver courses and classes in creative ways. They have learned the best practices for teaching in an online atmosphere, and have come to grips with the sort of framework that is necessary to support these classes.
The Old “Bricks And Mortar” of yester year seems to be fading as the online process takes hold. The problem is that the Independent Baptist are holding on to these “Bricks and Mortar” programs without giving thought to the future.
I am not saying that the brick and mortar should go away. I know that there are many who do not want to pack up their family and move so they can immerse themselves in the Bible college experience but I also know that there are some in our day and time that still need this.
Many educators today in the Independent Baptist world have in mind the ideal of the “bricks and mortar” residential campus but not so for Texas Theological University and Seminary. The goal for us involves creating a traditional classroom–online. The classroom with lecturers is still seen as the ideal platform and learning space, surrounded and supported by a library, faculty offices, registrar and finance offices, student life, dormitories, and so forth. Our Goal at Texas Theological is to put the classroom back into a local church perspective and keep the local pastors involved with their students as well as keeping that student serving in that church. We have a desire to work with the pastor to help them to educate their students while offering the student a respected degree.
One could not have expected the rise of the internet roughly 30 years ago to easily dislodge our shared imagination for higher education, after all we like to hold on to that traditional thought but as the next generation rises should we the older generation discount the internet as a viable tool for teaching, even in a Bible educational setting?
Bible education has now suddenly seen itself dropped into a new world, but we continue to act and think as if we are still in the old. For instance, a professor wishes to begin teaching online. A strategy might be to record the lecture and post it to an online course site for students to watch. By so doing, the professor seeks to duplicate online what is happening in the live classroom they are so use to. The “bricks and mortar” format they know so well still forms their thinking for online teaching.
The reality is that we find ourselves as educators in a new world and are not entirely sure what it is, or how best even describe it, format it or teach it. What we need to realize is that with time everything Changes. Everything.
At Texas Theological University and Seminary we are developing and striving to understand as well as adapt to this new world. We accept that the new reality is the “web” and “cloud.” We are not saying we fully grasp it all but we are making stride toward it.
Texas Theological is excited about the opportunities that this new world provides for theological education, and we look forward to boldly go where others are not going. So, come join us as we step off into this new adventure. We at the present time have more than 30 classes on line and offer a very flexible (Fit to your time table) schedule for your learning.
We currently offer degree plans in Theology, Education, Missions and Ministry, offering classes that cost only $25.00 per semester hour plus books. That means for a 3 hour class the cost is @ $75.00 plus book. This makes a Bible education very affordable.
If you would like more information please contact us @ www.ttus.org.
Dean of Students