The perceptions of administrators, faculty and students on Web-based distance education in seminaries
Paul Potai Eng, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, United States
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School . Awarded
The extent to which Web-based distance education can provide high quality theological education is dependent on whether higher order learning, spiritual formation, and learning community can be achieved through Web-based theological education. Higher order learning, spiritual formation, and learning community are identified as important categories in building academic programs in seminaries.
The purpose of this study is to investigate whether higher order learning, community of learning, and spiritual formation can be achieved through Web-based theological education. Qualitative research was used to collect data through conducting interviews and information was collected from documents available on the websites of the two selected seminaries accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Administrators, faculty, and students of the two seminaries were interviewed concerning the extent to which higher order learning, community of learning, and spiritual formation were present in the online programs and courses. This study concludes in order to have effective online programs and courses, a combination of threaded discussions, cohort groups and other communication methods—especially the on-campus intensives—should be used to foster higher order learning, community of learning and spiritual formation. The on-campus intensives—which provide face-to-face interaction—are still the best means among all methods in fostering spiritual formation. In addition, three important points about threaded discussions are found: higher order learning is possible even through threaded discussions alone; threaded discussions—to a certain extent—are also able to encourage a learning community; however, threaded discussions alone are insufficient in fostering spiritual formation. Cohort groups formed either in threaded discussions or through on-campus intensives are helpful to encourage students to learn intellectually and spiritually.
Eng, P.P. The perceptions of administrators, faculty and students on Web-based distance education in seminaries. Ph.D. thesis, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
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