Astonishing technological faith: Individuals can grow spiritually when Christian education is taught through distance learning
Deborah Leah Stapleton, Drew University, United States
Drew University . Awarded
My project examined if individuals can grow spiritually when Christian Education is taught through online interactive distance learning. Jesus' comment—in Matthew 8:5- 13—regarding the astonishing faith of the centurion who asked Jesus to heal his servant from a distance was used for my Biblical Foundation. The centurion stated that Jesus did not need to travel to the centurion's home because Jesus was in control. Similarly, I wanted to prove that individuals who took Christian education classes through online interactive distance learning could grow spiritually; they did not need to be in a particular location—that is to say, a church building—to do so because God was in control.
With my Advisory Team, I began by researching online interactive distance learning platforms. We selected WizIQ because it allowed the students to view the PowerPoint presentation, participate in separate classroom experiences, write live on the whiteboard, view videos, and listen to audio presentations from their home computers. After researching spiritual growth and distance learning, I developed the curriculum (lesson plans and student workbook) based on a six-week sermon series, Getting to the Next Level, (John 9), by Rev. DeForest Soaries, pastor, First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ. Sixteen students—from within the congregation as well as other states and a country in Africa—enrolled in this Christian education course. Students were asked to discuss specific questions in relationship to the sermon based on their personal experiences, and then relate those experiences to their relationship to Jesus. The students also maintained personal journals, in which they responded to specific questions weekly regarding their lives. I measured their level of spiritual growth based on their writings, feedback, and level of engagement during the discussions. The students were open and honest in revealing their personal narratives and life reviews. Based on the outcome of my project, I concluded that students are not prohibited from growing spiritually when being taught Christian education using distance learning.
Stapleton, D.L. Astonishing technological faith: Individuals can grow spiritually when Christian education is taught through distance learning. Ph.D. thesis, Drew University.
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