Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Online Teaching

Some time ago, the WELS Board for World Missions mandated online courses to save travel expenses. It does!

The asynchronous Moodle platform allows me to reach Spanish speaking students all over the world, regardless of time zones or the work schedules of my students. I have students in Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Chile, Mexico, and the USA.

I teach dogmatics in Spanish using the Moodle platform. So far I have developed and taught 3 courses: Anthropology, Christology, and Soteriology 1. Each lesson has 5 reading assignments from our 2 dogmatics texts. There are then five graded forum assignments where the students have to write on assigned topics, read what other students have written, and then respond to what two others have written. Each lesson has review questions that are requested and then returned to the professor for grading. The course is designed for student pastors, seminary students, and church leaders including Sunday school teachers.

One advantage of methodology used is peer teaching. I am often gone for LATTE teaching trips to other countries, where I do not always have Internet service. But the students can continue studying, learning from one another. My wife functions as my assistant and sends out the end of the lesson questions for me.

Online teaching also has some disadvantages.  
  • First, there is a high drop out rate. 
  • Second, I have not met all of my students face to face.
  • Third, we do little exegesis in the original Biblical languages. It is difficult to do using this methodology. We have also opened the course to students who have not studied Greek or Hebrew.

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