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Online Teaching Platforms

October 26, 2009

Matt 24:45-51 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Acts 20:26-27 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.

A primary responsibility of congregational leaders is to teach them the Bible. To me that means that we must teach the “whole” Bible, not just selected excerpts. If not, then who is responsible for teaching it?

Our congregation’s schedule provides for three teaching opportunities each week, plus occasional events outside the regular schedule. We are further limited by the fact that we do not own a building, so scheduling additional opportunities requires us to find (rent) a place. When we do teach, we have one or two large classes to meet the needs of the entire congregation. That just seems inadequate to me. If we continue in this manner, how will we ever get the entire church taught the entire Bible? We need a new approach.

The internet provides a possible answer.

Adoption of online training has exploded in the past decade. Tens of thousands of courses have been offered using an open source course management product called Moodle. In turn, Moodle has been interfaced to various social networking environments where classes can be conducted in a social setting. Facebook users can take classes using the PodClass interface. For a more futuristic environment, SecondLife users can take classes through the Sloodle interface.

I’m dipping my toe into the pool. Just a little. I would love to find a way to provide additional Bible study opportunities in the local congregation — ways that don’t require people to be physically present at the same time, and that don’t require renting a facility. The technology seems to be available. I want to learn how to apply that technology effectively, combining both online and “real life” interactions and sound adult educational principles. I want to evaluate whether it is a feasible way to enhance our existing Bible teaching methods.

I would like to hear from folks who have experience in these or other similar courseware environments. What worked, and what didn’t? What could have been done better?

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2 comments

  1. I think that's a great idea. Facebook would be a great way to get the younger members involved, although it might pose a problem for older members (but let's face it, any online class might pose a problem for those same members).I've been enjoying the open courses at Yale recently, and I think it's definitely possible to learn from an online course.Go for it!


  2. I haven't tried it yet, but a radio ministry I follow has a lesson series online on video with printable notes. One of the suggested ways of doing it is to have everyone (meant for small groups) watch the video in advance and come to the small group with the notes ready to discuss.I've also seen virtual campuses for ministry training and thought it would be an interesting effort to try (with classes say from Jacoby, Oaks, etc).



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