Distance Students Know What Makes a Great Online Course20 Oct

Distance Students Know What Makes a Great Online Course
Current students in seminary distance programs share their ideas on what is needed to make a great online course. Add your voice in a post and share what you’ve learned to assist future seminary students and faculty!

Technology that works, is easy to use, and is accessible from anywhere while on the go.
Distance students are juggling jobs, ministry demands, family and other relationships. We need to be able to access our online course materials and assignments as we move through our day, from our laptop or cell phone, and wherever we are.”

“I had to drop a course because the professor would not allow access to the course materials offline so I could not do my Greek exercises while on a flight, and I travel for my job!”

Courses designed for the uniqueness of the online environment.  Transferring a residential course to online creates great problems for the students!
Assignments and lectures need to make sense and fit the design of an online course.  CD’s of lectures recorded in a residential class don’t work online. Classroom length lectures (40-60 minutes) are not workable in an online course. Faculty needs to realize that an online course is not a modified residential course.”

“The best on-line courses have been able to develop a sense of community. This has happened in a variety of ways through the discussion boards, and during the Intensives. To go beyond just meeting a class assignment to creating community takes some real intentionality on the professors’ and the students’ parts, but it makes all the difference in a distance course.”

“A well organized, balanced, and logical course set-up and syllabus – that still provides some flexibility in order to serve community.”

“Timely feedback from your professor on assignments. Without face-to-face contact, distance students need more feedback. Waiting weeks for a grade is very frustrating. You end up really floundering without direction not knowing what the professor wants from the assignment and this creates a lot of anxiety.”

Faculty who understand the distant student and create their course for working adults not full time students.
“If more professors understood the lives of distant students they would be better able to teach. Those who show grace in enforcing deadlines, for example, seem more interested in learning than rules. Many distance learning students can only devote one or two days to their class each week. If there are expectations for posts to be made multiple times in the week those students cannot comply and lose one of the theoretical advantages to online classes-flexibility.”

“Institutions offering multiple courses simultaneously must work with the various professors to balance the work load throughout a semester. An exam, 20+page paper, and a major quiz within the same 7 calendar days is a complete and total ‘killer’ for the online learner.”

Faculty (and administration) who are comfortable using interactive technology and make use of it to connect often with distance students.
“Faculty (and staff) need to communicate with us. Don’t treat us as an after-thought and secondary to the residential students.  Too often it seems that distance students are invisible to the way a course is led and the way program decisions are made.”

The professors need to love to be learners themselves. This would mean that they are passionate about being taught a new way of teaching and then teaching in this new way.”

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Quote by Evangelical Seminary Dean

“If Meri MacLeod speaks on distance learning, listen. Her mastery of the topic is matched by her enthusiasm. When we were contemplating online education, Meri was the first person I contacted and brought to campus. And now we’re moving ahead. I heartily recommend Meri to any school wishing to move into digital education.”

John V. Tornfelt, VPAA, Dean of the Faculty
Evangelical Seminary
Myerstown, PA

North Park Theological Seminary

“Dr. MacLeod is first an informed and able educator and designer of learning experiences. This is significant. It means that she comes from the perspective that technology supports, it doesn’t drive education.”

Thumbnail-Theo Ed Matters (1)

Linda Cannell
Academic Dean (retired)
North Park Theological Seminary