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© Abel Mitja Varela

Face-to-screen learning

Seminaries go online

As Douglas Stuart’s online survey course on the Old Testament begins, the lecture hall fills with students from a previous year. He himself looks some years younger than he is now. “All right,” says the longtime professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, “let’s talk about Exodus and covenant.” One current student watches the video of Stuart’s class in her pajamas at 9:00 in the morning, while another views the material and writes responses at 7:00 in the evening. Stuart recorded the lecture in a physical classroom, before a live class that laughed at his jokes, asked questions and made comments. But when students respond to the online lecture today, they do so by e-mail and telephone. Stuart says he has not relaxed his expectations for the course; moreover, the school’s standards remain “pretty rigorous.”

 

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