Article: "The iSeminary Cometh"

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by RoscoeB, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. RoscoeB

    RoscoeB Senior Member

  2. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    There is no reason why this would not work as well as any other DL degree. I earned my BA in Religion from a Christian university and I can verify that there was nothing in my studies that would have presented any problem in a DL format.
  3. telefax

    telefax New Member

    2 cents

    First off, I respect both Michael’s intelligence and his right to disagree with me. We do disagree, though. My comments are based on experiencing seminary education both through DL and residential classes, some from the same school. I’m now looking back on my basic seminary education having applied it in a ministerial context for a couple years, then relying on it as an academic foundation for a doctoral program.

    I have reservations about entirely online foundational programs in the helping professions. Too much in these areas relies on actual interaction. Relying upon one’s own pastor to provide in-person mentoring is problematic as well, as they aren’t subject matter experts in everything. No one can be. If one is providing, say, pastoral counseling, the stakes are very high. In that, I agree with the gentlemen quoted in the article:

    Also, while there are numerous studies claiming equal learning outcomes for DL students, the ones I have seen are mostly in areas involving transfer of information which lends itself to easily quantifiable learning outcomes. Math can be measured with a multiple choice test, and properly administering oxygen to a patient can be easily measured pass-fail. Programs in the humanities generally are more focused on critical thinking, synthesis, and analysis which require different and more subjective means of evaluating learning outcomes. Add to this the ministerial components of seminary, and evaluation becomes more complex. I am not aware that anyone has done studies relating to seminary student learning outcomes.

    Last, I want to clarify what I said about “foundational” seminary degrees by DL. My reservations here don’t apply to an advanced research degree based on a solid foundation. If one wants to do a low residency or non-resident research doctorate with one of the fine British, South African, or Australian schools, those are entirely different animals. (Not rationalization on my part, my doctoral program is residential.)

    An anonymous poster with a silly screen name, an M.Div., and a Th.M.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  4. thomaskolter

    thomaskolter New Member

    First a personal view as a cleric and an ordained minister, and a Christian Anarchist as a theological position and this in my opinion. Any degree in religion ,unless secular as an interdisciplinary area of study, is a bullsh**t degree. We have the translated books of the Bible and Gnostic Texts in all major and many minor languages so why do we need an educated clergy lauding their knowledge over the common worshipper and sitting on their laurels practically beggers taking money for nothing they should get paid for?And God will call those to serve as needed I serve Him and don't do it for money. ISeminary degrees or not its all the same to me and I don't see the issue save its DL, teaching people in formal institutions of learning I want to see closed entirely. This DL option is just making the evil of the system worse as far as I'm concerned.

    (gets off my soap box)

    As for the quality of the DL degrees are they not a better option than many Bible Colleges like ,say, Patriot Bible University?
  5. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    You sound like a raving lunatic... but I agree with everything you said.
  6. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Only my BA is from this kind of school, so I'm not in a position to argue with anyone about DL seminary. I'm sure it would have worked fine for me for the same reasons DL works for me in secular studies. I, like many others, am a self-learner and a self-starter. I never got much out of lectures and the professors I had did not add much to the quality of my education. I don't think DL seminary is necessarily evil, but I'm, admittedly, speaking from ignorance here.
  7. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    [Disclaimer: haven't read the article yet...]

    I completed my BA completely online in a religious studies milieu. Then, I had the chance to either enroll in National U's alternative scheduling (1 class a month in accelerated format - usually three nights a week 6p-10p) to do a 2nd bachelor's in Comp Sci or to enroll in a local seminary. Man...was I itching to get to seminary (which I did).

    Although I am giving thought to returning to graduate biblical studies eventually, there was little I saw residentially that couldn't be adequately replicated online. iGeneration takes over - why not see more seminary training online? Had the U.S. Army been more accomodating of online MDiv programs (I understand the Navy was but wasn't really interested in chaplaincy there...), I would be winding down toward the end of my military career as a chaplain.

    As far as "why do we need an educated clergy" reasoning, John Q. Parishioner doesn't like to read the type of stuff to which you've alluded. I am constantly amazed by the simple errors people make in biblical translation.

    In a perfect world, I would return to church ministry - but alas, my denominational flavoring balks at divorce/remarriage. I enjoy teaching a SS class instead.

    For the record, I am baptistic by flavor but do not believe that women are excluded from ministry or that tithing is a NT principle. Additionally, I have many doubts about certain issues - but have settled the idea philosophically that those things that require greater faith do not necessarily require greater reason.

    -Steven King
  8. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Ah, the other class clown strikes again! :)
  9. StevenKing

    StevenKing Member

    Interesting article. What looms ahead: perhaps many schools challenging the standards of ATS. Or schools will fall by the way of the mill shill: just invent one that "sounds" official and pray no one checks.

    Having obtained my collegiate education completely online - I am convinced it is an excellent way to be trained.

    My son did not perform well in the classroom since the realities of adolescence bogged him down. When I enrolled him in a military-style program that utilized computer driven, self paced instruction he finished high school 1 1/2 years early and is now in college.

    Online learning with all its nuances aren't for all...but seminary is easily replicated online. My traditional seminary experience (approx 1/4 of an MDiv) was reading intensive and lecture based. Class discussion added a little value but was mostly a bully pulpit for divergent theological opinions to be broadcast.

    -Steve King
  10. telefax

    telefax New Member

    To Mr. Kolter - Since you’ve admitted here on DegreeInfo that you purchased a doctorate along with your ordination, I hope readers take a grain of salt along with your claim in this thread to be an ordained minister.

    The website for the “The Simple Faith in Jesus Ministry” you operate (and list in your signature line with available mill doctorates) is interesting.
    To all the other contributors to this thread - that's fine, we can agree to disagree. No worries.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010

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