I thought that this piece from R. Scott Clark was really an excellent piece on seminary education. Clark (D.Phil., Oxford) is a professor of historical theology at the WASC/ATS accredited Westminster Seminary – California. As I recall, he is quite publicly not a fan of the distance learning concept, but I wouldn't dismiss him out of hand for that - his thoughts here focus on quality of learning which can be applied to any kind of program. At any rate, I found them very thought-provoking. This first installment of several is still fairly long, so I just included two snippets with the link. "Education, per se, has not always been valued for itself. Presently, undergraduate education is highly valued, judging by what the market is willing to pay, as a means to future success. Judging by her graduates, however, what is being sold to the student isn’t always education, at least not as that idea has been traditionally defined. What the culture values is the economic result of having attended an undergraduate school and having obtained a credential . . . This antipathy for genuine education appears in a variety of ways but one way in which it has manifested itself is in the proliferation of ad hoc seminaries where the faculty is unqualified, not residential, or non-existent. The problem is, since many undergraduates have not received a proper education either in high school or in college as they are considering where to attend seminary they are poorly prepared to evaluate what constitutes a good seminary education." “A genuine education requires a student to think well and clearly, to be stretched, to develop critical faculties. More than once I’ve heard from prospective and students in various schools that they chose this or that school because, in effect, they were sure that school would not challenge them to re-think or even think through their convictions. In other words, such students choose a school because they are confident that it will reinforce their existing convictions or even validate their prejudices . . . I submit that such an approach does not constitute genuine learning . . . Real learning is often painful because it requires a genuine student to put to death familiar and cherished notions and to confront new and unfamiliar ones. It causes self-examination and that is usually painful. It requires the acquisition not only of new skills, which can be difficult, but it also requires the formation of new ways of thinking which is never easy. True education is a counter-cultural undertaking. One must break from the prevailing culture of “busy-ness” and enterprise (whether commercial or religious) in order to become educated because real learning takes time, patience, and sacrifice.” Oh, and since someone will undoubtedly wonder, I have no affiliation with WSC.