Sunday, September 14, 2014

Spiritual Formation and Online Learning

Good discussion. Too often this topic gravitates into the either/or category. Could it be that online learning could actually facilitate more embodied face-to-face interaction? How do we do that on a large scale? Or does it work best on a small scale?

I struggle with this because I teach spiritual formation classes online. I'm fortunate, though, because my classes are so small that I can give students a lot more personal attention -- at least if they allow it. I also travel to the Pacific Islands University campus on Guam to hang-out and have face-to-face conversations. The last time I was on campus I had a student from a previous semester seek me out just to continue a discussion we had started online months before. The online and the face-to-face worked together.

Unfortunately, I don't currently have the resources to travel to all the places where my students live. I'd need to go to Indonesia, Palau, and Micronesia -- in addition to Guam. But I'm currently scheming a way to get to Indonesia. I'll be in Guam again in November.

I've also been trying to recruit and form groups of students from immigrant church leaders in the US to do the South African Theological Seminary online programs. I'd function as an outside tutor and mentor for the groups. So far, though, I've been unsuccessful in getting the groups off the starting block. But it's still a goal.

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