A Survey About my Theological Studies

Yesterday I received an e-mail request to complete an Alumni Survey.  The survey, sent by the university from which I received my doctoral degree, is a standard instrument provided by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).  The survey included a significant number of questions related to the usefulness of coursework for my current position and my overall experience.   Since I now work full-time in higher education, I found many of the questions intriguing, especially those about theology and technology.  A few examples of each follow:

  • Select your satisfaction with the following statement in terms of your experience: “Technology enabled me to get the services I needed when I needed them.” (The reply options were listed using a Likert scale ranging from very satisfied to not satisfied at all)
  • In your opinion, has the online experience given you an education better than, about equal to, or not as good as a face-to-face educational experience?
  • How would you characterize your theological views? (The reply options were listed using a Likert scale ranging from very conservative to very liberal.)
  • Since you graduated from seminary, have you become theologically . . .  (Answers: more conservative, less conservative, more liberal, less liberal, about the same).
So What?
While I completed the majority of my studies in traditional face-to-face classrooms, I did benefit from taking online courses.  At that time (2003-2006), technology for online learning was far more basic than it is today.  Nonetheless those experiences provided me with the opportunity to learn not only course content but also to observe the different ways professors teach online.
In my current role in higher education, I spend a considerable amount of time teaching faculty how to effectively utilize specific instructional technologies in their online courses.  While all of these professors have a great number of experiences in learning in a face-to-face environment and were able to observe dozens of models, many had few or no such experience with virtual coursework during their student days.   Likewise, in my current parish ministry role and in networking with others in ministry, I find many people with similar deficits in experience.  Very few clergy or non-ordained ministry professionals were mentored by people who displayed for them different ways to incorporate technology into educational ministry and the broader ministries of a local congregation.  In both contexts, those who are new benefit from the opportunity to learn from colleagues while the group is exploring new terrain.  How can you help facilitate this type of connectivity?
Note:  For those who wonder how I replied to the questions: I provided the highest possible ratings regarding my technological experiences as a doctoral student, resisted traditional theological labels, and indicated that I have become theologically more progressive (liberal to use the word given in the survey).


  1. I think you should write a post about using the word progressive instead of liberal…

Speak Your Mind