Rethinking Teaching Online

Margarita A. Mooney, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Faculty Fellow in the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, recently blogged about her experience with rethinking how best to teach online.  She writes:

. . . I have flipped the order in which I present material to students and it definitely captured their attention better than before. I used to assign heavy readings, give a lecture, and then give them a podcast, video or interactive quiz to reinforce what the readings and lectures said. Although I’m using the exact same material as when I taught sociology of religion in the classroom, now for each topic we will cover I first assign a video, a podcast, or an interactive survey and require that students write a blog post in response. Once they are excited about the topic, then I assign them sociology texts that put the topic into a broader context using history, ethnography, and survey data, and I have students write short assignments applying sociological theories and concepts to the  specific topic we covered.

So What?

Churches tend to change more slowly than other entities.  Many congregations have just recently started offering online adult education classes.  Some of these opportunities are 100% online while others favor a blended format (some time together in a face-to-face environment along with synchronous and/or asynchronous engagement online).  As pastors, church educators, and congregational leadership bodies plan for the future, online offerings must be included.

  • As your congregation enters this new arena (or, for early adopters, as you improve upon your current online offerings) what lessons can you learn from those teaching online in higher education?
  • Create an overview of your adult educational offerings in 3 year increments (2006, 2009, 2012, 2015, 2018) by indicating what percentage of courses are (A) face-to-face, (B) blended and (C) online.  Encourage those involved in the educational ministry team or leadership board/body to make a similar list, then use the differences as a starting point for conversation about what is needed to move ahead in this area.

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