At any meal in a college cafeteria, some studious diner will be flipping through a set of homemade flashcards. The same system that drives home multiplication tables also works great for Greek terms, modern American authors, chemistry symbols, or whatever the next quiz will cover. An electronic version of the flashcard model, the Christian History Tutor CD-ROM from Luther Productions, works pretty well for church history, too.
Originally assembled for an online course at Luther Seminary, the material on this CD is divided into two levels: basic and advanced. Each level is divided into four sections: Early Church (30-500), Middle Ages (500-1500), Era of Reform (1500-1600), and Global Christianity (1600-2000). As these divisions would suggest, the CD is geared toward Reformation-minded Protestants, though Roman Catholic figures appear in all sections as well. (Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the Eastern Orthodox or other ancient, non-Western churches, which appear only sporadically.)
In addition to a helpful overview article, each section features a chronological table with entries under "People" and "Story," as well as lists of "General Knowledge" and "Places." Each item in these lists is linked to a flashcard-like page with a label, an image, and a short explanatory text. The texts and labels are generally solid though sometimes frustratingly brief (only four lines on Augustinian Theology, for example). Images vary widely in quality, from useful photos of artifacts and architecture to fuzzy, text-based clip art. Electronic images are always tricky, but it seems that the makers of the CD had an extremely limited art budget.
The last major feature of each section is a set of self-tests with between 10 and 100 questions. ...1