Guest / Limited Access /
Christian Colleges Try Massive Online Courses
Christian Colleges Try Massive Online Courses

When Jon Craton enrolled in an online class on artificial intelligence last fall, he was just one of 160,000 students—a far cry from his previous experience at Taylor University. At the Christian liberal arts school in Upland, Indiana, 59 percent of classes have fewer than 20 students.

But his AI class, taught by Stanford University's Sebastian Thrun and Google's Peter Norvig, was the first course of its kind—a massive open online course (MOOC) offering expert-taught, elite-level classes free to anyone. Now, other leading institutions are jumping on board, launching MOOC platforms such as Udacity, edX, and Coursera.

Christian colleges are embracing MOOC elements as well, though many schools remain concerned about sacrificing the benefits of in-person learning communities.

Dean of online learning Jeff Groeling says Taylor hopes to integrate MOOC elements into its existing 150 online courses in ways that stay faithful to its Christian commitments. "Christ discipled people face to face," he said. "Granted, tech didn't exist then; but we're trying to follow Christ's model."

Students' in-class experiences often set Christian schools apart from competitors, says David Nystrom, provost at Biola University in Los Angeles. The school recently launched Open Biola, a MOOC-style platform that offers archived classroom content for free.

Nystrom says Open Biola, which differs from the school's for-credit online courses, embodies Jesus' teaching of "disinterested goodness," or giving without expecting anything in return. "We are doing this because we think that there's material here that could be of benefit for God's work worldwide," ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedWhat Post-Seminary Evangelicalism is Missing: A guest post by Sharon Hodde Miller
What Post-Seminary Evangelicalism is Missing: A guest post by Sharon Hodde Miller
When you discourage seminary, young church leaders miss out on at least one important thing: history.
TrendingA Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?
A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?
The grand jury has made a decision in Ferguson, now we have to make ours. How will we respond?
Editor's PickAmerica the Beautiful, America the Violent
America the Beautiful, America the Violent
Ferguson may be about race, but it is also about violence. And we should have something to say about both.
Comments
Christianity Today
Christian Colleges Try Massive Online Courses
hide thisOctober October

In the Magazine

October 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.