Midwestern Seminary has expanded its Spring 2021 course offerings to include an assortment of classes offered to online students featuring live, interactive lectures from noted members of its faculty.
The courses, offered in the Spring D Term at Midwestern and Spurgeon College, will be delivered via a new online learning format known as Online Plus. The new format will include live, two-hour lectures with additional 30-minute Question-and-Answer sessions with faculty each week.
According to Provost Jason Duesing, Online Plus is the product of months of planning and serves to complement current online offerings while providing additional benefits for online students: “We’ve been asking ‘Can we complement our online degree programs with even more live access and instruction from our faculty?’”
The answer to the inquiry developed under the leadership of Vice President for Student Success John Mark Yeats, who formed a committee to examine the best pedagogical short-term gains to come from teaching adaptations in light of the pandemic.
The seminary issued student surveys which showed online students desired more connection to residential faculty through live-synchronous opportunities but did not want to leave existing MBTS asynchronous online programs, given their effectiveness in terms of flexibility and complementary learning formats. The data from student surveys, paired with interdepartmental evaluation, allowed Yeats to present a long-term blueprint for what is now Online Plus. “Listening to our students’ feedback is what ultimately moved our teams to consider the options before us and we are glad to have a clear direction forward,” said Yeats.
“Now, the answer is ‘Yes,’ Duesing added. “No matter where you live, you can now complete your degree having taken live, interactive classes, direct with our faculty, focused in a virtual setting on and for online students.”
Duesing also noted that while the seminary’s previously announced Residential Plus format allowed for adaptation to changing circumstances, Online Plus projects to be a long-term addition to the institution’s academic offerings: “Where Residential Plus classes have helped us navigate COVID-19 to allow students to join residential classes, Online Plus is a long-term complement to our existing high-quality program to give distance students direct connection to faculty in classes designed for them.”
The Spring ’21 schedule of Online Plus courses covers a wide range of topics including New Testament, leadership, pastoral ministry, women’s discipleship, and biblical counseling. Faculty members slated to teach are: Patrick Schreiner, Charles Smith, Jared Wilson, Margaret Köstenberger, and Dale Johnson.
The eight-week Spring Online D Term begins February 15 and ends April 8. To learn more about Online Plus courses, visit mbts.edu/onlineplus.