Distance education provides educational opportunities for individuals who are unable to participate in an on-campus program to acquire the same levels of knowledge, skills, attitudes and character as those students enrolled in on-campus programs.
The Distance Education Program goals include:
a. Compliance with state and federal regulations,
b. Sufficient training for students and faculty,
c. A successful experience for all distance students.
At LBS, distance education is conducted in a distributed learning format—students experience both synchronous and asynchronous learning. Distributed learning is a multi-media method of instructional delivery, involving practices such as on-campus intensive courses, web-based instruction, video conferencing, and video streaming.
In synchronous online learning, students enroll in courses and attend them in real time, at the same time as on-campus students. This format facilitates close communication with fellow students and faculty, and also fosters a sense of community. Both distance students and classroom students benefit by seeing and hearing one another.
In asynchronous online learning students view recorded lectures and complete assignments without real-time contact with a class of fellow students.
Students at LBS enroll in online courses in the same sequence as on-campus students. Most will attend live classes via Adobe Connect and view recorded lectures when their schedule prohibits live participation. Other students, due to time zone issues, will only view recorded classes. However, all will participate in writing and responding to posts which include the professor. Distance students will be able to ask questions and discuss course content with the professor in an “Adobe Connect Office Hour” (See Student Handbook).
Distance students will have the same professors as on-campus students attending the same courses.
One week prior to the start of each semester all new students are required to come to the campus to participate in PT 900 Introduction to Seminary Education. This course is offered in a two and a half day intensive format with pre-course readings assigned and other assignments will be completed during the subsequent semester. This course is an overview of skills and aptitudes necessary for effectiveness in seminary. Topics covered include seminary program outcomes; managing time effectively; reading, researching and writing at a master’s level; and thinking critically and theologically. The course will also be an orientation into the use of technology to enhance the learning process. This orientation will demonstrate how to access the administrative and educational support infrastructure at LBS.
While most residential students are enrolled full-time while working part-time, LBS expects that most distance students will maintain full or nearly full-time employment while pursuing their academic program part-time. To complete a part-time distance degree program successfully requires a strong commitment to very careful and disciplined time and priority management. Distance students should expect to spend about 2.5 hours outside of class for each hour spent in class. The “in class” time will be either participating in a class using video conferencing technology or watching a recording online of a class that the student is unable to attend.