Midwestern Seminary introduced “a new way of doing online education,” as it unveiled its latest online education initiative, “OnlineYou,” on April 9.
Seminary President Jason Allen said the ultimate focus of OnlineYou is to provide students a customized online education experience.
“In establishing OnlineYou, we have customized our online education program making it personalized to every student, to their specific calling of ministry, and to gear their online experience directly toward what God has called them to do,” Allen said. “At Midwestern Seminary, we are very proud of the fact that we have been on the cutting edge of online education for more than a decade. We feel like this new initiative positions us, once again, on the very forefront of theological education with our online delivery systems.”
Four key areas within the program, according to Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing, are what sets OnlineYou apart from more traditional online formats.
“The thing that I’m really most excited about within OnlineYou is the customizable tracts,” he said. “We’ve embedded into our online experience, strategic, contextualized assignments that allow students who are engaged in ministry to apply information learned in class while implementing skills learned in day-to-day ministry. On certain assignments, students can choose to apply class material as a pastor, teacher or scholar would.
“For example, if a student has identified that he is called to be a senior pastor or preacher, he’s going to find assignments facing him that are tailored to that task. If he is preparing for a teaching ministry, then he is going to find assignments tailored to training him for scholarship in a teaching ministry. There is really nothing like it out there today. It is online education designed for the millennial generation and beyond.”
Secondly, there will be a practicum component involved, where assignments within the online instruction will integrate and encourage one-on-one meetings between students and local church pastors. Duesing said this will afford a “for the Church component to every online class.”
Another key feature of the new initiative is “Online Connect,” in which professors from Midwestern Seminary’s campus, who are teaching online classes, will provide regular opportunities for students to meet with them one-on-one or in a small group setting – affording many online students a much more personalized experience.
The final key difference is that there will be opportunities for students to visit Midwestern Seminary’s Kansas City-based campus as part of their required assignments.
“We see them doing that through attending symposiums that are held in conjunction with our regular on-campus events here, like our For the Church Conference that will be held on Aug. 31-Sept. 1, and various other lecture series’ and occasions held throughout the academic year,” he said.
Allen added that the new online education format will ultimately be of immense benefit to students who aren’t able to uproot from their current station in life and ministry and relocate to campus.
“I think this style of learning is a game changer in online education. If you know anything about Midwestern Seminary, you know we exist for the Church, but if there was one cut-line underneath that it might be that we also exist for the student.
“This is proof-positive of our determination to serve the local church and to prepare our students in a way that is affordable, is accessible, and that now is personable ultimately to them in their context of learning. I pray that students will join us and be part of what God is doing here at Midwestern Seminary as we train pastors, ministers, and evangelists for the church.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – T. Patrick Hudson serves at Midwestern Seminary as Executive Assistant to the President.)