What is Online Education?
The Institute of Lutheran Theology’s online education may differ from what you expect. ILT provides a live, interactive classroom that replicates everything in a traditional classroom and is a fully integrated online campus where students and instructors can communicate with each other. This is not like the old correspondence courses, where there might be no real contact with an instructor and no contact with other students. It is not even like the online classes where you watch a recording of a lecture and then have chat room discussions with other students. It is an actual classroom where students gather together with their instructor and learn in the same way that people have been learning for centuries. At ILT, students learn through continual dialog between students and instructor in a classroom environment. Let’s go through the description of ILT’s online education one word at a time.
ILT uses Adobe Connect Pro for its “classrooms.” The “campus” is an online platform called Populi. By using these two online platforms, ILT students are able to be a part of the ILT community without having to uproot their families and move to a physical campus. Our students also have the option of doing their internship or embedded ministry while taking classes. ILT has found that the students who have an internship during their academic studies are able to apply the things they have learned in a controlled learning environment and gain deeper and lasting insight.
Students at ILT participate in the classes they take live, not by recording. The classes are recorded and students are able to go back and listen to a lecture over again, but this is not a substitute for the actual in-class experience.
Students at ILT participate in the classroom as active members. Students cannot only see and hear the instructor but can also see and hear each other. So, just as in a traditional classroom, the students are interacting with the instructor and with each other. In addition, the instructors, or students, can present PDF documents, Power Point presentations, videos, or use a marker board.
ILT is offers thousands of online resources, including full books and periodicals, through Ebrary, an online library. ILT also mails physical books to its students (ILT pays for shipping books to the students and the students covers the return shipping costs). Each student has access to thousands of volumes to help them in the studies the course work requires of them. (Access to these resources is open to pastors as well, please visit our library page if you are interested in learning more.)
In many ways the online ILT environment is like traditional classroom settings, but with many advantages. It is less expensive. It allows students to live and work in the world and in congregations while they learn. Most importantly, it brings students together from all over North America – and the world – to delve more deeply into God’s Word and become better equipped to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.