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Can Online Seminary Courses Aid Spiritual Growth?

Online education has opened up the possibility of attending seminary for those limited by their geographic location. With several seminaries offering online courses or distance education programs, questions have been raised concerning the spiritual guidance gained by attending seminary online. Can a spiritual community be formed that encourages and stimulates each students' faith? According to the research conducted by Mary Lowe her article A Summary of the Findings of the Study:Assessing the Impact of Online Courses on the Spiritual Formation of Adult Students, Lowe found in her study that students did mature in their faith and other factors also influenced this spiritual growth apart from the online course itself.

 

 

According to the article published in Christian Perspectives in Education, previous seminary models operated on the assumption that the physical presence of the students was paramount for spiritual growth. Lowe's research suggests that online courses can foster spiritual growth as long as the faculty member diligently encourages the formation of community. This community helps students feel connected to the faculty member and other students in the course, and the integrated connectedness to the online spiritual community may also help the student  make real world applications of the material. Lowe also cites that the students' lives apart from the seminary courses also have significant influence on the spiritual maturation rates of the students.

 

You can read more at A Summary of the Findings of the Study:Assessing the Impact of Online Courses on the Spiritual Formation of Adult Students

 

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