Our Summer 2017 term (‘Trinity Term’) has begun today, and the Institute is offering our summer students our newly-revamped Module The Church and Society open to all students on the Certificate Program in Orthodox Studies by Distance Learning.
This is the first offering of a wholly re-envisaged module which brings together not only a wide breadth of engagement with social issues and concerns as examined from an Orthodox viewpoint, but also inaugurates a new emphasis being worked into all the Certificate Program modules as a whole from this summer, which:
- places even more emphasis than before on live student and instructor interactions, including five live video classes and two live video debates; and
- transitions from an emphasis on forum- and text-based assessments to the full interactivity offered in live-class environments as a more central means of engagement and assessment.
In this new ‘Church and Society’ module, a decreased emphasis on forum-based interactivity gives way to a greatly heightened focus on live classes and — as a new element of instruction and assessment for the Institute — live student debates. Especially relevant to the study of social issues, these live debates take advantage of our on-line classroom setting to allow students, under the guidance and moderation of their instructor, to debate with each other over topics of contemporary social relevance, sharpening their ability to articulate the Church’s teachings on these matters in real-life environments. Prompted to study various social topics through background texts, students arrive for these live debates having been assigned a position to articulate and defend — helping to form deeper understandings not only of the Church’s teachings, but also of the critical challenges posed to them by society, and the way Christians can properly articulate Orthodox teaching in response.
These debates join a suite of expanded live classes on the themes addressed in the module, as well as the transition of forum discussions to a chiefly supplementary, rather than assessment-primary role in the module progression. In addition, the one-on-one tutorial involved in the module will benefit from the new live scheduling system the Institute has engaged for its students over the summer, enabling easier access to tutorial times with instructors — as well as the ability to attend tutorials via Apple FaceTime, for easier access and better quality than Skype sessions (though these also remain possible).