Breaking Down Barriers to Biblical Education

Have you heard of our Open Learning Division? We felt God’s call to explore new and innovative ways of providing training to the local church beyond the traditional model of residential on-campus learning. At its heart, Open Learning is about removing barriers to biblical education by offering training in a non-traditional format.

“Our heart for hands-on ministry training shapes our vision for the Open Learning Division,” says David Nickerson, our Director of Open Learning. “I like thinking about Open Learning as how Jesus taught from a boat as well as in the synagogue. We’re still the same folk – just more people can hear us now!”

In January, we launched our Live Online courses. After transforming Classroom 108 into a SMART classroom, students at a distance can not only view their class as it happens but participate as well! By logging in from home, students can ask questions and contribute to discussions and group activities. We currently offer nine courses in this format!

In the short time since the launch, Live Online is already breaking down the barrier of distance for students and staff. One of our Live Online students is finishing her program from Saskatchewan, where she moved after getting married. Rather than having to abandon her degree or transfer to another college, she can complete her education at Emmanuel while living two provinces away.

Live Online has also reduced disruptions caused by inclement weather. In the midst of freezing rain and heavy snowfall this term, students could attend class without risking their safety on winter roads. One day, we had a faculty member teach their class from home!

Another exciting Open Learning initiative is our new Be In Christ Certificate in Practical Theology launching this fall. This eLearning certificate is being developed in partnership with Be In Christ Canada (BIC) to train their ministry leaders.

eLearning courses are self-paced, online courses that remove the barrier of a schedule. BIC ministry leaders or church members wishing to gain a deeper understanding of their denomination’s history and traditions can take a set of six courses at their own pace, easily working their coursework around their job, family and other commitments.

We are also partway through a series of five Saturday workshops on Crisis & Trauma Recovery. These workshops are a fantastic professional development opportunity for pastors, youth leaders or anyone who comes into contact with people experiencing trauma in their line of work. Taking all five courses will earn the student a Practical Certificate in Crisis & Trauma Recovery, but the courses can also be taken individually. This format allows students to get the training they need without having to commit to a full program. We have three workshops coming up in March! Click here for details.

Open Learning is creating many exciting opportunities at Emmanuel. We look forward to all that God has in store for us in the years to come!