Interview with David Nickerson

So what exactly is Open Learning? This month we introduce you to David Nickerson, Director of Open Learning at Emmanuel.

David, what would you say is the most exciting aspect of the role that you’ve taken on?
It’s the adventure of innovating in Christian higher education. For years I’ve helped various Christian ministries improve their adult education through my experience in corporate training, project management and curriculum development.

How did this Open Learning division come about at Emmanuel?
Open learning was a consideration of the Futures Plan, by understanding where higher education was heading in Canada, and getting positioned to respond to those changing needs. What past President Mark Boughan envisioned, like increasing access to underserved groups, is now being planned and developed.

So, what is Open Learning and what does it look like?
We’re initially working with the definition of Open Learning as ‘increased access to quality biblical educators’. Increasing access at Emmanuel will likely include live online academics, professional certifications and even Ted-talk-like stuff.

Will this eliminate the need for professors?
Never! I think of professors as being like the source code of great academic learning.

How will this change Emmanuel?
Our mission as a Bible College hasn’t changed, nor will it. Our heart for hands on ministry training shapes our vision for Open Learning too. Simply put, I like thinking about Open Learning as how Jesus taught from a boat as well as in the synagogue. I’m simply helping build a boat for the professors. We’re still the same folk – just more people can hear us now!

Stay tuned for updates as new Open Learning opportunities are developed in the coming year!