Long-Distance Learning

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Discover how you can get more training without ever
leaving your ministry
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You’d like to get more education, but there’s no way you can move
to a college or seminary. Then why not bring higher education to
you with long-distance education? What should you know if you’re
going to pursue distance education?

At what level do you want to study? Distance-education programs
offer course work through the doctoral level.

In what format do you want to study? Distance-education programs
vary from extension studies (held on campuses or at extension
locations) to independent studies (correspondence-type
courses).

Do you want to audit or earn credit? Auditing a course entitles
you to receive the benefits of class meetings, lectures, and/or
course materials without having to fulfill all the assignments
(tests and papers). Usually, audit fees are significantly lower
than credit fees. Most schools accept only credit courses as
fulfillment of a requirement in a degree program.

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Do you want to earn a degree? If you want to earn a degree, keep
that degree and its requirements in mind. Request a catalog and
know in advance how distance-education courses relate to your
program. Find out if the distance-education courses must be
combined with campus residency. If a policy isn’t stated in the
catalog, request it in writing from an official school
representative.

Do you want an accredited institution? Accreditation by an
organization that’s recognized by the Department of Education shows
that the school meets common academic standards and is subject to
intense regulatory review. If you’re planning to seek acceptance
into other academic programs, professional recognition, or
employment that requires a degree from an accredited school, you’ll
want an accredited institution.

What’s the quality of the course or program? Instructors’ and
institutions’ reputations, alumni or student recommendations, and
pre-enrollment inspection are usually good ways to determine the
quality of a course or program. One of the best safeguards
regarding quality is a reasonable refund policy — especially with
independent study.

What are the course costs? As with most major purchases, it’s
often difficult to identify all the costs. Consider the obvious and
not-so-obvious costs such as supplies and travel expenses.

Distance-education opportunities have opened up many schools for
rooted students. It seems that the future will bring even more
educational avenues with accessibility and quality. May God bless
you as you seek training for more effective ministry.

Stephen Kemp is the associate dean of nontraditional and
distance education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in
Deerfield, Illinois.

SCHOOL’S IN
Here are a few schools that offer distance education for
children’s ministers.

Carlson Institute for Church Leadership-Offers B.A. and B.S.
degrees in Christian education by correspondence. Accredited. 910
Elliot Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55404; 800-446-1176, (612)
343-4430; e-mail: carlinst@ncbc.edu.

Berean University-Offers a B.A. in Bible/Christian education and
an M.A. in ministerial studies with an education emphasis by
correspondence. Accredited. 1445 Boonville Ave., Springfield, MO
65802; 800-443-1083, (417) 862-9533.

Luther Rice Seminary-Offers M.A. and M.Div. degrees in ministry
with a Christian education emphasis through distance-education.
Accredited. 3038 Evans Mill Road, Lithonia, GA 30038; 800-442-1577,
(770) 484-1204; e-mail: 70420.1270@Compuserve.com.

Trinity International University-Graduate-level independent
study courses for children’s ministry. Accredited. 2065 Half Day
Road, Deerfield, IL; 800-417-9999, (847) 317-8029.

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