Learning Online with ABI

 

 

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Interactive Online Classes at ABI

Many of our students have come to discover that our online training offers such high interactivity and fellowship with faculty and other students that it sufficiently meets their need for community and fellowship that they would typically get in a face-to-face format. We do everything possible to foster an interactive environment where students feel included and engaged. ABI’s uses Moodle, a popular online classroom, for our courses. We incorporate the use of video, audio, PowerPoint, and other types of media that create an excellent learning environment. Our online students can communicate with their teachers to ask questions or get difficult concepts explained through email, phone calls, Skype, Google Hangout, etc. They get to watch videos or listen to audio at home and interact with teachers and other classmates through our online discussion forums. Our online courses are very different from what many other schools offer. In many institutions of higher education, when you hear “online course”, it means that the student is going to do all their learning from reading textbooks and the teacher’s notes. It also means little interaction with the teacher and other students. This is not what our courses are like at all! Because our courses are offered online, instead of going to class three or four times per week to listen to lectures, our students benefit from our convenient, interactive online lectures and have the freedom to learn throughout the week whenever it is suitable to their schedule. Do you work full-time? No problem! You can log in to learn online during your lunch break or in the evenings. Are you married or have children to care for? That’s easy! You can watch lectures or complete reading assignments after the kids go to bed or when you’re up early in the morning. Our online courses fit into your busy schedule, rather than the other way around. This reduces the inconvenience of dealing with traffic, gas expenditures, and stressful scheduling while still allowing you to enjoy practical and experiential learning at the same time.

 

 

What to Expect in Class

All our education is given on a weekly basis, and students have from Monday morning to the following Sunday night to complete required reading, submit any assignments, post to forum boards, etc. Most of our courses are eight weeks long and, therefore, go at an intensive pace. Students are expected to spend at least 10 hours per week completing the course work for one class. This includes watching lecture videos, completing reading assignments, interacting with other students on the forum boards, writing papers, etc. ABI follows a Competency-Based learning format that allows students to perform better and eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed out because of the work load, scheduling difficulties, and personal or family emergencies.  This educational format means that we favor a personalized structure “that creates flexibility, allows students to progress as they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time, place, or pace of learning” (U.S. Department of Education). This means that even though most of our courses are designed to be completed in eight weeks, if you get busy or feel overwhelmed, you can discuss with your instructor and submit the written assignments, quizzes, and exams later than they are due! For example, assignments are due weekly. However, with this format that focuses on a student developing the competency, rather than rushing through the material to meet a deadline, a student may simply contact their professor to request that she be allowed to submit an assignment on a later date so that she can take time to work on the assignment. This method reduces stress and focuses on the students learning and developing proficiency in the subject.  

Experiential Learning

Even though we are an online school, ABI believes that knowledge is not enough…it must be put into practice. Our students live in cities across the U.S., some across the world, and we encourage them to not only get well-equipped for ministry, but also to begin practicing it right in their own spheres of influence. Many of the assignments included in our courses will help guide students through practical exercises of their training. For example, when learning about disciplemaking they’ll get to share the gospel with someone and write a paper about the experience. When learning how to start a nonprofit ministry they’ll get to go through each step with a mock ministry of their own. For some of our theology courses, students are encouraged to find a mentor; they also are equipped and encouraged to mentor other Christians. We motivate students to be involved in their local church, to attend regularly, to participate in outreach ministries and prayer meetings, etc. in order to put their learning into practice.