Everyone is aware that theological education is changing . . . and changing rapidly. Central is one of the few schools successfully navigating this transformational time. Rising to this challenge of change is especially demonstrated by the faculty’s recent curriculum revision of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program.
The revised M.Div. curriculum is built upon five pillars:
All individual courses contain threaded themes of core values:
Within each of these core values are specific themes. For example, in the core value of Personhood, a unit of study within a course might highlight gender equality, sexual identity, racial diversity, or disability. This threaded approach ensures that all Central students engage these core values in a systematic manner throughout their theological formation.
The entire curriculum of Central is shaped within a twenty-first century delivery system—what we call a technologically enhanced education. Students can take a course face-to-face (local) or online (remote). This delivery allows students options that maximize time, space, and best teaching practices.
In practice, how does the technologically enhanced experience work in the classroom? For one, the classroom is now everywhere. The seminary has created a space called the Zoom Room that provides a state of the art conferencing experience for students. Cameras, microphones, and speakers in the Zoom Room allow interactions between students taking the course remotely (anywhere in the world with Internet connections) or those who choose to be in the face-to-face classroom setting. Remote students can access the course and their colleagues on their desktop, laptop, tablet, or any mobile device. The Zoom Room allows for synchronous sessions related to live classroom discussions and interactions.
The technologically enhanced experience also extends to asynchronous class sessions. Asynchronous means that learning for a class session will be experienced throughout the week at varying times depending on the student’s schedule. The main computer-learning platform is called Moodle. Moodle allows for asynchronous videos, audios, and discussion forums to take place at convenient times for students.
Since the time of Jesus with his disciples, teaching about ministry has continued to change and innovate. Central has learned from the past and anticipated the future in the creation of new M.Div. curriculum for the contemporary church.