Becoming a Global Success

Online seminary courses provide a convenient and accessible form of seminary education at a distance.  Benefits include the ability to work at your own pace, learn in your most suitable environment, and maintain your current relationships and current lifestyle without having to relocate.  Christian distance education online also requires the same commitment and work ethic that is expected in any classroom.  Theological education as a Global Education student is a manageable and profitable undertaking if you follow some simple advice.  

Get Mentally Set
Thoroughly review the syllabus before you register for a class.  Find our syllabi online.  Take into account the requirements for the course, and think realistically about the time you will be able to devote to distance education.  Being aware of the professor’s expectations is a key aspect of balancing school with the other areas of your life.

Begin to tentatively pencil in important dates (your course end date, your goal dates for taking your exams, etc.) on your calendar.  Reacquaint your family with the new commitments you are undertaking and make sure they are supportive of it.

Take the First Steps
Order all your books before you register for any online seminary course.  It is important to start on the right track immediately.  That cannot happen if you have to wait for an out of stock textbook.  If you are an MA degree student, schedule your mentor appointments as soon as you register.  This will provide you with accountability and reinforce the commitments you have made.

Find the Right Environment
Reformed Theological Seminary’s Global Education expects the same amount of work and dedication that a residential campus would expect.  You need to schedule time for the course just as if you were attending the course in person.  If you initially choose to do your coursework on Wednesday mornings you should stick to that time and try to schedule other appointments so that they do not conflict with it.

Also remember that a benefit to distance learning is the ability to learn when and where it is right for you.  Determine where you best like to work: whether it is an armchair to relax and study or a straight-backed chair at a desk where you are forced to focus.  Keep in mind your schedule and natural rhythm, as well.  If mornings are rushed and sleepy times then schedule for later in the day.

Call on Others
Locate a computer expert who is in close proximity and inform this person that you may be calling him or her for help like syncing files to your digital audio player, figuring out why the mic on your PC is not working and the like.

If there is a paper for the course, make use of the online seminary and contact David Ponter {link to new virtual librarian page}, the virtual librarian.  When you have an idea for a topic he can make sure that it is neither too broad nor too narrow, and suggest books or articles for your research.

Moving Forward
Once you have found the proper route for your virtual success, remember not to overdo it.  Many virtual students over study, over research, and over write.  Put forth the effort to your best ability, but remember that a completed work is the best work, whether it is in writing a paper or studying for an exam.  Continually reiterate the goals you have made to yourself.  The best motivation will come from remembering why you started this track, and it will help you finish.  Above all,

               Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
                                                                              Proverbs 16:3