chimes.sum2013.web0729 - page 25

r. Christopher Ocker, profes-
sor of church history at San
Francisco Theological Semi-
nary, has always incorporated art, me-
dia, and technology in his seminary
classroom. This fall, Ocker will also
teach his history course online.
The course, “Christi-
anities: From Jewish Sect
to Colonial Religion,” is
the same History I course
Ocker will teach on cam-
pus at SFTS this fall. Like
the residential class, the
online course will be an
introduction to Chris-
tianity in the context of
world history and reli-
gions. The class will cover
church history in the sec-
ond century to 1700 with a particular
emphasis on the Mediterranean world,
Central Asia, North Africa, and Eu-
rope as pluralistic social and cultural
environments. Students interested in
understanding Christianity as a con-
stantly re-emerging phenomenon, a
living faith that constantly adapts to
new situations, may find it especially
helpful. The course cultivates analyti-
cal skills and critical perspectives es-
sential to effective ministry today.
Like students who are enrolled in
the residential course, students in the
online course will learn from lectures,
work with primary sources,
and be tested through ex-
aminations or have options
to write term papers. How-
ever, while students in the
residential course will take
part in discussions and oth-
er exercises on campus, stu-
dents in the online course
will do it online. Most of
the online course will be
asynchronous, allowing
off-campus students to
fit weekly lectures and the discussion
forum flexibly into their schedules. At
least three live streaming video confer-
ences will complement the asynchro-
nous elements of the class.
“What students learn in this on-
line course will be the same as what
they would learn if they were in the
residential course,” Ocker says. “The
only difference is the online medium.”
Ocker is excited to be exploring
this new method of teaching and sees
the potential advantages of online
courses for students. “This is a new
teaching tool that reflects a new way of
learning. The possibilities are incred-
ible, convenient, and fun.”
Dr. Christopher
Join the class
To enroll in this course as
a registered SFTS/GTU
student, register through
Web Advisor Aug.19 – 30.
For non-SFTS/GTU students
who wish to take this course
for academic credit or to
audit this course for non-
academic credit, download
and complete the form to
enroll the course.  The forms
can be found on the SFTS
homepage at
SFTS CHIMES | Summer 2013 23
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