Best of Both

Jul 08 2020

Best of Both

How do we keep the best of both worlds? How can we retain the favorable features of traditional classroom teaching within a new delivery format? That is the challenge before us now as we evaluate the video course we had designed in order to comply with social-distancing regulations due to the pandemic.

From participant feedback on the Chinese Church History 1 video course that was taught at a local church last quarter, we discovered that almost all respondents appreciated the flexibility in terms of time and place: students could view the lessons at their convenience, and re-watch any episodes for better understanding.

The disadvantage of video-teaching is that it cannot accommodate real-time interaction. Most respondents lamented the lack of communication with tutors which negatively impacted their learning. Over 80 percent agreed that lack of classroom discussion was the main drawback of the video format, while 25 percent of respondents believed that studying alone dampened their enthusiasm for learning.

To improve our video courses, it was suggested that we include some post-teaching interactive elements.  For example, we could follow up with online discussions via social media platforms, or invite students to submit questions by email. Though we will continue to experiment before deciding on video courses for the long term, we value this survey as a first step in our journey of exploration.

Next quarter, we will teach Chinese Church History 2 at the same church using the traditional mode of in-person instruction. Afterwards, another survey will be conducted allowing students to compare their experiences (classroom versus video), and to express their preferences. May the Lord give us wisdom and vision for the new way forward.

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