Getting My Feet Wet in Class

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Day of Class Recap

Yep, it's finally here.  I felt like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning; I was so excited to get started.  Spent a lot of time at work yesterday looking at the clock, waiting for the day to end so I could start focusing on the class.

Okay, okay...  I cheated a little on my lunch break and did one of my reading assignments.  I just couldn't help myself - sue me.

One would think that the first day of an online class would be a little boring.  Consider me surprised that in fact, there was a lot of interesting stuff going on.  It was nice to finally get my feet wet in this experience.

BE101 - Ready, Steady, Go!

Monday, August 29, 2016

False Start - Kind of...

Officially, online classes begin tomorrow, not today.  But, DTS has posted the course module content to Canvas this past weekend so students can begin reviewing the material a few days ahead of time. We've been asked to wait to begin recording and submitting our work, but at least we can get a jump on the coming weeks.  So basically, it's "Ready, Steady, Go!" for BE101.

In addition to sharing some initial observations about the BE101 online course and my plans for the coming weeks, I'll also share my thoughts on the first live stream orientation for new online students which was held this past weekend.

Hodgepodge and Potpourri

Friday, August 26, 2016

 Random Thoughts Before Starting

Today is the Friday before school starts and I'm looking forward to enjoying my last weekend of freedom.  I don't have anything specific to discuss today so I'm simply going to share some random thoughts and little left-out tidbits.  Hence the title, "hodgepodge and potpourri".

Organizing the Unkown

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting Organized

The early temptation in preparing for an online class is to just sit back and manage the tasks when they become available.  Clearly, there is an organizational structure to the class which will naturally encourage students to keep pace, but is this enough?  After all, time can be a fickle friend.  When you really need it, it always seems to turn up missing.  Therefore, it makes sense to get organized.

I honestly feel a little bit like my kids right now.  It’s binders, paper, sheet protectors, and pencils galore.  The only thing I’m really missing is a new set of clothes – although I still have a few more days…

But seriously, there is more to getting organized than just loading up on the supplies.  I’ll need to set up a schedule which includes budgeting for class time, reading, homework, and chapel.  I’m also going to need to factor in that there are a number of additional systems and resources I’m going to need to get familiar with given it’s my first semester.  So today I’ll share my thoughts on how I’m getting organized.

Gearing Up for BE101

Monday, August 22, 2016

BE101 – Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics

Only one more week until class starts and I’m really itching to get going.  I’ve decided to do some preparatory work in advance of the course. Hopefully, a little time spent now will help me get the most out of the class when it actually begins.

While there's not too much I can do ahead of time, DTS provides two resources that allow me to get a jump on the upcoming semester.  First, they publish their course syllabi well in advance.  And second, they offer brief course previews that give students an idea of what to expect in their classes.  Today I’ll discuss how both of these items are helping me get ready.

Just One More Thing...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Required New Student Surveys and Assessment

Just one more thing to tidy up before the start of the semester.  All entering students are required to complete a number of surveys and a test of knowledge before beginning classes.  Being enrolled in an online-only Master of Biblical and Theological Studies program, I needed to complete the following;
  1. Entering Student Doctrinal Survey
  2. Entering Student Questionnaire
  3. Entrance Questionnaire for Student Services
  4. Test of Biblical and Theological Knowledge
Overall, these activities required about a little over two hours of time.

DTS First Impressions

Friday, August 19, 2016

Because You Never Get Another Chance...

Ask anyone, first impressions are important.  When we meet someone or work with someone for the first time, it’s natural for us to want to put our best foot forward.  We hope to leave a lasting impression about who we are and the constitution of our character.

First impressions are also important outside of personal relationships.  In consumer-driven societies, companies spend millions of dollars promoting and defending their brands.  They recognize this investment will draw clients who have a need for their products.  How well a company identifies with the needs of their clients will ultimately determine the client’s satisfaction.

I had an opportunity to make my first impression on Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) during the application process.  Now, I have the opportunity to evaluate what kind of first impressions DTS made on me.

The Search for a Seminary

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Planning My Search for Seminaries. 

With all the possibilities, how should I go about researching and finding a good seminary?  I know that once I find a school, I can use the framework I developed to make an informed decision.  But how to go about actually get started in research was an interesting challenge.

Since I really didn't have a particular school in mind when I decided to go to seminary, I needed to come up with a plan to begin searching for schools that might meet my requirements.  After giving it some thought, I came up with a few ideas to at least get me started.  Within a few short days, I had all the information I needed to begin evaluating a good list of seminaries.  Here's how I decided to do it...

Defining Goals and Limits - Part II

Monday, August 15, 2016

Designing a Plan for Selecting a Seminary

Deciding to go back to school is a big decision.  I needed to design a plan that enables me to efficiently and consistently evaluate different schools.

In formulating a plan upfront, I'll save a lot of time when I begin narrowing my school choices down.  In Part I of this post, I began discussing several questions.  So far I know; what my goals are, what kinds of programs I'm looking into, what kinds of schools I'm willing to consider, and that I'm looking for an online degree program.  Today, I'll pick up where I left off and finish discussing my seminary evaluation criteria.

Defining Goals and Limits - Part I

Friday, August 12, 2016

Back to School, Now What?

Deciding to go to school was kind of the easy part.  The challenging part is deciding which schools to actually apply to.  It became pretty obvious right up front that there is no magic solution to finding the ideal school.  However, having made the decision to go back, it's relatively easy to put a little extra work into choosing the right school.

Besides, schools are like shoes; there are many different kinds that appeal to people with many different needs and many different tastes.  I just had to start ‘trying some on’ to see which one would be the best fit.

Forty-Something and Back to School

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

I’ve been a registered student for over half my life and I believe I’ve more than done my time.  After two engineering degrees, I feel like I earned my leave from the academic world. Never again would I be shackled to the unceasing grind of classes, lab work, projects, homework, presentations, essays, quizzes, exams, and all-nighters.  I’d been dreaming of that day since the third grade.  And there I stood, finally free.

So imagine my predicament to finding myself on the threshold of returning to school.  My leave from the academic world amounted to little more than a furlough.  I must be nuts.  Not just nuts, certifiably nuts.  I’m a full-time husband to a wonderful wife, full-time father to four rowdy little boys, and a full-time professional in the corporate world.  Add in my participation in a local church plant and I’m a pretty busy guy.  So what gives?

My Journey in Online Seminary

Monday, August 8, 2016

Plans are Starting to Come Together

I've decided after careful consideration and thoughtful prayer to pursue an online degree program at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).  Making a decision to pursue any degree is fraught with uncertainty and I think that is only compounded when deciding to study entirely online.

I've decided to create this blog to document my exploits in the hopes that I might provide you with some insights which might help you in your own considerations for study.