Integrating Faith in the Virtual Classroom

by Jennifer Brown, Instructional Assessment Coordinator

As a Christian institution, we have the privilege of being able to freely share our faith with our students. Because of our unique affiliation with many military students, we have the opportunity to interact with students from many different faith backgrounds, and some who do not adhere to any particular faith.

After publishing the September/October edition of our newsletter, I received an email that read “I’d LOVE to see an article on integrating our Christian faith with our academic subject across the Blackboard platform. I think this is a critical part of the Wayland mission, and I’ve not seen anything on this topic from any source, much less WBU.”

Every one of us should be familiar with Wayland’s Mission Statement

Wayland Baptist University exists to educate students in an academically challenging, learning-focused and distinctively Christian environment for professional success, lifelong learning, and service to God and humankind.

That email challenged me to reassess my online courses and see if I am making the most of every opportunity to allow my students to see Jesus through me and to feel His presence even in the medium of an online course. Am I creating a distinctively Christian environment?

I did some research on the subject and found some interesting perspectives on the topic of faith in the classroom. Rather than rehash those for you, I will allow you to view the articles in their entirety:

Integrating Faith and Discipline in the Classroom
http://www.sbuniv.edu/MUSIC/faith.htm

Rethinking “integration of faith and learning”
http://nurturingfaith.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/rethinking-integration-of-faith-and-learning/

How one professor integrates faith and learning?
http://www.ccu.edu/admissions/spotlight/spotlight.asp?iSpotID=357

The first article is very practical and offers some concrete tips for showing your faith in a tangible way. The second article focuses on revealing truth in every facet of your teaching and the third perspective focuses on making your relationship with Christ a priority and allowing the fruits of that faith to be seen in the classroom out of the overflow of what is happening in your personal walk with Christ.

Each of these articles offered some great insights into the topic of faith and teaching. All of them challenged me to be more mindful of our mission statement and making sure I am offering my students a “distinctively Christian environment for professional success, lifelong learning, and service to God and humankind.”

I’m sure there are probably many more articles and perspectives on faith in the virtual classroom. What are your thoughts on this subject?*

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