Graduate Theological Union


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Educational Technology at the GTU and Beyond

From the Fall 2016 issue of Currents, view PDF of this article

by Kyle K. Schiefelbein

Opportunities and Challenges of Teaching Islamic Studies in Theological Seminaries

Saturday, November 21, 2015 - 9:00am


Munir Jiwa, Director of the Center for Islamic Studies, is a panelist for this Theology and Religious Reflection Section co-organized by the International Institute of Islamic Thought at the American Academy of Religions Annual Meeting this month.

When: Saturday, November 21, 9:00-11:00am
Where: Marriott, Atlanta GA


From Mosques to Museums

Sarlo Award-winner Dr. Munir Jiwa reflects on art and Muslim identity, interreligious dialogue, and the growth of the GTU’s Center for Islamic Studies

by Doug Davidson

from Currents Fall 2015

Digital Reformation: How Technology Shapes the Dynamic Classroom

The world is literally at our fingertips. Pull out your smart phone <tap tap tap> and you can Google huge libraries of information, see the world thanks to YouTube, and even converse via discussions boards, Facebook, Skype, and text. This ability to access information has revolutionized our culture, particularly how we view education.

Jody Passanisi, a.k.a. Jacqueline Pearce, (M.A. '05) with her colleague Shara Peters astutely observes in a post at Scientific American, “[E]ducated people were those who knew a great deal of information about one or many subjects...In this 'Age of Information,' access to facts and data is no longer available only to the educated elite...So, as a society, what is an 'educated person'?”

Articulating an answer to that query is difficult, but most educators agree that the Digital Revolution has changed the way that students learn and how we live everyday. So it's no surprise that more conversations and alterations are taking place to incorporate technology as a key component in the classroom.

Successfully moving your course online

Laurie Isenberg at PSR pointed out this great article, Transition from Tradition: 9 Tips for successfully moving your face-to-face course online from eLearn magazine. It's filled practical information, particularly about how to communicate with online students. A great read! Thanks, Laurie.


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Faculty Workshop: Moodle in the Theological Classroom – Much More Than Busy-Work

Many faculty are making greater use of the GTU's Moodle facilities, both in fully online courses, and in "regular" face-to-face courses.  Some of us started by simply uploading additional readings, and have been gradually branching out into discussion forums, audio and video recordings, and using the functions that Moodle provides for grading and group work.  Some of us have taken courses, either through the GTU library or outside organizations.  But effective use of Moodle depends most of all on clear thinking about our teaching outcomes and objectives, rather than on simply using the "bells and whistles" correctly.  All interested faculty are invited to gather for a brown bag lunch and informal conversation about developing pedagogical approaches that make the most effective use of what Moodle can offer us as theological educators.  Please come prepared to share your experiences, your questions, and your hopes. 

Facilitated by Susanna Singer, CDSP Faculty | When: Tuesday August 20, 12:30 – 2:00 PM | Where: Mudd 102, PSR

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Using technology to increase diverse student engagement

by Justin Tanis | Tweets, YouTube, Spotify ... how does all this technology relate to the classroom, especially for the less technical among us? The article Diverse Students Go Digital, from last week's Chronicle of Higher Education, details the practical ways in which professor Shawn Francis Peters engages at-risk students through social media and the pedagogical reasons for his choices.

Build an interactive book for your class

Inklewriter is a program that allows you to create interactive books for free. By having your students select choices as they go through the book, you can present information that varies based on your students' selections. Or students can create a book themselves that presents different scenarios and possible outcomes. Here is a sample book that I've created that gives more ideas about how this could work with theological education.

Escaping the Ivory Tower: Practical Theological Scholarship

The motto of the Graduate Theological Union is “where religion meets the world,” but what does it mean? It’s easy to draw a line between what is “sacred” and “secular” (often whatever is not “sacred”), but that’s not quite it either since religion is part of the world we know and the world interacts with religion. Rather, our motto emphasizes where faith traditions purposefully encounter people and events, sometimes in unique ways — describing this encounter as crossroads, bridges, and dialogue.

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