Who has time for online continuing education? (Surprise! It’s not who you think.)

By Shawn Hussey, Ph.D.


CONT.-EDU-ICONIt’s the frequent cry of anyone considering furthering his or her education. Today, there’s little doubt we’re being asked to do more and more with less and less time. Many of us operate in a state of perpetual time poverty, which makes fitting in a 45-minute dentist appointment feel like Houdini.
Further complicating the situation, we’re inundated by information from scores of sources throughout the day. This is true not only in the business world — where I came from — but also in ministry.
What’s more, church leaders are asked to be available at all hours, by all means.
So, again, who has time to complete additional college education? Well, despite the diatribe above …

ThinkstockPhotos-115768313You do!
Since the mid-1990s, there has been growing recognition that Academia needs to provide quality educational opportunities for leaders with busy lives. Most of us have no interest in reliving our Raman noodles-eating school years. (a.k.a., being full-time, on-campus students)
Thankfully, Academia has answered the call with non-traditional programs, the most current of which is the online format. Contrary to what you might think, this isn’t a small market anymore.
According to the Christensen Institute, the “nontraditional student” is now the predominate consumer of educational services. Simply put, adult students outnumber the 18- to 22-year-old crowd. And busy leaders like you are invited to join this exciting trend.
At our university, we have created several nontraditional opportunities for busy pastors and other professionals to further their education.

“But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.” — Isaiah 32:8 NIV

In the School of Professional Studies alone, we offer Business degrees with concentrations in Accounting, Marketing, Leadership and Management. We also have a Psychology program that offers concentrations in Counseling and Family Studies. These Professional Studies programs were created for busy professionals either seeking to complete their first college degree or seeking to augment their current skill set.
In the Business and MBA programs, church executives and other nonprofit ministry executives often enroll to further develop their skills. In turn, they can better serve their people by effectively managing the business side of their churches or para-church ministries.
Best of all, this is done completely online with a healthy mix of full-time professors and instructors practicing their trade within the workforce.

Is online as good as in-person?
I get asked this question a lot. It has been my consistent experience that online education is not only equivalent, but often times more challenging and rigorous.
Why is that?
First, because students can’t camp out in the back of the classroom and hide from the professor. In an online environment, engagement is required of every student. This means that even the quietest student will be heard within the class discussion, and even the most opinionated will be tempered in and among the other student perspectives.
In turn, this makes for a well-balanced discussion, taking into consideration the multiple viewpoints and experiences of the students within that particular course. That’s why I truly enjoy teaching in these environments; often, I feel as if I learn just as much as the students do.
Also —and most importantly — every topic, within every class, is examined through the lens of a biblical worldview. While we seek to inform our students on the technical matters of the subject, we want them to understand where that information fits within the marvelously constructed order created by God.
So, if time is the critical factor in you taking the next step in your educational endeavors, I want to encourage you to examine an online program — especially a biblically centered one. In many ways, it’s the best of both worlds.

Shawn Hussey, Ph.D., serves as Chair of Business and Organizational Leadership, Adult Degree Studies Program at Corban University in Salem, OR.


Mastering time

• “Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger men (and women). Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers; pray for power equal to your tasks.

— Phillips Brooks

• “God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.”

— A. W. Tozer

• “We always contrive to find time for that which we deem most important.”

— J. Oswald Sanders

• “Being busy is not a sin. Jesus was busy. Paul was busy. Peter was busy. Nothing of significance is achieved without effort and hard work and weariness.”

— Max Lucado

•  “Time is temporal. I am eternal. I will not be mastered by an inferior! I will — by God’s grace — run my schedule according to His will, not let my schedule run me.”

— David Sanford


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