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Religion and Online Learning

Religion and Online Learning
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Author(s): P. Clint Rogers (University of Joensuu, Finland) and Scott L. Howell (Brigham Young University, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 5
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch256

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Abstract

Internationally, religious institutions are developing online learning for a variety of reasons and purposes. The overall interaction of religion and the Internet has been varied (Dawson & Cowan, 2004). However, as Christopher Helland (2007) observes, “[By 2006] this medium has been embraced by most of the world religious traditions, to the point that not having Internet representation is a rarity for a religious organization, even if it is luddite in its beliefs and practices” (Introduction ¶4). The religious applications of formal online education comprise three main areas: extending the reach of theological education (primarily for the training of clergy), expanding opportunities for higher education from religious-sponsored universities and colleges, and facilitating other lifelong learning opportunities for members of the laity. It remains the case that “little has been written and published on distance education in North American theological education” (Amos, 1999, p. 126). Despite an expanding usage of online learning by religious institutions, there has been little published on any of these international efforts. Accordingly, this paper is a synthesis of original research, the authors having contacted leaders and academics from international institutions affiliated with major world religions to discover more about their various applications of online learning.

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