In spring 2013, LTS celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary. That year, the faculty boldly changed the way they teach courses.
Traditional models of study
For the first century, our seminary followed the university model, offering semester-long, onsite courses. This meant that all students had to move to LTS for four years of theological education. But these old ways were not working anymore. Students, especially second-career students, were no longer willing or able to uproot their families or leave jobs in order to move to Saskatoon. To attract students, and to incorporate new teaching methodologies that fit this new context, changes were made.
Shifting to intensive courses
Most drastically, almost all the courses at LTS are now one-and two-week intensives. Many of these courses are taken by some students on site (at the seminary), while other students use a ' live-streaming' format to concurrently participate in the class while at home. No longer do students have to move to Saskatoon to study.
Shifting to semester-long asynchronous courses
LTS also offers semester-long, internet-based courses. This is where students log in to a course when it suits them best to complete course requirements. The format works well for individuals who require flexibility to pursue their studies. They can adjust study times to personal schedules and they can access course material from anywhere in the world, providing they have the required internet capabilities.
Changes to Internships:
The internship portion of the Master of Divinity degree program, for those seeking to become pastors, was traditionally taken in the third year of the four-year program. The internship period has now been lengthened to the last two years of the program, giving students more 'hands-on' experience. At the same time, students continue to take a few one-week intensive courses that incorporate teaching and leadership activities into the internship site, rather than simply writing academic papers. This new model places emphasis on learning the theology, theory, and skills to be active, engaged pastors in a variety of ministry settings.
The new formats also mean changes for the faculty. Our first question, in setting up a course and the various assignments, is “What do our students need to know, and what skills do they need to be the best pastors and teachers possible?” That may mean, not automatically assigning term papers or exams, but rather, a variety of assignments, while still insisting on high academic standards. Each course becomes a very intense but satisfying immersion into the material. We have discovered that the students are now actually more engaged in their study. More 'out of classroom' learning takes place, and the overall level of discussion and debate has increased. It has been a positive change, and well worth the work it took to change to new ways of educating students in theology.
Please visit our Learning Formats page for details on different learning options.