My Teaching Experience at
Amridge University is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and offers bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees through distance education. Amridge may be known to some of you by its former name, Southern Christian University. The name was changed in 2008 to take full advantage of opportunities, not only outside the southern part of the United States, but also around the world, as the university reaches out literally throughout all of the world with its educational mission.
My undergraduate students take their classes via internet based courses. Graduate students sometimes take classes on-line and sometimes are in the classroom. This is of great advantage to many students who can not afford to quit a job, move somewhere, and raise a family while going to school. My students have taken classes with me from right there in Montgomery, from all over the United States, from foreign countries like England, and from a naval vessel in the ocean. The classes I have taught thus far include the following:
Masters Level Classes:
- Introduction to Ethics - An undergraduate introduction to ethics.
- Ethical Character of Business Leadership - This is an undergraduate course in the new business degree programs at Amridge. A course like this is a dream for me, since it is the application of ethics in a certain field of discipline. It will be highly relevant to business students.
- Medical Ethics - A study of methodology in making bioethical decisions from a Christian stance and specific application through case studies to a wide variety of bioethical issues from cloning to euthanasia to reproductive technologies and more.
- Spirituality and Spiritual Formation - A new course which I introduced to Amridge on the undergraduate level. It is a study of the nature of spirituality and how one should be formed in a spiritual way which is compatible with the Christian faith. Emphasis is given to matters such as prayer, devotional reading, and spiritual disciplines.
- Principles of Ethics - A general course in Christian ethics.
- Patristic Theology - The first of a trilogy of courses in history of doctrine. It covers Christian doctrine from 100 to 600 A.D.
- Medieval Theology - Christian doctrine from 600 A.D. to the rise of the Reformation.
- Reformation and Modern Theology - Christian doctrine from the Reformation Movement era to the 20th century.
- World Religions - A study of Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shinto, Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism and primitive religions. This class is somewhat unique in that I attempt to prepare the students to teach this very same class in a church, a community setting, or a community college by the end of the class.
- Philosophy of Religion - A study of religion from the perspective of philosophy, focusing on issues like the existence of God and the relationship between faith and reason.
- Early Church History - A study of the early history of the church.
- Christology - A study of the person and work of Jesus Christ, affirming the finality of Jesus as Lord. Beginning with the pre-existence of the Logos, the course considers the incarnation, the virgin birth, the deity and humanity, the moral perfection, the teachings, the work and atonement, the resurrection, the second coming, and the titles of Jesus as the Christ. The class concludes with an analysis of the claims of Jesus and Christianity in relation to other world religions.
- Spirituality and Spiritual Formation - This class is now a required class in some of the new degree tracks, because spirituality is integral in the thinking of many leaders in theological education. This unique class focused as much on the experience and opportunities for spiritual growth as it does on knowledge and the intellect.
- Reformation and Modern Church History - All but one of these masters classes are in the TH category (Theological and Historical Studies). Some classes like this one focus on church history while others bridge the gap between the two disciplines with an emphasis on history of doctrine.
- Biblical Ethics - The key class I teach in the new Ph.D. in biblical studies is Biblical Ethics.
- Research in Biblical Doctrine - This unique class was envisioned by Dr. Rex Turner, Jr. In it doctoral students in the PhD in Bible begin work on a Biblical Doctrines Position Paper that will be defended along with the student's dissertation at the end of one's studies.
Here are some pictures from one of my trips to Amridge to teach "World Religions" in January, 2003. The technology has greatly advanced since then. It gets more sophisticated each semester as the administration strives to stay on the cutting edge in delivering education to students.
Here I am in one of the better rooms, as far as lighting and temperature goes.
Thomas Patterson running the computer room where lectures are streamed live onto the internet and recorded for the archives.
Chris Stabler, one of the computer technicians, getting me on-line and set-up for the start of another day of lectures. This room used to be the "deep freeze" room, since it is on the same air conditioning unit as the computer room. The air unit has to stay on 24-7-365 due to the great heat generated by the equipment. Now this lecture room is on a separate unit.
The typical on-line teaching set-up from the instructor's side. This is the old set-up. The switches on the right control various possibilities for the screen: (1) the instructor, (2) the marker board, (3) computer generated images, and (4) video. A new system is now in place which provides for interaction via audio and video and many other advanced features. Students are able to watch the lectures in archive at any point through the semester, which gives students great flexibility in managing their own schedules.
It is exciting to be involved with an educational institution which is on the cutting edge of technology and methodology, and one which is preeminently a Christian university. One exciting opportunity was the approval by SACS of Amridge's Ph.D. program in Bible. Numerous excellent students are in this program now.
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