Brian Smith publishes paper about teaching religion online

Brian Smith, professor emeritus of religion, has a paper in the journal Teaching Theology and Religion, published by the University of California Berkeley.

“Teaching Religion Online to Nontraditional Students” describes the online teaching of world religion courses he has done for older adults at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and how it positively informed his classroom teaching at Ripon because he was able to incorporate online discussions by his students at Ripon to enhance student participation.

The abstract reads: “Today, three-fourths of those enrolled in undergraduate programs are nontraditional students, defined by the National Center for Education Statistics as adults with one or more of these characteristics: delayed enrollment into postsecondary education, attended part time, financially independent, worked full time while enrolled, had dependents other than a spouse, was a single parent, or did not obtain a standard high school diploma.

“I have been teaching online world religion courses for nontraditional learners since 2004 (64 courses, totaling over 1,000 students) at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) while also teaching full time in the classroom at Ripon College in Ripon, Wisconsin. This paper describes the pedagogical methods I have employed to maximize student learning in online courses. It summarizes my own learning experiences from teaching online at UWO and describes how online teaching has impacted my face-to-face classroom instruction at Ripon College.”

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