The president of M.I.T. recently said that digital learning is the greatest innovation in education since the printing press.
We couldn’t agree more. And we’re excited to be working in this burgeoning field of online learning, testing the waters of how churches can take this incredibly powerful tool into our contexts and shape disciples for Jesus.
Since its launch August 12, 2013 hundreds of people have taken online courses with ChurchNext and we thought we’d devote this week’s blog post to telling you a bit about the goods and bads of what we’ve learned.
1) People seem to like it
A recent check of our opt-in, post-course questionnaire shows very good satisfaction ratings, with most people enjoying the courses and wanting to take more. For example, we asked ‘On a scale of 1-5, will you take another ChurchNext course (1=not likely, 5=very likely)?’ 74% of the 57 questionnaires answered said 5, and 14% said 4. We asked this question in various other ways as well, with similar responses. We have also received numerous emails from users expressing positive experiences with the platform and the classes they took. This is a story that ran last Friday in the Episcopal News Service about early responses to ChurchNext.
2) Administrators are running into minimal problems
More than half of our school administrators have set up their schools without asking for any additional help. Our aim is to provide as much helpful information as possible so that administrators, most of whom do not come from a tech background, could register, build, and launch their schools without needing to call or email our support line for additional help.
3) Platform still has issues
Thanks to several helpful conversations we’ve had with subscribers, we have identified a few issues we’re currently addressing that will make it easier to build courses and manage students. We will be addressing these issues in forthcoming updates.
4) Setting up the school should be easier
We launched this project thinking that an online tutorial would be all we’d need to help people set up their schools. However we have since learned that a downloadable ‘Getting Started Guide’ would be extremely helpful to people. We are in the final stages of writing the first edition (collector’s edition!) and will let everyone know when it’s available. The manual, plus some smaller bugs which we’re addressing, should help those who are launching schools do so with greater ease and understanding in the future.
Bottom line: cautious optimism.
We remain committed to our mission of creating online learning experiences that form disciples for Christ. We’ll have more results as they come in. Thanks so much for your support.