The following is an online interview I held with current Master of Arts in Biblical Literature student Anna Bailey Shuman. Anna is now in her second semester of her first year of study at the Alliance Theological Seminary. Having graduated from Nyack College May of 2013, Anna knew her next step would be to complete a seminary degree. However her busy schedule; coaching volleyball, playing softball for Nyack College and working in ministry prevented her from starting her degree within the classroom but that didn’t stop her… Read the interview below!
Q- Why did you choose to begin seminary with online classes?
A- I chose to begin seminary with online classes because my schedule was too crazy to find an empty three hour block, but I didn’t want to put off my education.
Q-What was your online experience like?
A-My first semester online experience was wonderful! At first I was worried that I would feel disconnected from my classmates and professors, but that fear was proven false. Everyone was super intentional about building a class community through the online discussions, email, and review sessions we held. It was definitely interesting adjusting back into a physical classroom assignment this semester. I grew accustomed to having time to research my responses to classmates questions or statements; a luxury I actually miss within the classroom.
Q-Are there any highlights you’d like to share?
A- I think my favorite part of the online courses was the structure and routine that accompanied it. The level of organization made it easier for me to balance school, sports, work, and family at the same time.
Q-What is your advice for any prospective seminary students seeking to do an online program?
A-If anyone is considering partaking in an online program my advice is this:
1) Set a weekly schedule for yourself and adhere to it. Find different sets of time to block off specifically for your class work and do not compromise. It can be very easy to fall behind without the physical reminder of going to class.
2) You will receive what you work for. If you slack off and settle for doing only what is required of you, you will not have the best experience in the class. Read the notes, do the entire reading assignment, ask the extra questions, and most importantly, push your classmates towards excellence. Pictured left to right: Amelia, Michelle and Anna.
Some of Nyack’s and ATS’ best at Memorial Park in Nyack.
Thank you Anna! Great advice from someone who’s experienced both the classroom and online learning experience. If you’re interested in pursuing a seminary degree, contact me (Madelyn.firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s see if perhaps an online program would work for you!