Dallas Theological Seminary had the privilege of welcoming 43 students from its mobile and distance education programs to campus for the inaugural SuperWeek session October 19–25th, 2014. SuperWeek is a week of intensive coursework designed to give students from around the country a live classroom experience and enable them to complete residency hours in a condensed timeframe.
Participants reflected the diversity of DTS’s distance education students, hailing from 17 different states—plus Canada—and five degree programs. The group included representatives from the Seminary’s new Mobile MA in Christian Leadership programs in Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Fargo, ND, as well as students from Austin, TX.
An Opportunity for Fellowship
As a sort of academic boot camp, SuperWeek boasted a dawn-to-dusk schedule of classes, advising, and special events. But despite the packed agenda, participants were enthusiastic about the opportunity to build relationships with like-minded servant-leaders.
“That was the reason I came—to have small-group discussions with real people, since we don’t get that online,” said one student from the MA in Cross-cultural Ministries program. “It really helped us connect better with the campus.”
“I so enjoyed getting to experience DTS. It was really what I needed to make my degree program come alive for me,” added an MA/CL student.
Breaks throughout the day gave students the chance to attend chapel, interact with their professors, and experience campus life. Participants met with Student Council representatives, heard from President Bailey and the Seminary’s executive committee, and visited the library and Book Center.
“The sense of community and access to profs were amazing,” reported another MA/CL student. “I was able to get answers to questions from other classes.”
SuperWeek helped students make a dent in their degree progress with two full courses: SL305 Dynamics of Christian Leadership, taught by Dr. George Hillman, and BE103 Old Testament History II & Poetry, taught by Dr. Eugene Pond. Dr. Pond's class incorporated group activities that online students wouldn't normally experience, such as acting out a dramatic interpretation of Esther.
For students in the mobile MA/CL programs, who are required to complete 21 of their degree credits in residency, the week provided a valuable opportunity to log hours in the classroom.
“I love SuperWeek. It allows me to get some ministry residence hours, meet staff, and feel a part of DTS,” said a ThM student. “The cost was less than what it would have cost me if I did it [on my own] and the staff time put in to planning was a huge burden off my shoulders. The experience was by far the best.”
Mobile and distance education students are encouraged to mark their calendars for the next SuperWeek, scheduled for June 14–27, 2015.
View photos of the week on Facebook.