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Guidelines For Course Facilitators


As a course facilitator you are more of a guide than a guru. GlobalChristians.Org & Cybermissions.Org courses use the principles of TEE (Theological Education by Extension) where the texts are the main teacher and the “lecturer” simply facilitates the learning process.It is quite similar to leading an adult bible study based around a book.

General Principles

GlobalChristians.Org is an interdenominational institution for bible-believing, born-again Great Commission Christians. As long as someone fits that broad description and subscribes to the Nicene Creed they are fine. Armenians can remain Armenian and Charismatics can still speak in tongues and Calvinists are free to believe in predestination etc. You can certainly point out errors of fact and correct technical inaccuracies. But you must be scrupulously neutral and not base assessment on your personal theological distinctives.

This should go without saying but the strictest ethical standards should be observed regarding email relationships with students, objectivity in marking, never asking for financial contributions and not involving staff or students in illegal activities such as sharing copyright music files.

Teaching Style

The individual situations dictate the teaching style needed. Sometimes you may have to answer a complex question and deliver quite a bit of content. Other times you may just sit back and watch a discussion unfold and let the students go to it. On another occasion you may have to intervene to stop personal attacks getting out of hand. On another you may supply technical information that is needed but is not in the readings. It is not always one or the other - always hands on or always hands off. It is both as needed. Stay in touch with the class and materials and use your good judgment.

In TEE fast feedback is of utmost importance. Students learn best when they feel that they are noticed. If they post a question and then only get an answer ten days later it will kill their enthusiasm. You must check your email and the Interaction Center daily. After a while you will be able to do this very quickly and it will not be burdensome - but interesting, and it will stop big backlogs of work building up.

Students like to feel that they are learning and that they have a high probability of getting things right. Encourage right answers, "catch people doing things right" and give them a quick "Hi, that was good". Reward in public, but correct in private. Many of the students will be from non-Western cultures where face is important.

Your job is to set a positive tone in the class. be enthusiastic, be caring, be on the ball. Keep things on track and don't allow a dominant student or a "needy" student to hijack the teaching agenda. If things become quiet in the forum post a question that is interesting and require everyone to answer it.

Remember English may not be the first language of all your students. Phrases like "the effulgence of his glory" may lose a few folk. Use good simple, concise, straightforward English and please check your spelling. If your student is a second-language English speaker,
- avoid idiom and slang
- use short sentences and easy verb forms.

Practical Details

  1. On the front page of GlobalChristians.Org or Cybermissions.Org you will find links to the various courses - including your course, and to the various help & assistance areas.

  2. First go the your course home page, read about the course and assessment requirements and download and read the text / readings for the course.

  3. Next visit the Interaction Center, create a username and password and log on.

  4. Then familiarize yourself with the tools that you will be using.The Interaction Center is where your online classrooms are located and where students participate in forums, use a reflective journal or upload certain files. You will find links to these on the left-hand side of the relevant subject area.

  5. The forums are public discussion areas for each subject. The whole class can read the forum and so it becomes a place for Christian discussion and debate (in a spirit of mutual edification). Its where the group learning occurs. You have three main roles in the forums: a) asking good questions that stimulate discussion. b) bringing clarity and keeping the group focused and on task. c) behavior management - making sure that students stay within Christian boundaries such as no personal attacks, no spamming etc. Vigorous discussion is fine, personal abuse is not. If you are unsure about a particular situation then just email me.

  6. The reflective journals are for personal reflection on the course material. Only the student and the facilitator get to see what is written there. This helps them 'zigzag their way to truth' by thinking out loud without fear of criticism. It helps them develop their personal views and is useful for working on assignments and developing strategic plans (in the Cybermissions course). It is basically a private 'blog" or web log. Facilitators can make journals 'public' , so all can see and comment - but everyone in the class should agree to the journal going public before this change is made.

  7. The files area is where you can share relevant files for the class.Some facilitators may ask students to do research and upload the results for the whole class to use. In that case use the files area. Please virus check all files before uploading. NB: Copyright material, music files and potentially dangerous files such as exe files and pif files are not allowed to be uploaded to the files area.

  8. The Drop-Box is where students upload the assessment for that subject.

  9. Yellow folders contain individual lessons or modules within the course including links and readings. For instance in the Cybermissions course the folders are named Week 1, Week 2 etc and in each folder you will find the readings and links for that particular week.

  10. The Assessment Center has exams, assignment topics, help with doing assignments etc.

    Useful links for bible research can be found at our bible resources page.

    Help can be found in the Help Links section on the opening page of GlobalChristians.Org.

That's about it! If you have any further questions just email me.


John Edmiston