From a Student's Point of View
by Mark Stevens
I've been through a couple of modules as a student and I love concept. Usually it's an intense weekend, or an intense 5-day week, in which you experience an entire course (normally a 3 credit hour course). It's great because you are just focusing on that class and nothing else. Sometimes being able to do that instead of balancing one class among several others works out better for students. The downside of course is that it is a lot of info in a short amount of time. It's long days and often reading and/or writing at night. A lot of times the professor will set the due date for the research paper after the module is over, giving you a little room to breathe during the module.
From a Professor's Point of View: How to Design Your Course
by Greg Moore
From an instructor's point of view, teaching a module was not something I was looking forward to. My first module was a Monday to Friday, 8AM-5PM course on Baptist History. While much of my semester-long class transitions fine into a module format, not all of it did. I had to rethink course projects and assignments, but in the end it was very comparable to the semester-long class, just jammed into a week.
For the upcoming spring semester I'll be teaching a class in church history. The course as you can imagine covers multiple centuries and a lot of info. What I've decided to do in that particular class is to use an excellent textbook that covers the details, use my lecture times to highlight the key parts and explain things that weren't covered in the textbook, and then set aside significant portions of the class time for research. Research and writing, for me, has been a key part of how I learn and I enjoy teaching others how to research and write well in the fields of theology and history. So, part of this module will be used to walk these upper-level undergraduate students through the process of producing and presenting original research. This division between lecture time, discussion, and guided research produces a module that is still challenging and tiring, but is able to keep the students engaged for longer periods (as opposed to teaching to zombies by mid-day Thursday).
Those are just our thoughts. Mark and I would love to hear from others that have experienced modules as a student or instructor.
Mark Stevens is a former seminary student himself and currently researches and teaches in the area of theological studies.