Resources for teaching Religious Studies online

Fun fact: my first teaching gig was through an online campus. (Shout-out: Western Seminary!) Also, because so many of my students miss a lot of class during the Spring Semester due to athletic events, fine arts conventions, etc., my curriculum has been 90% digital for about a year (in-class and homework). I use Google Classroom, Google Docs, Google Forms. So, when my employer announced we’re extending spring break due to COVID-19, and then going online indefinitely after that, I felt ready. I’ve been doing classes with an online element since I started teaching.

Many of you don’t feel as confident. One thing I’d stress is to not be a perfectionist about this. My class notes are digital not to supplant in-class educating but to supplement the learning of students who may miss a day or three because of a baseball tournament out of town. My recommendation: aim to be realistic. This is a pandemic. You weren’t given months and months to prepare for this. Build your online class to maintain learning but don’t try to match the glory of your classroom. It’s can’t be done. Online learning is no replacement for brick-and-mortar education.

Also, for those of you who work in higher ed: consider not doing an excellent job. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but as I said on Facebook and Twitter this morning: ‘Ok, but seriously, educator friends at the college-level and higher: if your classes move online do a decent job but don’t do a great job because you know many administrators will be looking into the feasibility of moving your classes online permanently so they can cut costs because education is a for-profit product to many of them.’

I’m not alone in this sentiment. See Rebecca Barrett-Fox’s ‘Please do a bad job of putting your courses online’.

If you need to provide lectures for your students, consider Andrew Mark Henry’s advice for how to use YouTube:

For those who teach Religious Studies, Wabash Center has a bunch of resources available (some which may be useful for other subjects). Also, AAR sent out an email with suggestions and links. Also, don’t forget, I shared a series of YouTube channels I think will have helpful content.


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