12th Assembly 2009

Coolamon College Q&A

1. Are we now doing distance education better? What has been learnt about new ventures/provisions of education in our church?

Whether distance education will be done better that it has been remains a question for the SA college. Cooalmon was provding high quality distance education and needed better resourcing to do it even better. Distance education is about flexible learning, not just correspondence. It covers provision of short intensives, video, audio and DVD materials, plus print materials where learneres are required to connect theory with practical experience, and interact with others in their learning processes. Such interaction can be via the internet with other students and tutors. Access to resource people and libraries are essential. Not everyone can access learning via the internet (eg. students without equipment, students in gaols) and so print materials are the basic resource for learning.

2. Question about the mandate

This question is no longer relevant, given that the Coolamon mandate no longer exists, and the rationale for the United College for leadership and theology SA has been determined by the SA Synod.
3. Who will recognise the new awards/certificates? Will there be national accreditation?

All the awards offered by distance from SA are nationally accredited ie the Certificate and Diploma through the Vocational Education and Training accreditation process, and higher education to doctoral level through the Adelaide College of Divinity as a Higher Education Provider and as the theological faculty of Flinders University via its accreditation processes within national processes.
4. Will there be national funding?

All national funding has been discontinued. the proposal for a 3 year positionj funded by Assembly to assist the UCLT in assessing national/synod needs for lay educaitohn has lapsed, as currently understood.
5. Continuing role of distance education? Need more information on how the need is being met now. Make use of models such as Indigenous community development.

Distance education in theology for cndidates and pastors will be an increasing need, as Synod bodies/college respond to changing needs. Patterns such as longer field experience in congregations working with experienced and competent Minsiters, sandwiched with formal study, studying where people live and work as Pastors will depend for success on provision of flexible leanring approaches. People who serve the church in rural and remote settings, as well as those with access to face-to-face teaching will need distnaceeducation for their learning, while they serve their communities. Such patterns are already in existence, and distnace education is a major resource for these and other individualised patterns suited to the person's prior learning and future learning needs as assessed by those supervising their educational programs. Community development approaches are integral to the way distance education is offered at this time, because of the approach of linking theory with the practice of ministry in the learner's local setting. New approaches will be able to make stronger links  between context and theory in developing people's ability to serve as leaders and ministers, that is to equip the whole people of God for ministry and mission.

Answers provided by Dr Marelle Harisun, Past Chairperson Coolamon College Council.