Learning and Teaching

The learning and teaching approach employed in the BA (Hons) Applied Theology is participant centred with an emphasis on students taking responsibility for their own learning with the aim of becoming independent/interdependent learners within a flexible learning community. To this end the programme will offer two specific ways, approaches and/or learning environments within which students can complete their studies. These are campus based approach and context based approach which can be undertaken either full-time or part-time. Most modules for both campus and context based students are delivered intensively over five week blocks (full-time) or ten week blocks (part-time), and are completed consecutively rather than simultaneously (i.e. one at a time). Each module typically consists of a focused face-to-face lecture week, and other learning activities, such as, seminars, workshops and tutorials delivered either face-to-face or online (depending on whether the student is studying campus or context based). In addition, campus based students are offered some modules that run on a weekly basis to enhance the residential learning experience, and context based students are offered specific placement modules to help maximise learning in their ministry environment.

Campus Based Approach

For campus based students there are six main learning and teaching activities employed by modules. All activities are designed to develop students’ (1) knowledge and understanding, (2) cognitive skills, (3) professional skills, and (4) communication skills. However, some of these activities will focus primarily on one or two of these four aspects. The learning activities are:  

  1. Lectures – The primary purpose of the lectures is to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding. The lecturer will also model to students knowledge and understanding, cognitive skills, professional skills, and communication skills with respect to the subject matter of the module.
  2. Seminars – These are student lead, although a tutor or an appropriately trained postgraduate student will be involved in supervising the seminars. The aim of the seminars is to primarily enable students to develop their knowledge/understanding and cognitive skills.
  3. Workshops – The main aim of the workshops is develop students’ professional skills. For practical theology this might mean having a workshop on reflective practice, for biblical studies on textual criticism, for systematic theology on theological methodologies, etc.
  4. Communication Class – The primary aim of the communication class is to develop students’ communication skills. This includes written and oral communication for both specialists and non-specialists audiences.
  5. Academic Tutorials – The aim of the tutorials is to develop all four aspects.
  6. Guided Study – The aim of guided study, which incorporates material/activities on the VLE (e.g. Discussions Forums), is to develop all four aspects. Both formative and summative assessments are also included within guided study.

Context Based Approach

For context based students there are five main learning and teaching activities employed by modules. These learning activities also aim to develop students’ (1) knowledge and understanding, (2) cognitive skills, (3) professional skills, and (4) communication skills. Moreover, they are designed to provide context based students an equivalent learning experience (even if not identical) to campus based students. The learning activities are:

  1. Lectures – Context based students have an identical lecture experience with the campus based students, and the primary purpose of the lectures is to enhance students’ knowledge and understanding. The lecturer will also model to students knowledge and understanding, cognitive skills, professional skills, and communication skills with respect to the subject matter of the module.
  2. Webinars – Rather than having seminars on campus, context based students have webinars which are mainly student lead, although a tutor or an appropriately trained postgraduate student will be involved in supervising the sessions. The aim of the webinar is to primarily enable students to develop their knowledge/understanding and cognitive skills.  
  3. Online Workshops – Context based students will not have face-to-face workshops, but instead are offered online workshops. The main aim of these workshops is to develop students’ professional skills. For practical theology this might mean having a workshop on reflective practice, for biblical studies on textual criticism, for systematic theology on theological methodologies, etc. The online workshop is facilitated on the Regents VLE platform and will often involve some reading material, short video footage, and an online interactive exercise (e.g. test or quiz).
  4. Online Academic Tutorials – The online tutorials are facilitated through Skype / Google Hangouts (or equivalent programs) and their aim is to develop all four aspects.
  5. Guided Study – The aim of guided study, which incorporates material/activities on the VLE (e.g. discussions forums), is to develop all four aspects. Both formative and summative assessments are also included within guided study.

Unlike campus based students, context based students have no scheduled communication class. However, typically module leaders will request context based students to carry out an oral communication task related to the module in their particular context (e.g. a short sermon or teaching session). Moreover, context based students may be provided increased VLE activities to support their learning.

Learning Hours

The 200 learning hours of a 20 credit module for a normal campus based module consists of 30 scheduled hours, comprising of 20 hours of lectures, 3 hours of seminars, 3 hours of workshops, 3 hours of communication class, and up to 1 hour of academic tutorials. The remaining 170 hours are guided study.

The 200 learning hours of a 20 credit module for a normal context based module consists of 24 scheduled hours, comprising of 20 hours of lectures, 3 hours of webinars and up to 1 hour of academic tutorials. There are typically also 3 hours of online workshops which can be completed asynchronously. The remaining 173 hours are guided study.

Requirements at each Level

At level 4, learning is predominantly tutor-designed and guided, and students are supported in developing individual initiative and collaborative enquiry within this framework, which provides groundwork in critical reflection, subject-specific methods, transferable study skills and skills of accurate communication.

At level 5, learning design remains largely tutor-guided with encouragement to work in collaboration with tutors and fellow-students, but with more opportunity for independent learning. There is opportunity for consolidation and development of appropriate study skills and for experiencing a wider range of appropriate methods of study, and opportunity to apply their learning and skills in fieldwork.

At level 6, students increasingly take full responsibility for their own learning, both independent and collaborative. There is encouragement to articulate personal engagement and response in the context of respect for the views of others, with an appreciation of the complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty in some aspects of theology.