One of the challenges of studying religious education in an online, asynchronous (meaning, not at the same time) format is that much of what we need to do involves collaborative process. You can’t really get a good grip on religious education by yourself, in isolation, no matter how many books you read.

I’ve noted elsewhere on this website how I’ve divided our work together into two main elements: work you do individually, and work you do as part of a small group. Here I want to make some basic points about my expectations for you, and invite you to articulate your expectations for me.

This class, as a half course, carries a curricular expectation of 18 contact course hours, and between 36 and 54 additional homework hours. As I’ve thought about how to structure our time together, each week I’ve tried to keep my input (what you might think of as “presentation” time), down to under an hour. That leaves two hours for you to work in small groups as part of course contact time.

You may well need more than that two hours for doing your research on the cluster questions, and putting together your group summary, but that time can spill over into the homework time.

Keeping this time burden in mind, I’ve cut the reading requirements down dramatically.

The notes on the course schedule as to when things are due, are just that: deadlines. You’re welcome to post things in advance, or to work on specific questions in advance, but they need to be posted by the date specified. This is an expectation that we need to meet together for the class to work properly.

The work you do in your small groups can be done however you would like to do it. I will be happy to be available via email and Skype to consult with you as necessary, but I will not “oversee” your small group work. Indeed, that time is your group time, and were we to be meeting in a typical classroom on campus, I would only drift by occasionally to make sure you could ask questions when you have them.

I will do my best to answer email from you within 24 hours, but will promise to do so within 48 hours. Like you, I have other class responsibilities, and other family and work responsibilities. The deadlines for this class are very real, however, and even if you have a question for me about something and I haven’t yet answered it, you still need to submit your work. (hidden treasure found)

Ok. These are my expectations! What are yours? There is forum available within the full class discussion space on MyLutherNet that provides a place for you to share your expectations, and any other questions you might have about the course more generally. Look for under the category “general.”