The True Impact of Online Education: A Theological Perspective

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Educators in what Jacques Ellul calls the “technological society” should be in a better position to recognize and react to the impact of the changes wrought by technology. Unfortunately, it seems as if such recognition and reaction are wanting. Education and educators come to the table only to find that technology has taken the head seat and is eating most of the food. Educational systems, it seems, must be, at least in some form, technological systems in order to be deemed credible in the 21st century. But, is technological commitment in education merely the “price of doing business,” or is something more insidious and undermining at work here? Does educational technology provide the means to an end (i.e. a better, more robust, more effective learning environment) or has it become an end to itself that supplants the authority of the teacher and renders the learning community as we know it inconvenient or even obsolete? Is online education really just another delivery medium providing access and flexibility, or does it scuttle a university’s mission and signal the death of the Academy? Has the Academy, the keeper of the Arts and Sciences, become so deeply engrossed within the technological milieu that it requires a return to its “Queen” (theology) for perspective? These are the questions that the presenters will investigate through the lens of Protestant theology using their specific religiously affiliated school as a case study. The presenters are interested in investigating the impact technology (and its specific implementation as online education) has on human personhood and human community as they attempt to uncover the underlying agenda in the modern, and now post-modern, commitment to technology. The goal is to lend another voice, albeit a distinctly theological one, to the debate surrounding the impact of technology and online education on the Academy.


Keywords: Online Education, Mission, Vision, Philosophy of Education, Educational Leadership
Stream: Educational Leadership and Management
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Don Humphreys

Director, Academic 
Center for Teaching and Learning, Cedarville University

Cedarville, Ohio, USA

Don Humphreys recently joined Cedarville University as the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning after spending over 15 years in the corporate world as both executive and consultant. Don graduated from Cedarville University in 1989 with a degree in English/Professional Writing. His career as a Technical Writer, Usability Consultant, and Instructional Designer has enabled him to work with companies such as IBM, Bank One, Claremont Technology Group, and Usertech. He has also taught courses at Cedarville University, Ohio State, Columbus State, and Cornerstone University. Since graduating from Cedarville, Don has earned an M.S. in Technical Communication at Southern Polytechnic University and an M.A. in Instructional Design and Technology at The Ohio State University. In addition to his responsibilities in the Center, Don serves as Associate Professor of Language and Literature at Cedarville and continues his consulting work as a Senior Instructional Designer with S4NetQuest, an eLearning firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Don is currently completing an M.A. in Systematic Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.

Dr. Timothy Gombis

Assistant Professor, Biblical and Theological Studies, Cedarville University
Cedarville, Ohio, USA

Dr. Gombis is an Assistant Professor of Bible at Cedarville University, and has been at Cedarville since 2004. Dr. Gombis received his PhD in New Testament from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland)after completing his ThM and MDiv at The Master’s Seminary. Dr. Gombis' research interests include Pauline Theology, New Testament Ethics, and the intersection of theology and culture.

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