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Five courses are offered by the Correspondence School for Christian Workers, all of them relating to the Sunday school, Christian Endeavor, and Missions.

The Bible Normal Union offers five courses, four of them on the English Bible, and one largely on the methods of Sunday school work. The home-study courses of the Iowa Christian College are two,-one entitled "The Comprehensive Bible Course, covering the Bible, hermeneutics, Christian evidences, Bible geography, etc., leading to a diploma and degree, Master of Ancient Literature"; the other a Busy People's Course, not so extended as the former.

"The universal scope of the instructional work" of the Boston Correspondence School, to quote the words of the dean, "precludes the possibility of a catalogue." It has been impossible, therefore, to ascertain the number of courses available for religious education. The letterhead, however, names courses in theology, in New Testament Greek, in the English Bible, and in the conference studies of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Intercontinental Correspondence University offers courses in Hebrew, Greek, Church history, pastoral theology, English Bible, comparative religions, and other subjects, but the number of courses cannot be stated. The advertisement says, "We teach everything teachable."

The New Church Correspondence School is at present conducting two courses, both dealing with the distinctive doctrines of Swedenborgianism.

III. The character of the instruction in the several courses named above can be presented only in part. It is possible to note only a few of the characteristics which are considered most essential to good correspondence work.

The courses offered by the American Institute of Sacred Literature, with the exception of the elementary and professional reading courses provide for progressive lessons, written recitations, one each week, and personal instruction, including suggestions as well as corrections. One year more or less, according to the course, is allowed as a time limit in which to complete the work, and for each course completed a certificate is awarded, but no diploma or degree is given.

Two kinds of correspondence courses are offered by the University of Chicago, formal and informal. The informal courses are designed for a special class of students, and are arranged between the instructor and the student, according to the student's particular needs. In the formal courses there are progressive lesson-sheets, written recitations, requiring two or three hours of preparation, corrections and suggestions by

a personal instructor, and a final examination. The course ordinarily must be completed in twelve months, but the time may be extended by the payment of an extra fee. The work is credited to a degree from the University of Chicago, one-third of the work required for a degree being allowed by correspondence.

In the courses offered by the Correspondence School of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, the student is furnished with progressive lessonsheets containing the assignment of a lesson, references to parallel reading, and suggestions for the student's guidance. He is expected to prepare a written recitation each week, which is corrected by the instructor and returned to the student with further suggestions. One year is allowed for the completion of a course, but, according to the judgment of the school, the time may be extended. For each course. completed a certificate is awarded, and credit is given for the B. D. degree from Vanderbilt University, provided two-thirds of the work required for the degree is done in residence.

The instruction-papers furnished by the Moody Bible Institute are printed in pamphlets, containing from thirty-two to eighty pages each. These pamphlets and the English Bible are all the books required. Written lessons calling for six hours' study are to be sent in every two weeks, and each lesson is corrected and returned to the student. Final examinations are given on the several sections of each course, and when the course is completed, a 'certificate of progress is granted, which is accepted in the bible department of the institute, as qualifying in part (to what extent is not stated) for the regular diploma. Great emphasis is laid upon prayer as a necessary part of the work.

In the Scofield Correspondence Course there are printed pamphlets containing lesson outlines, with full examinations. These are answered and returned by the students, and are graded by the instructor; they are not returned to the student, unless special request is made and postage furnished. Errors are pointed out by letter. No fixed time limit is placed on the course, but when it is completed satisfactorily, a diploma is awarded.




It is clear that at present great confusion exists in the department of education which may be designated correspondence instruction, so far as it touches subjects dealing with religion, the Bible, etc. This confusion is found (1) in the motives upon which the courses are offered and (2) in the minds of those desiring instruction, yet not knowing what they ought to have, or which, from the many courses offered, would furnish the desired knowledge.

Practically, the only means of getting at these courses is through advertisements, and a "correspondence course," so termed in advertisements, may mean, on the one extreme, a printed list of questions on some topic, followed by a printed list of answers, or at the other extreme it may represent the closest relationship between a living teacher and pupil, involving the assignment of lessons, the weekly or fortnightly recitation, and the careful criticism of this recitation, the work being recognized by some well-established educational institution. It may also mean any degree of personal or institutional instruction between these two extremes, and the prospective student loses much valuable time in his search for the right thing, and perhaps finally makes his choice on a commercial or other unworthy basis. He cannot even be sure that the results which he will receive will be in proportion to the amount which he pays, as in the mercantile world, for some of the worst educational work in this direction lies behind an extravagant fee. Clearly, then, one thing to be desired is, such a method of announcing courses that the student will, from the announcement, understand something of the character of the work.

In the field of secular education there is an established nomenclature which is tolerably clear to all the world. We are coming to understand that it is better to call a small college doing college work a college, rather than a university, and a school doing work of high school grade feels that the name of academy is more appropriate than that of college. Why can we not insist upon as clear a definition of terms

by those offering correspondence instruction, so that the designation itself will characterize the course?

We cannot adopt the nomenclature of secular education, because in the region of mathematics, science, or philosophy the subject itself frequently indicates its position in relation to a curriculum, certain subjects belonging only to secondary education and certain subjects to college work.

In the field of correspondence instruction in religious education, we are dealing entirely with the adult student, and with a limited number of subjects (the Bible, ethics, social science, etc.) which must be presented in various forms and grades adaptable to different classes of persons. The character of the work and the point of view from which it is presented must be the basis for any standard nomenclature which shall be recognized by all institutions offering correspondence courses. What is demanded of the student? What is contributed by the teacher? And for what class of students is the course intended? — are the matters upon which the student desires definite information.

Would it not be legitimate to establish the principle that anything. called a correspondence course should involve three elements: (a) The assignment of a definite task;

(b) The written recitation or report upon that task;

(c) The personal criticism of that recitation by a living teacher. To the numerous non-resident courses in which the work consists of the study of the Bible or a text-book by means of a printed syllabus or guide, where no personal criticism of the examination-paper is expected, and no personal communications concerning it pass between the instructor and the student, can we not assign another name, that of Study Courses, prefacing this term, possibly, by the word "nonresident," or perhaps, less technically, "home study"?

Yet another designation is needed for courses in which the instruction consists of the recommendation of a list of books for reading upon some subject, and the work of the student involves the attainment of no necessary standard in reporting upon this reading. What more natural term for such work can there be than, simply, Reading Courses?

All these various classes of work each fulfilling a special and important function, might perhaps be grouped under the general title, Non-resident Instruction:

(1) By correspondence courses;

(2) By study courses;

(3) By reading courses.

Here is a classification which is clear and definite, and which would soon become self-explanatory.

There is a clear ground, also, for classification of courses on the basis of their intention. There is economy of time for the teacherstudent in following a course of study, in the life of Christ, for instance, which has been prepared with the teacher rather than the mere seeker for information in mind. Pedagogical suggestions and illustrations of great value may be introduced without in any way disturbing the informational character of the course. Just so the minister needs to know that the course which he chooses takes into account his previous study and the necessity of his familiarity with all sides of his subject.

As a practical basis of distinction here, we shall have, therefore, under each of our previous classes of work, correspondence courses, study courses, reading courses, work for professional and for nonprofessional students.

Regular correspondence courses in biblical history, literature, pedagogy, or ethics should be conducted either by institutions of recognized standing, having well-equipped departments for resident work in these subjects and endowment sufficient to carry the correspondence instruction, or by organizations specially endowed for this purpose. There is need for expenditure of all and more than can be secured in tuition fees, in a campaign of education which shall bring in students and arouse a wider interest in the subject of religious education.

The third and last standard which I wish to suggest rests upon the proper estimate of the ability of possible students. It has been the custom of many educators in the religious field to prepare courses in Sunday school teacher-training, and in Bible-study and other lines of religious education, which, in the world of secular education, would be considered "A, B, C" courses. We should remember that we are dealing with adult students, many of whom are at least high school graduates, and large numbers of whom are active in literary clubs. Because we have offered these people training courses which would in no sense demand the use of their best intellectual effort, they and the public have come to feel that the best intellectual effort is not necessary in teaching the Bible. Courses for teachers, at least, should not be below the high school grade of work done in the history and literature of other nations than the Hebrews. By establishing such a standard, the poorer teachers would be weeded out gradually, and the profession of Sunday school teaching would come to have a recognized standing. It is only the better and wiser element in any community who will pay for and follow out a biblical course by correspondence.

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