Saturday, November 25, 2023

Two Weeks in Review (November 25, 2023)

I missed last week's review because I was in Scotland for my daughter's master's graduation from the University of Edinburgh. I also missed SBL (Society of Biblical Literature), although I doubt I would have gone anyway this year.  

A lot of scholarly banter is the process of sorting through ideas, so I suppose much of the process of this sort of scholarship does not end up going anywhere. Probably most papers at SBL, IBR (Institute for Biblical Research), or ETS (Evangelical Theological Society) end up unhelpful to anyone but the presenter.

There are some works each year that stand out, and the book hall is always a highlight. This year, Nijay Gupta's Tell Her Story has sold so many copies that it has already gone through several printings. It is of course scholarship written for a more general audience. 

The divide between the academy and the grassroots church seems larger than ever. The academy has a tendency to be dismissive because it knows stuff, but the popular church has its own interests and is making itself heard. I have long mourned the seeming inability of the two to communicate with each other. They both need each other.

2. Scotland was enjoyable. Very proud of my daughter. Made me want to write a book summarizing my twelfth-grade humanities class. It was a mixture of history, art, philosophy, and literature. We went to several museums, including the Kelvingrove in Glasgow. We saw El Grecos, Picasso, van Gogh, Renoir, Raphael, etc. Plenty of history too. John Knox, Mary Queen of Scots, St. Giles. Good food as well -- Italian, Greek, Korean, Scottish breakfasts, etc.

I finished the church history micro-course the week prior to departure. I was told the material was very good, perhaps even publishable. Now finishing up a How to Study the Bible micro-course featuring some videos from David Smith.

Not much else to say. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Life goes on.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Week in Review (November 11, 2023)

1. Quite a significant week for Campus Edu and perhaps for higher education. Our partner, Oklahoma Baptist University, launched Raley College at OBU with us. The concept is fairly simple:

  • You live in the dorm and participate in campus life. You go to chapel. You eat in the cafeteria. You can't play intercollegiate sports, however, because you're in an associate degree program (AA in Interdisciplinary Studies).
  • You take one face-to-face class, but the other four are online classes partnered with Campus. They are, in effect, OBU classes with OBU professors in OBU's catalog. Campus Edu is like a really fancy textbook with a professor inside.
  • The tuition is $10,000, making this the least expensive tuition of any CCCU school. The goal is to serve as a junior college. Why go to a secular community college, sometimes with less equipped instructors?
  • Someone could of course commute. Room and board is $8400.

This is like a Priceline model. Sell the empty rooms in your dorms at a special rate. Why let them sit empty? Most students will still want the classroom experience if they can afford it. But this just might get some to come who can't. And they get a Christian perspective with courses designed for digital natives. Then you can try to upsell them into your bachelor's programs.

OBU has been a model partner. They are motivated, willing to take calculated risks, willing to change when it is reasonable. They have really helped us refine the model. Rarely have we found such a nimble partner. We have talked to other potential partners whose fear of cannibalizing students who might pay full price undermined the project. 

The key is that virtually no student actually pays full sticker price at any private college. By the time scholarships and such are added, the average tuition a student pays is usually about half of the sticker price. It's a game. And the amount a college wants to make on a student from tuition is perhaps half of that. In the end, colleges won't actually make much less on a student with this program. And if it gets or retains students who wouldn't otherwise have attended, it's gold.

2. The rest of my week was spent working on church history courses. On Wednesday, Bud Bence and I met on the campus of Anderson University where the Wesleyan Church was founded. We did some bantering about the merger. This will become a Wesleyan Church History and Discipline course toward ordination, largely with Kingswood, with some other surprises in store. Kingswood has also proved to be a model partner.

The rest of the week I was putting together the micro-course version of Bud Bence's full church history course. A Bud Bence legacy course already exists through Kingswood. As part of the Kingswood Learn project, we will be rolling out over fifty free micro-courses for the Wesleyan Church. One of them is a crash five Lesson course in church history, featuring some videos from Bud's broader class.

The church is going to love what Kingswood is providing as a service, for free. What an incredible discipleship tool for the church!

Saturday, November 04, 2023

The Week in Review (November 4, 2023)

1. The week started in Oklahoma with the Campus team. We were visiting a great university that I may post about on Linkedin in the near future. This is a scrappy college that is not only willing to think outside the box, but they know how to navigate the landmines. This one might make the papers.

We have only encountered a few colleges with this kind of growth mindset. Some just don't see it. Some can't get out of their own way. Some think they're God's gift to academia.  

2. Kingswood is another scrappy college that is seizing the moment. Almost all of the video for the upcoming free micro-courses is shot and now we are busy assembling the courses themselves. Really shaping up to be quite a contribution to the church. Look for the primary launch at the first of the year.

3. Work on spring courses is also in full swing. Here is an example of a high school landing page we have set up for Houghton Academy. We have almost twenty Christian high schools now taking these courses. Another university in Missouri has just signed up as another option to transcribe the credit, with more colleges on the way. Momentum!

4. That doesn't leave a lot of time for personal goals. Nevertheless, I continue working on AI translations of John and Revelation. I did some outlining for a book on Science and Scripture. Hopefully I'll live long enough to finish some of these projects.