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Change to the Course Schedule

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January 23, 2018

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Once again, there is change coming to Koinonia Institute, but you need a little history for the context.

By now you are probably aware that Koinonia Institute is dedicated to training and equipping the serious Christian for ministry in today’s world. We understand that to accomplish that mission, we need to be responsive to the needs of “the serious Christian.”

During the first eight years of Koinonia Institute’s existence, we found that there were many reasons keeping interested people out of our classrooms. Here are a few:

• A full-time class load at a secular college/university
• Full time jobs
• Active duty military on short notice call-up
• Major health issues
• Family or job issues which kept them on the road
• Mothers and fathers with young families and working full-time

Issues like these prevented people from being able to match their personal schedule to our classroom schedule, and thus kept them out of the classroom. In addition, we found that we could not be flexible enough with our schedule to meet the needs of the many home school families.

KI responded with a new format four years ago. It required an upgrade to our system, but we were excited to launch the first self-paced classroom. Within four days of that class going “live” 167 people had signed up for it; 167 people for one class! We had never seen so many people in one classroom before. It was clear that the self-paced classroom solved many problems for our members, and the demand has not slowed down.

Since then, we have collected data and watched enrollment trends to be sure we were still being responsive to member’s needs. We saw a strong trend, right from the beginning, moving away from the traditional guided classroom format. In 2017, we scheduled 163 guided classes and had to cancel 142 of those due to lack of student enrollment. At the same time, enrollment in our 80 self-paced classrooms continued strong and steady. It has become blatantly obvious that the guided classes have become a thing of the past.

In case you’re wondering why a class would have to be canceled, it has to do with Discussion Questions (DQs). Completing the DQ requirement was part of the grade for the class, so without enough students in the classroom to make the DQ forums work, everyone’s grade suffered. We had to set a minimum enrollment on these classrooms so there would be enough students for the required interaction on DQs. Even though we relaxed the number at times, last year that minimum enrollment was not met for 75% of the classes we put on the schedule, so they had to be canceled. With four years of data, we can see that the trend is not only increasing; it is accelerating.

After many months of discussions with staff and members, KI management has decided that due to lack of enough interest in the guided classrooms, it is time to end that option. The guided classes listed on the schedule for February will be offered, and then the schedule will be suspended.

One of the concerns voiced, especially from Student Assistants, had to do with fellowship, or koinonia. Some people felt the DQs were a significant place for interaction between members. While this may have been true for a few people, a review of DQs showed the majority of what was written did not involve personal interaction; most responses were a “tip of the hat” to fulfill the requirement of responding to posting. The resources needed to support the guided classroom format can no longer be justified for that level of interaction.

Some of you have noticed we have built a new forum, for which everyone in KI has a login. The forum was a feature years ago in KI; it was called the Berean Online Fellowship (referred to as the “coffee shop” by many.) If you have not done so, take the time to check it out and give some feedback to the forum administrators.

Along with the forum, it is still possible in the self-paced classroom to do DQs. While there is no guarantee that you will receive feedback there, it may still be helpful. We recognize that there is value in taking the time and thought needed to write up an opinion or something just discovered. Many students have begun utilizing the KWL method with their study in Berean classes for this reason.

As KI continues to develop and change in order to meet member needs, you can be sure it will be done with purpose. We are here to train and equip the serious Christian for ministry in today’s world.

May God richly bless you as you continue your studies and discover the unique ministry God is calling you to accomplish.

As for me,
I’m still learning to serve.
Stan H.
KI Registrar

 

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