TEACHING AS AN ONLINE PROFESSOR
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
For me, teaching college is quite fine,
But commuting? — (I don’t want to whine),
Yet driving to school
Means traffic and fuel;
That’s why I like teaching online!
All teaching’s a gift of God’s grace,
Yet there’s something to say for a “place“;
As God-assigned teachers
We’re space-and-time creatures,
So it’s good, too, to teach face-to-face.
COMMENTARY: Regarding the unique value of face-to-face communication, see 2nd John 1:12. Since AD1991, by God’s grace, I have taught at Bible-grounded studies in Christian colleges in Texas (LeTourneau University, Dallas Christian College, Concordia University Texas at Fort Worth, and ICR-SOBA), plus occasional mentor-teaching for ECCS (in Arkansas), and some guest-lecturing elsewhere (e.g., Southern Methodist University, Dallas Theological Seminary, Tyndale Theological Seminary, Montgomery College at Rockville). In all of those schools I have taught face-to-face, in traditional classrooms (and, in the case of certain ecology courses, augmented by field studies), yet in the past dozen years most of my teaching has been online (or a mix of online with some face-to-face teaching). Of course, teaching aboard cruise ships (which I have happily done, on 9 different cruise ships, since AD1998) can only be accomplished aboard ship! Honoring God in all such teaching opportunities (whether online or face-to-face) is quite doable, if one has “eyes to see”. Also, His Scripture-based guidance and enabling providences, in all such truth-teaching opportunities, should be appreciated with gratitude, accountability, diligent attention to accuracy and relevance, and dependence upon Him. The logistical advantages to online teaching are obvious — how else could I teach graduate students in Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, as I have in recent years? Even so, there are some real advantages to face-to-face teaching, not the least of which is sharing food and coffee with students in conjunction with on-campus class meetings.