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Encourage Each Other

The movie "The Social Network" was one of the most popular films of 2010. Not long ago, technology was associated with increased isolation, but a recent Pew Research Center study found that using modern technology actually leads to greater socialization. The MLC master’s program uses technology to encourage peer interaction. This emphasis on social interaction helps teachers in our online master’s program learn.

As director, I follow along with each course that is taught and am amazed by the camaraderie that develops among class participants. MLC online instructors plan their courses to encourage discussion and relationships among students. Each course begins with introductions by the course instructor and students. Professors make frequent use of discussion forums and group work to help students understand and apply what they learn. Most important, our students encourage each other in their life and calling. In doing so they fulfill the Lord’s command to “encourage each other, and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11 NIV).

Research by the National Staff Development Council and others has confirmed the importance of collaboration and human interaction to meaningful learning. Discussion allows the learner to explore, refine, and solidify thoughts and ideas. Unlike the correspondence-by-mail courses from the past, today’s online instructors and students take advantage of the increased internet bandwidth, computer speed, and software to provide the kind of discussion and collaboration that is essential to adult learning. Those who do online instruction well build social interaction into their courses.