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Opinion on distance learning by St. Cyril and St. Athanasius Institute


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#1 David Lindblom

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Posted 21 May 2014 - 10:16 PM

I'm considering, as long as the money is available at the time, of enrolling in Monachos own Archimandrite Irenei (Steenberg) distance learning institute called: St. Cyril and St. Athanasius of Alexander Institute of Orthodox Studies (found http://www.sforthodo...ulty/184-irenei).  Does anyone here have any experience w/ this program?  It seems like an excellent one and would, possibly, fit my life as it is now.  My own Antiochian jurisdiction has the St. Stephen's Course but it seems to be a mystery as to what you will study and it's just a massive amount of reading and writing essays.  This other course is broken up into a number of different methods of instruction.  Seems better for me.  Just looking for opinions here...thanks.



#2 Ben Johnson

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 04:17 AM

What is your goal with the program?



#3 David Lindblom

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 05:27 AM

I/we have been Orthodox for 5 and a half years after 30 years being Protestant.  I read quite a bit about the Faith and have learned much but have a long way to go.  It would be nice to have a program of learning that is designed by those who know the faith and how to teach it and in what order to create a more solid and knowledgable foundation for the Faith.  Up till now it has been much more haphazard, partly learning what seems basic to the Faith and then what interests me at any given point.  Plus, having a curriculum that I'm expected to follow (and have paid for!) and  that to some degree is set up to take into account my personal situation and needs would be motivation to be more consistant than the ups and downs of study I do now.  If I'm able to afford the program then I will investigate much further what all that is involved but at this point I'm quite impressed.


Edited by David Lindblom, 22 May 2014 - 05:28 AM.


#4 Father David Moser

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 01:22 PM

David,

 

As you point out the Sts Cyril and Athanasius institute is the work of Fr Irenei, and it is his primary online effort.  There is still a lot of reading and writing of essays, however, there is also fair amount of online lectures as well as required interaction similar to what this forum was meant to be which is a way if incorporating a classroom discussion.  Fr Irenei also uses video conferencing for live "chat" sessions with each class cohort as well as for individual tutoring.  It is a pretty well set up and documented form of distance learning and is based on the efforts that were developed at Oxford (where he was a lecturer for many years). 

 

I have encountered a wide variety of people in the institute - some hoping for ordination, others simply there to learn - some "academically oriented" and others who are more "folksy" (for lack of a better word).  I haven't personally experienced the St Stephen's course, but from the experience of those who have this seems to me to much more interactive.  It is a good program and you will be challenged not only by the material but by the instructor and your other students in the interactive chats and fora.

 

Fr David



#5 Phoebe K.

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 02:58 PM

Hi,

 

I am not in a position to say anything about this course, but there is a Distance learning Masters Degree avalable from the university of Winchester (UK) which you might want to consider as well.  This is run by Fr Andreas Andreopoulos, and is on the academic side of things with a mixture of core modules and optional ones so you can direct the foucos of study to your interests.  Fr is also used to all leaves of understanding as many who take his course are not practicing orthodox, although he also has Orthodox Priests and Nuns as well, he also supervises at PHD level.

 

Phoebe



#6 David Lindblom

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 03:48 PM

Fr. David,

Thanks for your response it was most helpful.  It is the greater interactivity that I'm looking for.  I have no aims or desires for any clerical position in the Church, I just want to know the Faith.  This learning also helps my living it...I have always been this way, the two feed off of each other.



#7 Ben Johnson

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:15 PM

Sounds like a good fit for your goal.  You may want to get some input by your priest before making a final decision.



#8 David Lindblom

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Posted 22 May 2014 - 09:21 PM

Thanks Ben, as far as the priest goes, he was one of the first people I talked to about it and he thot it was a good idea.



#9 Niko Barounis

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 03:45 AM

how much is it?



#10 David Lindblom

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Posted 23 May 2014 - 06:09 AM

how much is it?

There are a total of 8 modules and here's the page discussing the cost per module: http://www.sforthodo...program/94-cost



#11 Xenia Moos

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 11:11 PM

David,  I am currently a student with the Institute and I recommend it.  I have learned much that has deepened my appreciation of Orthodoxy.  It's serious work but not overwhelming.  Still, there's a good amount of reading and writing involved.

 

-Xenia


Edited by Xenia Moos, 24 May 2014 - 11:12 PM.


#12 David Lindblom

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 03:51 AM

David,  I am currently a student with the Institute and I recommend it.  I have learned much that has deepened my appreciation of Orthodoxy.  It's serious work but not overwhelming.  Still, there's a good amount of reading and writing involved.

 

-Xenia

Hi Xenia, a couple of questions for you if you don't mind.  I'm not trying to pry so if you don't feel comfortable answering it's not a problem at all, I will understand.  Do you have any children?  Married?  Job?  I ask because I have all three and was wondering if it is possible for me to be attentive to wife, kids ( 3 who are 10 and under) and job and still get through the course.  My thinking was to set aside a certain amount of time each night and more on the weekends to work on the course.  Perhaps 1-1.5 hours a night on week nights.  Would you think this is enough?  Thanks for any advice you can give.



#13 Xenia Moos

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:37 AM

I am an older lady whose five children are all grown up.  I have plenty of free time.

 

However, I think your plan of setting aside an hour or so each night and more on the weekends will give you plenty of time to get all the work done.  Probably more than enough time.

 

I enjoy the Institute very much and I can't begin to tell you how much I have learned.   I think you will like it too.



#14 Xenia Moos

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 04:47 AM

Here's how a module works:

 

Modules center around a particular topic.  I just completed Module 2 which was mostly about the Old Testament and how it relates to the Church.  I'm now participating in Module 4,  a special module for the summer,  which concerns asceticism and monasticism.

 

There's readings that are done online;  mostly excerpts from a church father but some modern writers, too.

There are assignments from books that must be purchased  (inexpensive,  IMO)

There are written assignments that you post on the module's forum.  You also have to comment on other student's essays.  This can result in some lively discussions.

There are audio lectures,  usually by Fr. Irenei,  with accompanying slides.

There are sometimes audio lectures by guest speakers.

Once a month there's a live class conducted on Google Hang Outs,  with various speakers.  

There are essay assignments that you turn in that other students don't read,  just Fr. Irenei.  

There are 2 required tutorials where you either go to San Fran and talk to Fr. Irenei face-to-face or you can use Skype.  (I always go to San Fran,  since I don't live too far away.)

And last but not least,  there is a longer, more formal essay where you choose from several topics.

 

This is a good amount of work but you have four months in which to complete it.  It's not overwhelming,   IMO,  but again,  I have all the time in the world.



#15 David Lindblom

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 08:52 PM

Wow, thank you very much!  Your info is very helpful.  Now I just need to put up a kid or two for sale to pay for the course and I'll be set to go! 

 

I live in Alaska so going to San Francisco would be out of the question however much I'd like to.  I would love to take this course but we've had a hard financial time this year so time will tell.  Thanks again for your replies!!


Edited by David Lindblom, 28 May 2014 - 08:53 PM.


#16 Xenia Moos

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 11:39 PM

Hi David, you don't have to go to San Francisco at all.  All the face-to-face conversations can happen via Skype.






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