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New Online Learning Options for Regent Students

December 01, 2022
“This is about giving students an on-ramp into the Regent community.”

Regent College is pleased to announce that the Faculty and Senate have approved the launch of a new online learning policy. Effective immediately, students in most Regent programs will be permitted to complete up to 50 percent of their program credits online—a 20 percent increase over the previous limit. This policy change will be accompanied by an expansion in the number and diversity of online learning options in Regent’s regular catalogue.

Academic Dean Paul Spilsbury put this decision in context.

“Regent has always been committed to the value of learning in community. That hasn’t changed. We want students to join us here on campus—and we consistently find that our students want to join us here as well. What we’ve also found, however, is that many people who would love to come study with us need a greater degree of flexibility to make that possible. Ultimately, this is about giving students an on-ramp into the Regent community.”

Under the new policy, students pursuing a Graduate Diploma, MACS, MATS, or MDiv will be able to complete up to half of their required credit hours online, whether through live online courses, digital access to Regent’s onsite courses, or online courses that combine pre-recorded lectures and live interactive components. 

Paul observed that the Regent community is well equipped to provide online courses that meet students’ need for flexibility while also providing a rich formative experience.

“The Covid-19 pandemic gave us a lot of experience with online education in very little time,” he said. “We’ve come a long way in terms of our capacity to offer quality online learning opportunities, both technically and pedagogically. Our faculty are passionate and creative, our IT team is top-notch, and we’re all committed to making the online learning experience engaging, enriching, and interactive.”

Another pillar of Regent’s new approach to online learning is broadening the type of courses available for online learners. This will mean developing a number of new online-only courses, as well as continuing to offer online access to selected onsite courses.

Registrar James Smoker explained some of the long-term changes planned for Regent’s course rotation.

“We’re putting a lot of thought into what kind of courses make sense to offer online, and in what formats,” James said. “Our faculty and admissions team have provided a lot of great insights into how we can serve students through our online offerings. One of our main goals is to provide an ‘on-ramp’ to Regent: a selection of core courses such as Old Testament and New Testament Foundations, Theology Overview, History of Christianity I, and introductory language courses that will be offered online regularly in order to allow students to get a head start on courses that are required for many programs and that provide a foundation for future classes.

“Some of our other priorities include offering online learning options that meet the needs of MDiv students, and offering online electives that cover a wide range of topics for students in different concentrations. We launched several new online-only courses earlier this year, and there are more coming.”

Christina Lui, the head of Regent’s Alumni and Church Engagement Office, is excited about how a wider range of online learning options will affect Regent’s extended community.

“We’ve heard from so many grads, former students, and others who have been deeply blessed by the ability to study online during the pandemic,” Christina said. “A lot of people love to come out to Vancouver when they’re able, but they’re often hindered by things like travel costs, work schedules, and family responsibilities. Taking an online course while remaining embedded in their everyday lives and communities can be really life-giving for people who want to keep learning and maintain their ties with the Regent community from wherever they happen to be.”

Note: In addition to these permanent policy changes, Regent has put into place special temporary provisions designed to assist current students whose programs have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Please see this announcement for details.

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