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HST goes LIVE for Distance Students; Updated Residency Requirements

March 31, 2017 | Written by Matt Carter

HST has Good News for our students, especially distance students! This year HST has been experimenting with HST LIVE (Live Interactive Video Education), a format that allows distance students to attend classroom sessions via the internet. The courses are proving to be popular with distance students and with faculty. It is even popular with residential students, who enjoy interacting with students who live in other places— even other countries! Through HST LIVE, students are able to engage with visiting scholars, both nationally and internationally. This has opened up exciting possibilities for the future.

HST LIVE replicates the in-class experience much better than asynchronous online courses (think threaded discussion). It also provides a better learning venue for most of our courses than the one-week intensives.

Since HST LIVE courses come so close to replicating the on-campus experience, the faculty have determined that our current residency requirements no longer fit the new reality. We are experiencing a paradigm shift and we need to adjust our requirements accordingly. We want all of our students, including distance students, to experience a sense of community and belonging at HST, to interact with a community of scholarship, and to be formed spiritually. But we believe that the need to come to our campus to accomplish these things has diminished significantly.

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) requires all vocational ministry students to earn a certain percentage of their degree in a face-to-face setting. HST has applied for and been granted an exception to the regular residency requirements set by ATS so that we can expand our use of HST LIVE. The faculty have therefore made several significant changes to these three degree programs — the MDIV, MA, and MACM — effective fall 2017.

The current restrictions on “distance learning” courses will now refer only to the “asynchronous online” courses. HST LIVE courses will have no limitations (other than the residency requirements described below).

Master of Divinity
  1. M.Div. residency requirements are lowered from 30 hours to 9 hours.
  2. One of the required on-campus courses is 5990 Advanced Theological Research. The other two on-campus courses will be chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor.
  3. Advanced Theological Research will include a retreat at the end of each intensive course. In semesters where the course is available only on a weekly basis the retreat will be near the end of the term. For example, in the fall semester it would probably be scheduled in November.
Master of Arts
  1. The MA program will shift from a 54-hour program with 18 hours advanced standing to 48-hours with 12 hours advanced standing; the net hours for the MA (after advanced standing) is still 36 hours. The 12 hours of levelling will be identical to the current 18 hours of requirements but will drop 5000 OT Survey and 5200 NT Survey. (You still have to take the Bible exam.)
  2. The MA residency requirements are lowered from 27 hours to 6 hours.
  3. One of the required on-campus courses is 5990 Advanced Theological Research. The other required on-campus course will be chosen by you in consultation with your advisor. [Note: specific concentrations and/or courses may not be available to distance students or may require additional residency hours.]
  4. Advanced Theological Research will include a retreat at the end of each intensive course. In semesters where the course is available only on a weekly basis the retreat will be near the end of the term. For example, in the fall semester it would probably be scheduled in November.
Master of Arts in Christian Ministry
  1. The MACM program will shift from a 54-hour program with 9 hours advanced standing to 48-hours with 12 hours advanced standing.
  2. The MACM residency requirements are lowered from 27 hours to 6 hours.
  3. One of the required on-campus courses is 5990 Advanced Theological Research. The other required on-campus course will be chosen by you in consultation with your advisor. [Note: specific courses may not be available to distance students or may require additional residency hours.]
  4. Advanced Theological Research will include a retreat at the end of each intensive course. In semesters where the course is available only on a weekly basis the retreat will be near the end of the term. For example, in the fall semester it would probably be scheduled in November.

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