Online classes at Southern provide a special way for students and faculty to engage with one another: a praise and prayer request forum. Despite students not meeting together in person, they find connectedness, and the online nature of the forum facilitates interactions that are unique compared to a traditional classroom experience.
“Studies have shown that students tend to be willing to be more vulnerable in an online class than in a face-to-face class,” said Tammy Overstreet, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education and Psychology and former director of Online Campus.
All online classes come equipped with the prayer forum, which professors may then choose to use as best fits their course. This helps replace the devotional time that professors at Southern often incorporate into their on-campus courses.
“Many times students talk about how they grew very close to their professor, their classmates, and God, and not just through the prayer forum but through the intentional way we build the courses on a biblical foundation,” Overstreet said.
The forum allows a student or professor to write a post about a need, difficulty, or positive story, and other members of the forum may then post responses.
“In classes where students are more active on it, individuals feel safer to share personal needs, stories, and praises,” said Braam Oberholster, D.B.A., a business professor who uses the forum in his online courses. “From comments, it appears that for some the saying is true: a burden shared is a burden lifted.”
Southern Adventist University | September 2019