How PBC delivers a hybrid learning environment

Student wearing headphones attending online class

Before 2020, PBC began moving the biblical and theological, and Christian counselling coursework online to offer a hybrid mode of learning for ministry and counselling students.

Like many colleges, this timeframe had to adapt quickly to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The changes the college underwent during this period established it as a hybrid learning bible college that can offer online and in-person undergraduate certificates, diplomas and degrees.

Flexible course delivery

PBC introduced flexible course delivery options, such as synchronous and asynchronous learning, to accommodate the needs of students.

PBC initially offered MP3 recordings of the lectures with independent guided study options. Although this afforded students the opportunity to complete a diploma and graduate diploma of ministry this way, it wasn’t an option for any degree coursework.

Another issue was that PBC needed to train the lecturers to rapidly adapt to online learning.

“All our lecturers did professional development training on how to run interactive classes. We ran our staff meetings on Zoom and practised some of the emerging online pedagogy in these sessions,” says Stephen Poisat, Principal, program coordinator and lecturer for Pastoral Care and Counselling at PBC.

How PBC offers interactive, hybrid learning

Online learning during the lockdown was through Zoom.

Once students were back on campus, hybrid classes were offered back on campus and via Zoom.

Each class is fitted with large-screen iMacs that connect to Bluetooth microphones.

The microphones enable lecturers to interact with the face-to-face students by walking around the classroom and encouraging in-class student discussions.

The college also upgraded the cameras so online students could see the entire classroom, and smartboards united online students with their face-to-face peers.

“Interactive discussion is a crucial part of our biblical theology coursework, and integrating our online and hybrid community of students in rich, collaborative conversations is essential in Christian education,” says Steve.

All lectures and tutorials are recorded via Zoom and available via PBC’s online portal.

Digital student support

The size of the classes is intentionally small and intimate, with an average of 8 to 15 students per class.

Lecturers reach out to students primarily via personal email and individual phone calls, and small group meetings take place via Zoom.

The pastoral care team is involved in regular discussions about students’ progress and proactively follows up on any concerns via phone.