The Hybrid Models of Tyndale

The Hybrid Models of Tyndale

Academics and Technology at Tyndale

“Technology can be a wonderful gift from God,” says Dr. Kevin Livingston, Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Tyndale. “It can be used to share the message and connect the church, but it’s not an unmixed blessing.” Dr. Livingston often uses PowerPoint presentations and the Internet to show different worship styles around the world. “Via YouTube we can watch a worship service in Beijing, people worshiping under a tree in Uganda, and Scottish Presbyterians chanting the Psalms in Gaelic.” Tyndale professors are examining the use of technology in their classrooms. Laptops are increasingly the note-taking tool of choice but, with games and the Internet, they can become a distraction. Students can surf the web or talk to friends online instead of paying attention to the lecture. However, the technology that can become a distraction is the same technology professors are using to enhance their lectures.


> Over 1,100 students have registered for online classes at Tyndale.

> Over 70 online classes have been offered since 2008.

> Online course students at Tyndale come from all Canadian provinces as well as many countries including:  Australia, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, China, United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Latvia, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, South Africa, U.S.A.

> In 2009 the school asked the question: If this course was only available on campus, would you have registered for it? 66% said no because of travel constraints, distance or other reasons.

>100% of Tyndale University College courses have a MyTyndale webpage

>100% of faculty submit attendance and grades through MyTyndale

>80% of activity for course registration happens online
 

English major Mark Fisk has witnessed the development of Tyndale’s online tools during his four years at Tyndale. “If I need to know my GPA, or what time my next course is, I can just look it up online from anywhere,” he says. “My whole course schedule is available online and really easy to access.” The MyTyndale web portal (www.mytyndale.ca), accessible to all students and faculty, houses schedules, syllabi, assignments, grades, unofficial transcripts and other information that students need on a daily basis. “My professors post links to some of the readings that are in the public domain, which really saves on textbook costs,” Mark says, “and supplementary readings are often posted on the course page that can put your class into its broader academic context.” Jason Carson, Tyndale’s Business Application Analyst, comments that “more and more classes are using a hybrid model; having online discussions and assignments; with traditional in-class lectures and interaction.”

This hybridization of structure found in the classroom has also occurred in the library. Online resources for Tyndale’s J. William Horsey Library (www.tyndale.ca/library) have increased exponentially in the last few years. In fact, some journals that were previously only available in print are now exclusively available online. Tyndale has access to over 50 journal and eBook databases with over 80,000 eBooks and over 33,000 online journals. “When there is all this information online, it is hard for the students to know what’s there,” states Hugh Rendle, Tyndale’s Director of Library Services. “Part of our responsibility in the library is to simplify the data access points.” It can become overwhelming for students to sift through vast amounts of information to find what is useful and relevant to them.

In 2007, Tyndale implemented online learning and since then, it has grown dramatically (http://class.tyndale.ca). For students who live too far away, are unable to travel, or even hindered by medical conditions, online learning is their best option for education. “One time I was doing an online course and while interacting with a man over the forums and discussion rooms, I found out that he was quadriplegic,” says Dr. Larry Hopperton, Tyndale’s Director of the Office of Open Learning, “I had no idea.” Larry highlights one of the many possible benefits of technology.

Technology is often praised as the sole means for human progress or attacked as the wedge that drives people apart. Misa Mochinga, Tyndale’s bookstore manager (www.tyndale.ca/bookstore), is aware of some of the potential drawbacks of technology: “Online stores are often able to offer better prices but they often don’t offer product knowledge and personal service, and you have to be aware of possible scams in the online world,” she says. “People come here seeking more than to just buy a book. They come to consult and ask advice. They are looking for what’s new and what’s relevant to the topic they are studying or the topic they are struggling with.”

Tyndale faculty, students, and staff continue to look for ways to use technology to enhance academics and the community experience at Tyndale while consciously  dealing with  the drawbacks. >