By Heather Smid
The global pandemic has introduced us to the good, the bad, and the inevitability of online learning. As parents we wonder and worry about the impact of this reality. Can a digitally-distant instructor develop the relationship needed to respond to the particular needs of my child? Can the quality of the learning needed for further education be achieved through a disembodied, one-way transfer of information?
Nimbus Christian Education (NCE) believes the best way to train, nurture, and educate a child is by establishing purposeful, sincere interaction between student and teacher. They strive to preserve those essentials through the ongoing curation of a flexible digital learning space, so that meaningful learning, supported by intentional relationships, can happen any time, any space, and at any pace.
One significant and substantial benefit to NCE’s online learning model is that it transcends time and space giving students control and flexibility in their learning. There is no need for a student and teacher to be present in the same physical place according to an externally imposed schedule. NCE offers continuous enrollment, meaning you can begin a Nimbus course at any time during the year without waiting for the start of a new semester. Students for whom a bricks-and-mortar classroom schedule, structure and location is ill-suited, impractical or undesirable are able to customize their educational timeline.
It also means teaching isn’t limited to encounters in a classroom. Christian instructors get to engage with their students in a variety of spaces as part of a commitment to see all of life–physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual, both in and out of school–from God’s point of view as revealed in the Word of God.1 We are instructed in Deuteronomy 6:6 to “speak of [God’s Word] as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.” Christian education, particularly in its online dimension, encourages us to use the educational experience to illuminate every nook and cranny of our lives. Jesus challenged us to find meaning in the sheep and the sparrows, the synagogues and solitary places: that is, in the scenes of everyday life. Therefore, Christian education must not simply “conform to the pattern of this world;” rather, the student should “be transformed by the renewing of their mind” and in the image of their Creator (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10).
NCE’s asynchronous model also offers noteworthy advantages that allow learning to be tailored to a particular student’s rate of knowledge acquisition. No student is left behind while the rest of the class moves to the next concept. Students are able to work at their own pace and teachers are able to ensure student success at every step. Depending on the student’s needs the learning experience can range from tight teacher control to full learner control. It’s all part of the flexibility NCE provides. While who God was, is, and will be is eternal and unchanging, each student is uniquely different and constantly developing: “Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different results, but the same God who produces all of them in everyone” (1 Corinthians 12:4). NCE believes that because students’ needs, gifts and circumstances are varied; so, too, should their educational options be.