X:PTS + ONLINE
The mission of X:PTS is to create an innovative pedagogical space for theological education in a digital age where to inspire students to activate new forms of Christian leadership and service by providing access to Princeton Seminary’s scholarly engagement of Christian theology and community oriented learning—via digital distribution.
As Princeton Theological Seminary begins to live out its third century of educating faithful Christian leaders, it has begun to wonder what that mission means in a post-industrial, wired age. Not only is Princeton Seminary’s influence felt globally today, but—unlike any age before—it now has a global reach, too. While trying to understand what it means to be a residential educational institution in such a time, the Seminary has embarked on the building of a digital learning platform—X:PTS + ONLINE.
Having written on the nature of digital communication in a screen age at the University of St. Andrew’s Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, I am adamant that this is an opportunity for Princeton Theological Seminary not just to create online offerings, but to make a statement about the very nature of digital learning: online theological education as an extension of our campus experience—in form and substance. X:PTS courses are designed and taught by Princeton Theological Seminary faculty, faculty emeritus, and alumni/ae and moderated by our PhD and MDiv students. Rather than a space where passive, single-serving learning courses could be accessed like some sort of digital vending machine, X:PTS is designed to reflect the communal, scholarly, and socially relevant theological education that happens on campus using the language of digital communication.
At the center of X:PTS is our lean-forward learning pedagogy. Most legitimate criticism of the digital sphere is that it is a passive and inferior realm and its modes of learning, communicating, and community are deficient. Lean-forward learning is a pedagogical commitment to rigorous student engagement that utilizes multiple points of interaction in a course—such as video, readings, reflections, quizzes, polls, peer-to-peer discussions—that are sutured together and highly compressed. This not only makes for a compelling learning narrative but it also makes the student a part of the narrative. Online students transform courses—and X:PTS—into a living and growing scholarly community, an extension of the Princeton Seminary campus experience, which has been training Christian leaders since 1812.
Currently, X:PTS is comprised of three certificate courses—Certificate of Theology and Ministry (C:TM + ONLINE); Certificate of Theology and Ministry Inside (C:TM + INSIDE); and the Certificate of Youth and Theology (C:YT + ONLINE) in partnership with the IYM. These are punctuated with the incorporation of the unique X:PTS + EXPERIENCE that brings students from all over the world together into a live, virtual classroom based on Harvard Business School’s successful HBX experience. These certificates are designed for those who look to Princeton Seminary for broader and more dynamic theological education options, but X:PTS aims to also serve our students and alumni/ae as well. Over the course of the next three years X:PTS is slated to release 50 new, smaller courses. These courses will be created by and aimed towards a continual engagement and educational renewal of Princeton Seminary’s alumni/ae community. This will open the doors for the possibility of X:PTS being seen as something more than a narrow channel of engagement, but as an inextricable part of Princeton Theological Seminary’s fabric.
Reno Lauro, PhD | Director of Digital Learning
Theology is a lifestyle choice. It's the pursuit of what makes living true and beautiful—the poetry of faith. It's not learning for the sake of having something, but to become someone in and with others. In this way, X:PTS reflects the best that Princeton Theological Seminary has to offer. We have shaped digital technology to our core values and have committed to making a statement about the very nature of digital learning
X:PTS offers field-shaping initiatives exploring new pedagogical approaches to teaching and curricular innovations that challenge conventional definitions of academic community. With X:PTS and our growing community of X:Members, we are reimagining traditional terms like student, user, audience, and consumer.
X:PTS is not a learning vending machine but a portal to relevant, socially engaged scholarship and community sustained learning that reflects the core values of Princeton Theological Seminary. We are committed to A) connecting people from around the world to share their insights, stories, and faith; and then B) networking activating our community of learners to change the world.