Flexible Learning Courses

What are the courses like?


Online courses
run in weekly rhythms over the full length of a semester.

As in the traditional classroom, faculty choose from a variety of teaching methods, depending on the subject matter and their own teaching style. There will be an abundance of reading, writing, and conversation (written or spoken) in each class. There may also be live, audio, or video lectures, slide shows, live conversation, student presentations, and group or one-on-one meetings by email, chat, phone or web conference. View our current and upcoming 2014-15 online courses.  

Asynchronous courses have no required meeting time; you engage with the course on your own schedule on a weekly basis. These courses may have occasional “synchronous” components such as conference calls or web conferences. They are conducted through the GTU’s online learning system, called “Moodle.” 

Technology Requirements:  Students need a current computer (fewer than four years old) with speakers and a high-speed Internet connection. A telephone and/or a webcam may also be required.  Detailed Moodle requirements.

Synchronous courses meet online at designated times weekly.  Attendance online at scheduled times is required.  These courses may include both students in the Berkeley classroom and students online. Residential and Flexible Learning students participate together in ways that may include lectures, projects, presentations, and discussions.  They may be conducted using a web conferencing technology called Adobe Connect.

Technology Requirements:  A current computer (fewer than four years old) with the latest version of Adobe Flash (free), a webcam, a telephone with headset (preferred) or speakerphone, and a high speed Internet connection is required.  Detailed Adobe Connect requirements

Hybrid courses involve some time in the classroom on campus and some time learning online using technologies mentioned above.

Intensive courses are one-, two- or three-week long classes offered during the summer or January intersession on PSR’s Berkeley campus. Students share lectures, worship, special events, and the beautiful Bay Area with classmates as they progress through their courses. Housing on campus is generally available.

Evening/Weekend Courses are offered on campus in the evenings and/or on weekends, enabling those with commitments during business hours to conveniently attend.

Theological Education for Leadership (TEL) Courses are not for academic credit.  They are offered online in various formats for lay and continuing education.

What courses are offered?

Each year, PSR will offer online or intensive courses in the following areas. Some courses may meet multiple area requirements:   

Certificate of Theological Studies (four of the five areas below offered each year) areas:

  • Biblical Studies (BS, OT, NT)
  • History (HS)
  • Theology or Philosophy (ST, PH, PT)
  • Christian Ethics or Religion & Society (CE, RS)
  • Practical Theology (FT, SP, HM, LS, PS, ED)

Certificate of Sexuality and Religion area:

  • Sexuality and Religion

Certificate of Swedenborgian Theology area:

  • Swedenborgian Studies

At least one online course will be offered by PSR each fall, spring, and summer term. PSR intensive courses are offered on campus during January and summer terms. Courses offered by other GTU schools in any format enrich the curriculum and may be taken by PSR students at no additional cost.

Those living close to the Berkeley campus but seeking the Flexible Learning experience may choose to take semester-long, on-campus courses as well as online and intensive courses.



PSR's 2014-15 Online Course Offerings

PSR's online offerings for the upcoming semesters are listed below. Remember that flexible learning courses include more than just online courses.  See the GTU course catalog for information about all PSR's flexible learning offerings (more info at bottom of this page).

Key to Course Levels

8000-8199 ONLINE Introductory courses which have no prerequisites
8200-8399 ONLINE Intermediate courses; primarily for Masters students
8400-8499 ONLINE Advanced courses for Masters and Doctoral students

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Summer 2014 Online Courses

ED-8130 Introduction to Christian Education
Instructor: Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee
Dates & Times: ONLINE, June 9 - August 15 (10 wks), asynchronous 
Credits: 3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs (40 contact hours)
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This course explores five themes: who, what, why, where, and how of
Christian religious education. Theories and contexts of religious
education will be framed through readings, praxis and discussion. The goal is to review and renew each participant's approach to educational ministries by critically reflecting on the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between the having of novel/great ideas and pragmatism. A participatory and empowering approach to religious education will be utilized throughout the course. Each participant is strongly encouraged to have a specific educational setting for praxis.  [Maximum enrollment: 20 students] This ONLINE course meets asynchronously using Moodle. It has no required meeting times. High-speed internet connection required. See http://moodle.gtu.edu/mod/resource/view.php?id=22717 for full technology requirements.

 

ST-2160 Introduction to Theology [SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE OPTION]
Instructor: Dr. Jay Johnson
Dates and Times: July 7-11, 9:00am - 1:00pm **synchronous** plus 4-week asynchronous online session from July 14-August 8

Credits: 3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs (40 contact hours)
Tuition:  $2040 academic credit / $720 CEU

This course emphasizes liberatory and contemporary thought, through brief
but in-depth encounters with historically pivotal or influential essays, texts, thinkers, and ideas. Students will learn to use and interpret basic theological concepts and models, using traditional vocabularies (doctrine of God, creation, theological anthropology, Christology, suffering and evil, soteriology, pneumatology, eschatology) by engaging a variety of theological texts critically and creatively. Students will be invited to participate as theologians while gaining a sense of how theology is a temporal, contextual, ongoing and imaginative endeavor, in which present articulations are flooded with, produced by, argue with, extend, contradict, and depart from inherited claims about the relations
between God, Jesus/Christ, the Holy Spirit, humanity, life, and the universe(s). On-campus participation for the first week (July 7-11) is strongly encouraged but alternate synchronous distance learning arrangements can be made (students must be available to Skype in during class meeting times). The online session will meet asynchronously via Moodle.

 
BSHS-2551  The Good, the Bad and the Undiscovered: Profiles in Biblical Leadership [SYNCHRONOUS ONLINE OPTION]
Instructor: Dr. Jehon Grist
Dates and Times: July 28 - August (1 wk), 1:30pm-5:30pm, **synchronous **
Credits 1.5 academic credits / 2.0 CEUs (20 contact hours)
Tuition: $1020 academic credit / $360 CEUs

The Hebrew Bible is a treasure trove of didactic stories about Biblical leaders, from kings, queens and warriors to prophetesses and priests. It presents inspiring accounts of faith and courage in the face of impossible odds, as well as resourcefulness  in making the most of available opportunities. But it also often offers blunt assessments of leaders' misguided motivations and failures.
Our course will begin with an historical/archaeological overview of the Biblical world
from 1800-100 BCE that also examines the social and ethical evolution of Israelite society. Then we will explore the lives of several Biblical leaders spanning the entire age of the Hebrew Bible, from Jacob to Moses and Miriam, Deborah, David, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Ezra and Esther. In each case, we will employ textual analysis tools to trace out both the partially hidden, original version of the story and the interpretive content added by the later writers/editors of the Bible, using techniques pioneered by Hebrew University's outstanding Biblical studies professor, Yair Zakovitch.
 Our goal in this course is nothing less than time travel: to discover the source stories of Biblical leaders and how they were interpreted over the centuries to inspire and
guide later generations in the Biblical era.
 This course is
taught face-to-face in Berkeley.  Those who are unable to come to
Berkeley may attend online via webconference.
For those who opt to attend from a distance:  Technology: For
those who opt to attend from a distance, this course meets at posted course meeting times using webconferencing, and you must be available in your corresponding time zone to participate in class. A webcam, high speed internet connection, and the latest version of Flash is required.

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Fall 2014 Online Courses (September 2 - December 19, 2014)

 
BS-8250     Swedenborgian Biblical Exegesis I (3 cr.)              
Instructor: George Dole, Ph.D
Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This Seminar is offered via Video Conference. Time and day-of-the-week TBD. After an introductory effort to locate Swedenborgian exegesis in the contexts of biblical scholarship, Swedenborgian theology, personal spirituality, and pastoral ministry, the course will focus on fundamental principles that may give coherent meaning to the biblical narrative with a view to finding coherent meaning in the narratives of our own lives. The central  issue common to both narratives is taken to be the changing nature of a covenantal relationship between Deity and humanity as it affects the formation of human community, leading to the assumption that particular episodes have meanings that can be seen only when they are viewed in that narrative context. By the close of the course, students should have the beginnings of an exegetical methodology that appropriately blends discipline and intuition in the interpretation of the Bible for personal spiritual growth and for pastoral and homiletical purposes. Students should be aware of the extensive Swedenborgian collateral literature and of the skills necessary for its responsible use. Students will be responsible for regular attendance at videoconference sessions, for the timely completion of weekly reading assignments, and for active and thoughtful participation in class discussion. There will be midterm and final papers.

OT-8114   Critical Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (3 cr.)             
Instructor:  Aaron Brody, Ph.D   
Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This course gives an overview of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, particularly the history, archaeology, societies, religions, and various cultural and political forces that shaped and influenced the preserved text. The geographic focus of the lectures will focus on the southern Levant (Holy Land) in its Near Eastern contexts, the temporal range will be approximately 2000-333 BCE. Themes will be stressed that echo PSR's core values, with special focus on leadership in its biblical forms, critical thinking, and contexts (both ancient and modern). Evaluations based on written work, take-home exams, and course participation.

ST-8130  Introduction to Swedenborgian Thought               
Instructor:  Devin Zuber, PhD
Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

Through a broad and in some areas intensive study of Swedenborg's theological and philosophical writings, we will come to an understanding of fundamental principles and insights comprising Swedenborgian thought. A brisk survey of approximately forty theological topics will be covered. Swedenborg's symbolic approach to biblical hermeneutics will be emphasized. Special focus will center on Swedenborg's integration of his scientific philosophic framework into his metaphysical cosmology. We will also study Swedenborg's biography. At all times, there will be an interest in interpretations useful for contemporary ministry. Required for SHS first year MDiv students. This course meets at posted course meeting times using Adobe Connect, and you must be available in your corresponding time zone to participate in class. A webcam, high speed internet connection, and the latest version of Flash is required.

STFT-8251   Transforming Christian Theology                    
Instructor:  Jay Johnson, Ph.D
Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This course explores the intersections of constructive theology and critical social theory (especially “queer theorizing" around sexuality and gender, but also concerning race, ethnicity, and class). By retrieving key historical insights from the development of traditional Christian doctrinal topics (such as God, Christ, Trinity, salvation, and so on), we will build strategies for transforming Christian theology in light of contemporary challenges and opportunities in Christian witness and ministry. (This course was previously taught with the title "Queer/Christian Theology.") Lecture and discussion; critical reflection papers and research project.

RARS-8321    Sexuality in Sacred Art                       
Instructor: Justin Tanis, Ph.D
Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

Many of the earliest works of art were both sacred and sexual and this connection between the two themes has continued through the ages. Some cultures have used art work to show how sex and the sacred are indistinguishable while others have used it to separate the body and spirit. The ways in which sexuality has been depicted has had an enormous influence on religious understandings of the body; for example, images of Eve and Mary Magdalene have formed popular ideas of who they were and how sexuality is related to sinfulness and redemption. This class will examine a number of themes related to sexuality in sacred art and explore our understandings of sexuality through creative expression. (Themes: Connections between Sex, Spirit and Art; Creation and Fertility; Sin and Redemption; Mysticism and Transcendence; The Sexual Body).

SPFT-8182    Spiritual Formation for Leadership           
Instructor:  James Lawrence, Ph.D
Credits:  1.5 - 3.0 academic credits / 2.0 - 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $1035 (1.5 cr.) or $2070 (3.0 cr.) / $366 (2.0 CEUs) or $732 (4.0 CEUs)

This required course for first semester PSR MDiv (take for 1.5 credits for seven weeks) and CSSC (take for 3.0 credits for entire semester) students initiates the professional leadership formation process by engaging students in experiential practices, small group interactions, and critical reflection. Selected spiritual practices from the Christian tradition will be explored in their social and historical contexts and examined critically for their role in contemporary leadership formation.
 

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January Intersession 2015  (January 5 - 30)

 
IDS-8100  The Art of Academic Writing
Instructor: Dr. Beth Ritter-Conn
Credits:  1.5 academic credits / 2.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This writing course is designed to orient students to the primary types of academic writing they will be asked to do during their years at PSR and the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), including reflection papers, research papers, critical essays and exegetical papers. The course is intended to help students learn or "dust off" the writing skills they will need to succeed academically while in seminary. Through online lectures and discussions, extensive exercises, and brief homework assignments, participants will learn the art and technique of composing critical writing in a U.S. academic setting. Among other topics, this course will cover: developing a topic; identifying reliable resources; reading and note-taking; constructing a thesis; writing and revising the outline, body, introduction and conclusion of a paper; formatting footnotes and bibliography; and preparing an audience-oriented summary of a paper. Participants will also learn how to identify and use the online resources of the GTU library. Finally, the course will introduce PSR's Plagiarism Policy and will offer students strategies for avoiding plagiarism.
This ONLINE course meets asynchronously using Moodle. It has no required meeting times. High-speed internet connection required.

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Spring 2015 Online Courses  (February 2 - May 22, 2015)

 

ST-8130     Swedenborgian Biblical Exegesis II (3 cr.)              
Instructor: George Dole, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This is the second semester of a two semester course. This course meets via videconference. Please see prerequisite below. After an introductory effort to locate Swedenborgian exegesis in the contexts of biblical scholarship, Swedenborgian theology, personal spirituality, and pastoral ministry, the course will focus on fundamental principles that may give coherent meaning to the biblical narrative with a view to finding coherent meaning in the narratives of our own lives. The central issue common to both narratives is taken to be the changing nature of a covenantal relationship between Deity and humanity as it affects the formation of human community, leading to the assumption that particular episodes have meanings that can be seen only when they are viewed in that narrative context. By the close of the course, students should have the beginnings of an exegetical methodology that appropriately blends discipline and intuition in the interpretation of the Bible for personal spiritual growth and for pastoral and homiletical purposes. Students should be aware of the extensive Swedenborgian collateral literature and of the skills necessary for its responsible use. Students will be responsible for regular attendance at video conference sessions, for the timely completion of weekly reading assignments, and for active and thoughtful participation in class discussion. There will be midterm and final papers. This course meets at posted course meeting times using Adobe Connect, and you must be available in your corresponding time zone to participate in class. A webcam, high speed internet connection, and the latest version of Flash is required.

HS-8100   History of Christianity (3 cr.)                             
Instructor: Randi Walker, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This course is an introduction to the history of Christianity for MDiv and MA students. The course will introduce the student to the art of thinking about history as a tool for thinking about the present and future. The course will introduce significant events, people, and influences in the development of Christian life and thought. The course will be a lecture and discussion format, grades will be based on student written assignments and contribution to the content of the course through short presentations in discussions in class and online. Students will have the opportunity to focus on the historical development of their particular denominational traditions within the work of the course. This ONLINE course meets asynchronously using Moodle. It has no required meeting times.High-speed internet connection required.

HS-8235  Swedenborg in History                               
Instructor:  Devin Zuber, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This course will engage situating Swedenborg (and his influence) in history, beginning with his sources in contexts such as radical pietistism, neoplatonic Christian thought, enlightenment empirical science, and Western hermeticism, and then continuing through a diverse reception that includes artistic movements in English and German Romanticism, the French symbolist writers, Transcendentalism, Spiritualism, early American pluralism, as well as the sectarian churches around the world that bear his name. We will explore how these various cultural, aesthetic,and intellectual receptions have occurred and what ideas or concepts have been appropriated.

STCE-8253 Transforming Christian Community                            
Instructor:  Jay Johnson, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

How can Christian witness shape communities of social change? How are ostensibly secular movements of social change reshaping the mission and dynamics of Christian congregations? Where do these questions  intersect with emerging forms of theological ethics concerning sexuality, gender, and family? This course invites exploration of these topics through the lens of historical Christian traditions and critical social theory (especially forms of "queer theorizing"). An analysis of diverse sexual intimacies and varied familial patterns will suggest more broadly the challenges and opportunities for nurturing theologically rooted and ritually formed Christian communities of social transformation. Lectures, discussion, presentations, and final project. This course meets asynchronously using Moodle. It has no required meeting times. High-speed internet connection required.

RS-8239  Varieties of LGBT Religion                                  
Instructor: Edward Gray, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

Stories highlighting debates over the place of gays and lesbian believers in American religious life fill the media nearly every day. These reports give us some indication of the varieties of religious phenomena experienced by lesbians and gay men in diverse religious traditions. Many hold a deep alliance to these traditions. Others follow a more sectarian impulse. Still others pursue new forms of spiritual practice outside easily recognized religious structures in popular culture. This course will give students an appreciation of the variety of religious life among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons of faith. This ONLINE course meets asynchronously using Moodle. It has no required meeting times. High-speed internet connection required.

ED-8135  Critical Religious Pedagogy: A Christian Approach             
Instructor: Boyung Lee, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

This course explores five themes: the who, what, why, where, and how of Christian religious education. Philosophy of education and ministry will be framed through readings, praxis and discussion. The goal is to review and renew each participant's approach to educational ministries in diverse context by critically reflecting on the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between the having of novel/great ideas and pragmatism. Specifically, participants are hoped to be able to: 1. differentiate different approaches to religious education, and understand the fundamentals of critical pedagogy as a framework for religious  education; 2. understand the nature of Christian Religious Education and its theological, historical, and educational contexts from critical pedagogical perspective; 3. identify their own assumptions about and approaches to Faith Education, and how these are derived from and influence their own personal, social, political, cultural, racial, and religious contexts; 4. critically evaluate these approaches through readings, lectures, small group work, and other class activities; 5. articulate and develop in a written form their own theology of education; and 6. develop skills to create and facilitate communities of learning and teaching, and, through small group work, learn the basics of curriculum development. A participatory and empowering approach to Critical Christian Religious Pedagogy will be utilized throughout the course. Each participant is strongly encouraged to have a specific educational setting for praxis. This ONLINE course meets  synchronously using Moodle. It has no required meeting times. High-speed internet connection required.

SPRS-8211  Sports, Spirituality and Culture                    
Instructor:  James Lawrence, Ph.D

Credits:  3.0 academic credits / 4.0 CEUs
Tuition:  $2070 academic credit / $732 CEU

Sport culture claims a dominating place in American life but a diminutive role in religious discourse, which should be reconsidered in light of the facts that: religion is commonly invoked within the arena of sport itself; sport culture represents a living sphere where moral issues  involving gender, race relations, sexual orientation, class, and economics are played out; and pro and amateur athletes often understand their participation as a spiritual practice. We will explore sport culture broadly as a  spirituality site using a multidisciplinary approach through history, sociology, theology, and spiritual practice. Lecture/Seminar. Class presentations; research paper (M.Div. students have option of pastoral project instead). Intended audience: MDiv, MTS, MA. This ONLINE course meets at posted course meeting times using Adobe Connect, and you must be available in your corresponding time zone to participate in class. A webcam, high speed internet connection, and the latest version of Flash is required.

Only programs with specific areas for foundational requirements are listed. For example CAPS and CSS are not listed even though all flexible-format courses may apply to them because there are no course area requirements for these programs. If a program is not listed, it may be assumed that the flexible-format course may be used toward elective credits needed for the unlisted program. Note that the MA program limits a total of 5 online courses that can be used toward the program, but the remainder of PSR programs have no limits for online/flexible format courses.

Summer Courses

PSR Summer Session courses are listed on the summer session web pages.

All GTU Schools & All Flexible Learning Formats:  The GTU Course Catalog

The GTU course catalog contains listings of all of PSR and other GTU schools’ courses. Access the catalog here and search in various ways to locate courses with flexible elements, including face-to-face intensives, evening or weekend courses, hybrid, or online. 1) Search by the course level of 8000-8999 to identify courses classified as online.  2) Search by summer or January intersession to identify intensive courses.  3) Search by time or day of the week to locate evening or weekend courses.