Verbum et Ecclesia
On-line version ISSN 1609-9982
OLIVER, Erna. Teaching Open Distance Learning undergraduates in Theology to become effective change agents. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2013, vol.34, n.1, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1609-9982.
Teaching Theology in the African context presents unique challenges. In general, living conditions in South Africa did not improve much since the first democratic elections were held in 1994. Students have to cope with extreme living conditions whilst also focusing on their distance learning activities. Reflexive research that started in 2010 showed that opportunities could be created to make a greater impact on the students' lives through innovative and interactive study material and teaching methods. The second year course 'World Christianity and ecumenism' provided ample opportunity to be used in an experiment to interact with students during the course of the semester in such a way that they could be challenged to act as change agents in their congregations and communities. By helping students to practise the values and skills learned and to transfer the knowledge gained from the course, they could be motivated to see themselves not only as learners, but also as teachers and educators. This motivated students to take greater responsibility for their own learning and also help to create a more favourable learning environment for others by acting as educators and leaders in their respective communities. By advocating, planning and implementing actions to promote positive change, students could become actively involved in ecumenical activities, upliftment projects and environmental awareness programmes. The positive impact of this study could be expanded into the wider B.Th. programme at University of South Africa through the current process of re-curriculating.