Williams, B. Raymond “Information Technology in Seminaries” February 2001 http://www.religion-online.org/cgi-bin/relsearchd.dll/showarticle?item_id=2207. Link Accessed: 2004-04-21.

Keywords: Religion, Inforamtion Technology

Abstract:

The paper focuses on how the explosion of information technology (IT) is affecting the world around us and how IT can be used to further the public’s knowledge of religion. Today, more and more information is being digitized and made available on the Internet. Hundreds of theological works and journals are being published on the web for easy access by the community. While the prospect of educating thousands of people has many advantages, there are also many potential problems to the digitization of ministry. As with most innovations, challenges are a plentiful as potential benefits. For instance:

  • Equipment can be very expensive and with the lack of proper funds, the theological schools can lag a few steps behind the current trends in information technology.
  • Teachers and instructors will have to take time away from other activities to become fully competent in how to use the technology.
  • Schools and denominations may become so infatuated with a ‘new market’ that they may distance themselves from their home community.
  • Distance learning changes the way students and teachers interact. The student loses the personal interaction with an instructor by sitting in front of a computer screen.
  • Schools will need technicians and IT professionals to keep the system running which can be very expensive.
  • Schools must make sure that it is capable of providing quality education with experienced instructors before it markets to the public.
  • Among the many benefits to online religious publication is the ability to allow the seminary to reach out to those who cannot afford to travel or are too busy with family or other matters for traditional education. Clergy are also accessing online information which helps to facilitate continuing education in spirituality. While it was once considered that only the ordained could be educated in spiritual matters, information technology is allowing the laity to become more educated and active in the church.

    Contributed by Adam Collet – Accounting & Information Systems, Virginia Tech