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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Spirituality in Online Learning: Supporting One's Quest for Meaning

Scott Hamm (Abilene Christian University & Cisco College, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 10:15am
Leadership, Values and Society
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere A4
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 6

The spiritual side of the online learner was examined in a longitudinal. Quantitative and qualitative data are examined offering strategies to address student spirituality.

Extended Abstract

At Abilene Christian University, a five-year study was conducted in an online class in the Higher Education graduate program. Students participated in a pre-post test of the Benson/Donahue Faith Maturity Index and a post-course debriefing was conducted with selected cohorts.

The course, the Spiritual Development of College Students, examined personal spiritual development as well as the spiritual development of college students. The overarching goal of the course was to develop, evaluate, design, implement, and manage a spiritual development strategy at a college or university. The course focused on a variety of religions and addressed the oft neglected spiritual aspect of the learner in the distance education experience.

This presentation examines the longitudinal data and provides strategies and ideas to address the spirituality of the online learner. Faith-based institutions often address the spiritual dimension of the learner from a Christian perspective. However, the online learner comes from a variety of spiritual backgrounds. This research and corresponding presentation address ways to engage and nurture the spiritual side of the learner with practices and ideas that are applicable to all religious backgrounds.

Lead Presenter

Scott Hamm is the Director of Mobile Learning Research, working in the Adams Center for Teaching & Learning at Abilene Christian University. He coordinates ACU's Mobile Learning Fellowship program and directs innovative approaches to learning using mobility. Scott is authoring a chapter for the Routledge Press Handbook for Mobile Learning to be released in Summer 2012. His research interests include online environments and mentoring. An article pending publication highlights his work studying online mentoring and the effect on course outcomes and spiritual development. Scott did his undergraduate work in education at Penn State; graduate work in Religious Education at Abilene Christian University; and received Doctorate in Educational Ministry at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, 2006. Scott recently started a PhD program in Computing Technology at Nova Southeastern University. His research agenda is evidence-based instructional design and emerging pedagogy. Recent publications include an article in the Journal of Teaching Theology and Religion on the synthesis of learning in an online course. Scott teaches in the graduate education and higher education programs at ACU and is an adjunct instructor at Cisco College in the psychology department.