Student Life & the Online Environment
OSC is a fully integrated online college where students participate in specific course discussion boards and live classroom interaction held at our college chat site. Such interaction is also an integral aspect of self-study at OSC, whereby students can interact with other students in self-study paths and courses to retain a sense of community and connection. In addition to a fully integrated online learning environment, students have access to a wide range of support services to foster academic growth and build a sense of community.
Upon acceptance, students are provided with a school email account and access to the OSC Student Center. This is the social hub of the university where students can connect with each other and also participate in external student-run groups and activities. Students may also join the OSC Facebook page or follow OSC on Twitter. Students also have access to the seminary bookstore, campus store for gear such as sweatshirts and other gifts, library resources, and writing center. Transcripts and course progress information remains updated regularly in a student's personal records forum.
Admitted students are also encouraged to schedule 1:1 time with Dr. MacDowell to discuss their goals, course issues, and any personal challenges that emerge during the course of their studies by requesting individual advising time. All academic and personal advising time occurs via the integrated OSC chat room, Skype, or by phone. Dr. MacDowell is also readily available via email at any time students need to contact her.
Learning at OSC
At the heart of OSC are adult learners, cooperation, and collaborative learning. Learning material and goals are always flexible to ensure that the wide range of learning styles students have are met. We pride ourselves on student success and the creation of a learning environment that captures the positives and helps students set realistically challenge goals. We encourage students out-of-the-box thinking and to express their own views, rather than regurgitate. Students are encouraged to critique the work they read and to value their own views, while engaging in dynamic discussions with others. Students regularly participate in what types of courses they would like to see offered and how. We've added whole new majors based on student demand; we also readily adjust textbooks based on student ideas. Additionally, for students with psychological or physical challenges, we work with that student to adjust their program and accessibility needs to ensure they are able to participate in the broader religious dialogue that they are often excluded from in traditional university settings.
How Courses Are Delivered
OSC offers a wide range of dynamic virtual learning and in September of 201 will be unfolding a fully integrated online course management platform. Our course structures are as follows:
- Independent Study, whereby students are in charge of their learning goals and work with their faculty advisor on a research project throughout a semester or a year.
- Self-Paced Study. To ensure that students do not become only "students" at the expense of the rest of their beingness, OSC offers most courses as self-paced study where students may complete work at a pace that fits their life-needs.
- Group-Paced Study. Students work at a shared pace that involves consistent dialogue with each other through class discussions and specific deadlines for assignments.
- Hybrid Study. In these course structures students work at their own pace within a broader group to allow for optional discussions.
- Live-chat Seminars. Throughout the year and within the initiatory programs, students may opt to participate in short one-evening seminars to have active discussions with their professor and each other.
- Integrated Classroom. These are courses that have both live, online chats built into the curriculum coupled with traditional group-paced study; including face-to-face Skype classes.
Types of Courses
Ocean Seminary College throughout the year offers several kinds of courses delivered through the above methods. They are:
- Full-term Semester Courses. These are courses that are delivered for the full-length of the semester (12 weeks with a 1-week vacation between weeks 6 and 7). In this courses students have weekly assignments and deadlines and engage in dialogue with their classmates.
- Fundamental Intensives. These are 6 week/lesson courses that may be delivered as self-paced or in group format and are focused on an intense exploration of a specific topic.
- Full-term Self-study Courses. These are 12- to 20-lesson courses that are entirely self-paced and allow students to work in a manner that suits their life. However, students are required to complete at least 6 lessons per semester for the course unless arrangements have been made with the Dean.
- Skills Labs. These are courses that are designed to provide students with critical knowledge in a wide range of academic subjects to ensure they succeed in their program. Subjects include topics such as research methods, publishing, statistics, writing, business, ancient languages, and science. **Writing course is not given for credit and is typically required for students who struggle with the entrance exam and would do well to have a brief review of writing skills.
- Seminars. These are live-chat courses that last between 1 to 3 hours and are designed as workshops on a specific topic or to provide greater exploration of a topic being taught.
- Supervised Mentoring. These are student-designed or research-based courses whereby the student works with a faculty member on a topic of their own choosing.