Digital Course Formats and Experiences

With the advent of new tools and technologies, the seminary classroom is no longer restricted to one place at one time.  Students from all over the world can now engage with each other and their professors in real-time or on-demand.  Digital course formats include:

  • Digital LiveDigital Live courses are designed for students who desire to participate in the real-time seminary classroom anywhere in the world.  Students are able to engage live with their professor and learning teams.  In between class sessions, students complete on-demand online coursework.
  • Semlink – Semlink courses are designed for students who desire maximum schedule flexibility.  Under the active oversight of a professor, students complete on-demand online coursework each week with strategic and scheduled real-time moments between the students and the professor and other students throughout the course.
  • Web-Enhanced – Web-Enhanced courses are a blend between on-demand and real-time course formats and are typically only found in the M.Div. or Professional Degree Programs.  Students complete weekly on-demand online coursework, have scheduled live online meetings,  but also come together for a three-day in-person Residency experience.

Below is a chart by which you can compare these three digital course formats, Digital Live (DL), Semlink and Web-Enhanced (WE):

Total Course Hours

DL: 135 Semlink: 135 WE: 135

Real-Time Class Requirement

DL: 22-30 hours Semlink: 3-10 hours WE: 22-30 hours

On-Campus Requirement

DL: Optional Semlink: Not required WE: Required

On-Demand Content

DL: Yes Semlink: Yes WE: Yes

Instructor-to Student and Peer-to-Peer Interaction

DL:Yes Semlink: Yes WE: Yes

Learning Teams and Group Work

DL: Yes Semlink: Varies WE: Yes

Course Hours

All three credit-hour courses are designed to have a combined 135 hours of coursework.  This includes all live class meetings, on-demand content, readings, assignments, etc.  A course format that has fewer real-time meeting requirements, such as Semlink, may have more of other types of activities (such as more readings or on-demand lectures).

Real-Time and On-Demand

All three digital course formats feature both real-time online class meetings and on-demand content (readings, lectures, etc.).  In Digital Live courses, students can attend real-time class meetings online or in person.  In between class sessions, students in Digital Live courses engage with other on-demand course material and group assignments.

Semlink courses are more heavily weighted towards on-demand content and independent learning, though most will have at least a few scheduled online class meetings.  Groups do not feature as prominently in most Semlink courses, where students interact with their instructor and fellow-students in a limited-size class.

Web-Enhanced courses feature a blend of Digital Live and Semlink formats.  For the first eight weeks of the course, students engage primarily in on-demand learning with a couple live meetings and some group work.  At the ninth week, students travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for a 2.5 day Residency.  This format is most common in practical theology courses.  Students can pair two course Residencies together to limit their travel needs for their degree program.


Every digital class format places a strong emphasis on both instructor-to-student and peer-to-peer interaction.  This emphasis can manifest itself in courses in variety of ways.  Interaction can take the form of video conferencing, collaborative group work and activities, peer review, threaded discussions, tutoring, and much more!

Teaching and Learning Teams

Most Digital Live and Web-Enhanced courses are built around group learning and participation.  Some Semlink courses utilize small-group collaboration, as well.  Digital Live courses are often further enhanced by teaching teams that involve the instructor and teaching assistants teaching and supporting the student throughout the course.


Need Guidance? We Can Help!

Do you need assistance discerning what online option is right for you?  Fill out an information request form or contact our Admissions team.

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