Abilene Christian University featured in Faith & Leadership

Posted Dec 07, 2012 | New Media Project

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By Verity A. Jones


Abilene Christian University, one of the six case study sites for the New Media Project, was profiled this week in the online magazine Faith & Leadership. The west Texas school affiliated with the Churches of Christ was selected for the New Media Project study because of its innovative mobile learning initiative, ACU Connected. New Media Project Research Fellow Lerone A. Martin conducted the case study in 2011, which along with the other five studies became the foundation of our theological and descriptive work.

Fiona Soltes’ article about ACU in Faith & Leadership skillfully describes the benefits and challenges of using so much mobile technology in a university setting, from the classroom to the chapel to field education. Students and professors communicate with each other more frequently and directly, they report. Access to information on the Internet broadens students’ understanding of lessons. Students and researchers alike are testing and evaluating what technology like this does to a university.

One new development since Martin wrote the case study is ACU at CitySquare, which Soltes describes as “an emerging partnership between the school and innovative nonprofit that addresses the root causes of poverty in inner-city Dallas.” Although ACU students have been involved with the nonprofit for some time, beginning next year ACU will establish a remote campus in one of CitySquare’s buildings where students will live and learn about poverty in context while also remaining connected to the main campus via technology.

Fascinating. Technology is actually enabling contextual, hands-on, communal learning in urban areas rather than detracting from it by isolating students behind screens.

Both the article and the case study are worth reading, of course. And I look forward to discovering where ACU might go next.

Verity A. Jones is the executive director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, and project director of the New Media Project which is now part of this new Center.

The New Media Project is a research project helping religious leaders become theologically savvy about technology. To request permission to repost this content, please contact newmediaproject@cts.edu.

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