External Studies/Distance Education
In an effort to further assist our students in reaching their academic goals, VES offers interactive distance education courses through an online 7-week modular format. This delivery option will benefit external studies students who would like to access their course lectures from any location, as long as a computer and Internet connection are available. This delivery option also benefits our residential students who may have missed a course and do not want to wait until it is taught live again. These pre-recorded courses include the exact same lectures given in the residential course, as well as any audio/visual aides used by the professor, in an easy to watch streaming video that is controlled by the click of your mouse. Your course syllabus, resources, and lectures are all available in on easy–to–access learning management system (Populi). All coursework is submitted online, eliminating the cost of shipping.
The external studies program follows an academic calendar, and therefore, courses may be taken twice a semester during a 7-week module. Courses may be taken in any sequence unless there are stated prerequisites. All admission requirements are the same for all VES degree programs. The external studies program is open to foreign and U.S. citizens without a residency requirement in order to graduate. Each course will be offered via streaming video (or in some rare cases audio) lectures completed over a 7-week period. For example, a course which began on September 24 will be completed by October 9.
The major benefits of the interactive external studies format are regular, meaningful professor-to-student interaction, student-to-student interaction, and classroom-like structure that encourage the development of thriving community of online learners. It is our desire to connect with you on a regular basis and to offer academic support as you pursue a deeper understanding and application of God’s Word. We understand that it is hard for external students to feel connected due to time and distance, but it is our prayer that this format allows us to create a better sense of family for you here at VES.
Each external studies course is designed as follows:
- Set Enrollment Periods: A set enrollment period provides structure and focus to help guide you in the learning process and brings more students together in online courses. Enrollment periods will precede each of the two seven-week modules offered each semester (see semester schedule), and an enrollment period prior to the summer term will also be available.
- Semester Course Schedule: External studies courses are offered in two seven-week modules per semester. Student can choose courses from a pre-planned semester schedule (see this semester’s external studies schedule here: Spring Course Schedule).
- Discussion Boards: External studies courses have discussion incorporated into the course to allow students to encourage each other and work through key concepts together. We hope that the discussion board interaction will help spark creativity, community, and encourage academic growth for each student.
- Classroom Structure, Course Assignments and Grading: Each course will be fully completed within a seven-week time period. The professors will provide a weekly schedule of assignments and reading that will help guide you along in the learning process. In addition, professors will be grading your weekly work and providing timely feedback on your assignments throughout the course module. This is to provide guidance, and to encourage continual learning and growth throughout your courses. By the end of seven weeks you will have completed your course and gained a sense of accomplishment for all your hard work!
Each external studies course includes:
- Course syllabus which contains course objections and requirements
- Course instructions that offer special guidance
- Course materials: electronic handouts, powerpoints, pdfs, etc. that are provided by the professors
- Streaming video (or audio on occasion) lectures taught by VES professors
- Exam/quiz Proctor Form (the students recruit a proctor for the administration of exams): On occasion, your professor will require you to take a quiz or an exam. In order to fulfill exam assignments you will first need to submit to VES your enclosed Proctor Form, which identifies a qualified individual (e.g. professor, pastor, counselor, librarian, teacher, educational administrator, or an individual employed by a professional learning center) who is a non-family member that will ensure accountability and administer and return your exam/quiz to VES for grading.
- External studies students are responsible for obtaining any textbooks required for their courses.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For external studies students who have already completed the courses offered during the semester, we offer fifteen-week independent study courses on a case-by-case basis, as needed. It is our commitment to you that you will be able to finish your degree in a timely manner. If you need a certain course to complete your degree that is not offered in a pre-scheduled module, we will work with you to facilitate your need. However, if the course is offered in a module, students are encouraged to enroll in those courses as a first choice.