About the Consortium for Christian Online Education
The Consortium began as a special project of Good News Productions, International of Joplin, Missouri. Following a meeting in Kansas City prior to a North American Christian Convention in 1997, a one-day conference was called to discuss the topic of distance learning. When nothing was decided after that meeting, a number of college representatives urged GNPI not to let the momentum drop, and to proceed with the possibility of using the Internet to develop college-level courses as a group project of interested schools. Five colleges agreed to continue. A meeting was held in Pasadena, California, later that year and it was decided to offer one course as soon as possible. Dr. James North, of Cincinnati Christian Seminary, agreed to put his History of the Restoration Movement class online. It was first offered in the fall of 1999 with 20 students from five colleges enrolled. Nine colleges signed on as either Members or Associate Members of what was then called The Christian College Consortium For Distance Learning. Each school contributed either $1,000 or $500 a year to fund initial course development. That arrangement continued for the first three years of the Consortium’s existence, until there were more courses and a greater enrollment. Over the years, eighteen additional courses were added, until in recent years the Consortium was offering a total of 19 courses.
The philosophy of the Consortium is not to create courses to constitute a block in one curricular area, but to offer specialty courses most schools would not have a specialist to offer. Introduction to Islam and Youth Ministry Dynamics were two of these first courses offered. Dr. Robert Douglas of Lincoln Christian Seminary had the outstanding credentials to offer the Islam course, and the staff of Christ-In-Youth, led by Dr. Gary Zustiak, developed the Youth Ministry course. Outstanding specialists have been recruited to lead additional courses. Each college can offer the course or courses that fit into its curricular format. Colleges offer their own credit and collect tuition from students who enroll at their school. At the close of the fifteenth year of the Consortium, over 6,000 students have enrolled from over 20 colleges.
The Consortium For Christian Online Education has a Board of Directors made up of College Administrators, Distance Learning Specialists and Online Teachers. New courses are proposed and approved by this board. Future development of the Consortium will be open to suggestions and recommendations from the various colleges that participate in the program. New course development will continue to expand the list of online courses to meet the needs of both individual students and college curricular programs.