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Character Formation in Online Education

A Guide for Instructors, Administrators, and Accrediting Agencies
Joanne J. Jung
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The unfortunate reputation of online education today is one of little or no effort on the professor's part and little or no learning on the student's part. A missing element in much online education is the kind of mutual engagement between student and instructor that provides not only a higher level of learning but also lasting character formation within the student.

Character Formation in Online Education stems from author Joanne Jung's years of experience teaching online courses with the aim of improving the teaching environment for professors and the learning environment for students. By replicating, customizing, and incorporating the best and most effective practices of what a great professor does in on-campus classes, reimagined for an online delivery system, Jung shows how a higher level of learning and transformation can be achieved through online learning communities.

Handy and practical, this user-friendly book provides guidance, helpful tools, and effective suggestions for growing learning communities in online courses that are marked by character growth in students—the kind of growth that is central to the mission of Christian higher education.


The timing was perfect. I, the online education newbie, was eager to learn what to do. Joanne Jung was the master with a fresh new manual written just for people like me. I ate it up. What a fascinating collage of insights! Puritan history, positive psychology, spiritual mystery, and contemporary pedagogy, all woven together into a single guide to online education for those of us who are concerned not only with the accumulation of information but also in the development of Christian character. I put Joanne’s suggestions into practice with passion: instructor presence and collaborative participation, lecture videos, teaming with a course designer, and more. Much to my surprise, both my students and I are really enjoying the online educational experience. And what is more, we are growing in our faith through the experience. -- Evan B. Howard, Affiliate Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality, Fuller Theological Seminary

As we become more aware of the need for creating environments that are conducive to fostering and promoting spiritual formation in Christian distance education, this book helps everyone from the novice to the well-informed navigate the waters of online course development. Jung has developed a valuable instrument for guiding the practitioner toward an understanding of the integration between formative experiences through the relationships in community and learning content. Her book bridges the divide between online and hybrid education in a way that helps one apply basic principles of formation in technologically mediated learning environments. -- Mary E. Lowe, Associate Dean and Professor, School of Divinity, Liberty University

Character formation in online education? If that sounds like an oxymoron, get ready for a paradigm shift. And no one is better equipped to change the way we think about spiritual formation in the digital age than Joanne Jung. This book is the product of years of classroom experience from an educator who is both a leader in spiritual formation in the classroom and a pioneer in the application of distance-learning technology. And she’s passionate. She cares about her students, she cares about her teaching, and she cares about making an impact for Christ’s kingdom. Whether you are just preparing your first online class or have been working in the digital classroom for a decade, this book will bring fresh ideas and new inspiration. Read it. Your students will thank you! -- Moyer Hubbard, Associate Professor, Talbot School of Theology, Chair, New Testament Department

The future reality of online education has generated a good deal of anxiety among educators, particularly Christian educators who care about the personal and spiritual development of students. Joanne Jung has provided a vision for how online education may in fact open whole new opportunities for relationally and spiritually connecting with students in all kinds of fields where the traditional classroom sometimes fails. Online education in some cases provides the professor an opportunity to relate to more students and hear what is actually going on in their lives than they might in a physical classroom setting where there are more limitations on relational space. For some students this might be a very important and welcome change in their educational experience. There is much to think about and build upon in these pages. -- John Coe, Director, Institute for Spiritual For Formation; Professor at Talbot School of Theology

The famous advertising man David Ogilvy believes a big idea is one he wishes he thought of himself. Joanne has written a book that I wish I wrote! My prediction is that the majority of learning in the lives of my children and grandchildren will be done on mobile devices in the future. Online education will dominate. Dr. Jung has given us the first real pathway to spiritual formation in cyberspace. Congratulations! -- Michael K. Clifford, Education Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

All of us in the Christian higher-education enterprise are asking the same question: Can we use technology to educate students without foregoing the virtues inherent in our universities? These virtues define us: Christlike formation, faculty mentoring, character development, thoughtful and biblical integration, and the nurturing of a servant leader. Without these, we go limp. For anyone asking those questions, you need to read Character Formation in Online Education. Dr. Joanne Jung, contemplative and historically grounded professor, guides thoughtful leaders through the complex and growing place of digital learning in Christian higher education today. -- Barry H. Corey, President, Biola University

Can character formation and online education really coexist? In this brief, hands-on introductory guide, Joanne Jung demonstrates the realistic opportunities for bringing head and heart together in student learning. Employing a conversational style and laden with the details one wants to know, Jung encourages and empowers college teachers, in turn, to encourage and empower their students within this distinctive educational delivery system. Part Two, focusing on character formation, offers great ideas for going deeper, beyond the important but usual knowledge and competency learning outcomes. Furthermore, bonus features include guidance for first-time online instructors and insights about a robust conception of teaching and the integration of faith and learning that can stimulate veteran professors. -- Klaus Issler, Professor of Christian Education and Theology, Biola University

  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 144
  • Format: Softcover
  • ISBN: 9780310520306
  • Release: October 13, 2015