On a weeknight about four years ago, I walked down the pathway that runs past Biola’s Bell Tower, climbed into my car and let out an audible, “Thank you, Lord.”
I had just finished the first night of “Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods” with professor Ben Shin — the first class in my master’s program at Talbot School of Theology — and I was filled with deep gratitude. Even from that first three-hour session, I knew God was going to use the semester (and the many others to follow) to profoundly grow my faith and my ability to understand, apply and share his Word. Over the ensuing weeks, I found myself wishing that everyone could have a chance to sit where I sat and listen to Shin’s clear, memorable lectures.
Today, the wonderful news is that they can, completely for free.
Through a groundbreaking new website called Open Biola — the focus of this issue’s cover story — visitors from anywhere in the world can now watch the full video recordings not only of Shin’s class, but of more than 1,500 individual class lectures, chapel messages, conference sessions and more. The classes don’t come with degree credit (or homework assignments, reading, exams or tuition, for that matter), but they are rich resources for people who want to learn from some of Biola’s best and brightest scholars.
It’s all found at open.biola.edu, which — I can say without any bias — is one of the most innovative, excitement-worthy websites I’ve seen Biola or any other university launch.
Here’s what the site might mean for you:
▶ For alumni, it’s a chance to “audit” a class that you would have liked to take while you were a student.
▶ For parents and prospective students, it’s a chance to see firsthand what the Biola experience is all about, including how faith enters into a psychology or art class.
▶ For current students, it’s a chance to scope out which professors and classes you won’t want to miss in coming semesters — or catch up on lectures from a class you’re currently taking.
▶ For supporters, it’s a chance to see your donations and prayers at work.
▶ For audiences around the world, it’s a chance to grow in knowledge on a whole range of issues, particularly as they relate to a Christian worldview.