COVID-19 made a widespread impact this spring, changing the day-to-day life for so many — globally and nationally — and personally affected Biola University students, staff and faculty. Like most other universities across the nation, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, Biola suspended all on-campus operations with the exception of individuals who were needed for essential on-campus tasks.
Despite the interruption in the middle of the spring semester, Biola’s Office of Digital Learning was resourceful and prepared to move students and faculty online.
“Biola’s faculty members are embracing this moment and delivering through creative and innovative ways their courses and student care,” said Biola President Barry H. Corey, in a letter addressing the Biola community on March 17. “I am delighted and encouraged by the ways in which they continue to educate our students in their intellectual, professional and spiritual development. They do this out of love for their students.”
Talbot School of Theology, over the last five years, has significantly expanded its online education offerings, including several fully online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The majority of faculty are experienced online instructors and have a well-established infrastructure to manage the technical and administrative needs to offer quality theological education online.
“All the lessons we’ve learned about how to engage students meaningfully online, creating effective learning communities and attending to student needs — even at a distance — are serving us well in these challenging days,” said Dominic Vincent, director of extensions and online education. “We made an almost seamless transition to remote delivery due to the virus restrictions. The provision of resources and talented personnel who have equipped us with these capabilities are gifts from God.”
With the “Safer at Home” order in place, all of Biola’s scheduled events through the end of spring semester were cancelled. Spring commencement ceremonies, originally scheduled for May 8 and 9, were also postponed. In the midst of uncertainty, Biola leaders emphasized praying as a community. To stay connected, Talbot Associated Students encouraged students to join online gatherings to meet or chat online. Talbot faculty have also shared reflections on the epidemic on Talbot’s Good Book Blog, including Kenneth Berding’s historical reflections on how the early Christians responded to plagues.