We didn’t spend a ton of time asking our research participants about institutional support for digital skill development or online learning. But from what little we did speak about it, one conclusion became abundantly clear:
The best resource for advocating for change in your setting is you.
Whether you are known as a gadget-obsessed early adopter; a cautious, curious supporter who understands that our cultures are changing; or an avowed technology skeptic who simply wants your students to be conversant enough to push back.
Whether you’re an early-career professor seeking to make a splash with your teaching, a post-tenure senior scholar with respect across the institution, an administrator trying to keep your faculty focused on the future, or an adjunct instructor who brings deep experience with ministry “on the ground.”
Whether you have any official authority over media and curriculum—or not.
If you believe your institution should be creating digital literacy development experiences for your students, then you have the power to make a difference in your system. We’ve even seen talented students and invested alums have an outsized impact.
We believe this, most importantly, because we have lived it. When Lisa and Kyle began their time at Virginia Theological Seminary, it’s fair to say the school was—how shall we put this?—not at the cutting edge. Of technology infrastructure even, to say nothing of awareness of new media’s relevance for ministry.
We wouldn’t say we’re at the cutting edge yet, but we’ve made remarkable progress. That’s largely thanks to
- our well-attended yearly e-Formation Conference, which put this topic on our colleagues’ radar;
- our supportive administrators and faculty, who have been willing to hear us out and partner with us when we’ve asked;
- our thoughtful students, many of whom brought adept digital literacy experience with them and used these skills to contribute to the life of our community; and
- our own willingness to step up to the plate when leadership opportunities presented themselves, to celebrate the skills every student and educator brings to this work (often without even knowing it), and on occasion to stick our necks out a bit.
We’ll be adding to this site some of the artifacts we used to help make the case for change in our setting. We hope, if you’ve been part of a story like this—and we know from our research that some of you have—that you will share yours as well.