For the last several years, Dio has been pioneering online adult education. In courses on topics as diverse as reconciliation, Anglican Origins, and the Gospel of Mark, hundreds of people from across Canada and the United States have gathered online to learn from college faculty and then discuss material further in groups. Individuals, congregations, regional ministries, and whole dioceses have taken part.
The Rev. Diane Hilpert-McIlroy holds the position of Mentor and Spiritual Supporter for the Diocese of Moosonee. Part of her responsibility is to foster continuing education for the ordained clergy. Through Dio, she has led groups on the Anglican Origins and Wholeness and Holiness courses. Here, she reflects on the experience of these courses.
When some of the people in my Diocese talked about taking a course on the Gospel of Mark offered by Montreal Dio last fall, I decided to register too. Anyone who has ever studied by “distanced education” or tried to finish a degree online knows it can be very challenging. But seeing the instructor face to face on Zoom, being able to ask questions, and to hear the questions that others asked, made it an enriching educational experience. So, when Montreal Dio offered a course on Anglican Origins during Lent, I encouraged people to register. Although I was apprehensive that the process of registering a group would be complicated, it was not!
Both the Rev. Dr. Jesse Zink and Dr. Hilary Bogert-Winkler have a tremendous depth of knowledge on the subjects they teach. They not only teach, but also invite questions and discussion. Additionally, the online site for the course, Moodle, provided easy access to topics and resources that expanded upon their teaching.
Our group gathered in a separate Zoom meeting after the class to discuss what we had learned. The instructors provided questions at the end of each session, which were very helpful for our conversations. The courses offered by Montreal Dio are so helpful, not just for increasing knowledge, but also for fostering confidence in clergy, lay leaders and anyone with an interest in the subjects being offered.In addition, these courses make education accessible and affordable, which is so helpful for our northern and remote dioceses. Technology has allowed us to connect with a group from another province to tell the stories of our shared experiences of Anglicanism, and through this we have developed an even greater knowledge of our Anglican roots.