Learn About the Faith -- Online

Diocese teams with Catholic university to offer classes about the faith

            Diocesan religious educators have discussed and dreamed for years about designing and placing courses online so that folks unable to make it to the Spiritual Life Center would be able to improve their knowledge of the faith.

            Their dream has come true – and someone else did all the work.

            The Diocese of Wichita has joined 34 other dioceses to establish a partnership with the Catholic University of Dayton's Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation.  The partnership will allow the diocese to offer a variety of courses for catechists and others via the internet at a reduced cost.

            Rhonda Lohkamp, director of the diocesan Office of Religious Education, said the online courses allow mothers with babies and other adults who might have difficulty in taking a course in a classroom setting to do so when it is convenient for them.

            "It will take from five to seven hours a week – sometimes a little longer, depending on the course," Lohkamp said.  "And you can work at 2 o'clock in the morning, if you want."

            Lohkamp, who has taken two of the virtual courses, is enthusiastic about what is being offered.

            "They are very-high quality, engaging courses that we wouldn't have been able to develop this quickly," she said.  "Once we heard about and "˜test-drove' this option, we realized if there's something like this that is such a strong program, why do we need to duplicate efforts?"

            She added that the courses, which last about five weeks, are cycled seven times a year.  Course categories include Catechesis (8 courses), Catholic Doctrine (5), Church History (2), Communications (4), Ecclesiology (4), Liturgy, Prayer and Sacraments (6), Marianist Studies (7), Scripture (4), Social Justice and Morality (11), and World Religions (1).

            "The courses are pass/fail and time sensitive.  There are certain requirements for posting responses and completing little quizzes," Lohkamp said.

            She added that Gayle Beuke, a member of the diocesan Religious Education Advisory Board, said taking a course that had been restricted to board members only was one of the most community building experiences she ever had.

            Beuke and other board members took a course on the National Directory for Catechesis.  Through their interaction, the board was able to get to know each other as they learned together about the document.

About the Courses:

  • They are open to anyone for $40 per course.
  • They can be limited to the people of the Diocese of Wichita or to a particular parish.
  • They can be facilitated by qualified educators within the diocese as well as those from the University of Dayton.
  • They are offered in Spanish.
  • They are available for 1.5 to 3 CEUs or 15 to 30 hours of credit.

 

For more information, contact Rhonda Lohkamp at (316) 269-3940 or lohkampr@cdowk.org.