Learning Online

We want your CHS experience to be the best possible!

All courses at Cherry Hill Seminary are taught using distance education methods. This means that you can enjoy a class with students from all over the world, from the comfort and convenience of your own computer. Some of our courses hold live meetings each week or as scheduled by the teacher, and others communicate using only the online forum (read more below about Moodle). We do our best to schedule classes so that as many people as possible can join in.

Online Classroom

All classes have an online home base. Cherry Hill Seminary uses a web-based system called Moodle (it’s one that is used by many high schools and universities). Once you register for a course, CHS tech staff sends you an email about how to log in. Once you log in to Moodle we ask you to go through the short Moodle tutorial (found in the Moodle online classroom) before the course begins. Also, it is very important to visit Moodle as soon as you get your login information to be sure you can get in – you want to check this out well ahead of classes start. Instructors are very patient and helpful, but they expect you to already understand how to use a forum,

how to upload an assignment, and how to follow links to other resources. You’ll find this is a snap if you have gone through the tutorial. Be sure to read all the material your teacher posts in the classroom; this should answer just about all your questions about a class. Inside the classroom you’ll be able to easily send messages to your teacher and other students. Just in case you lose your password, use the reset button on the login panel, or email CHS tech support.

About Class Format

Most classes include a mix of formats, such as (but not limited to) the following:

  • Moodle (classroom software) forums with some combination of directive questions and freeform discussions, not in real-time; you can read and post to the forums whenever you have an internet connection.
  • Forum posts may be required or optional; you may be given homework to post to a particular forum in a particular format. Forum posts may be read by the whole class.
  • Some classes may require students to upload files of homework assignments.
  • Live chats and/or conference calls. Live chats occur at a regularly-scheduled time with all participants present, in real-time from wherever they are; for example, a student in New York meets at 8 pm Eastern time with a student in California who is meeting at 5 pm Pacific time. Please note that you may not enroll in two classes that meet for live chat during overlapping scheduled times, unless you have discussed and made some arrangement with the instructors (not advised).
  • Written assignments such as personal writing, a research paper, or an assignment to undertake some practical exercise or experiment and then write a report on that. These assignments will be uploaded to the class site, and may be seen only by the instructor or shared with classmates.
  • Exams or quizzes, available only to the instructor.
  • Field experiences of one kind or another, followed by discussion or a written report.
  • Assigned reading or research, either in textbooks purchased by the student or in material posted or linked from the Moodle classroom, or through independent work or the use of your local library.
  • Downloading other audio or audio-visual components and responding to them.

Creative, interactive or inventive projects, e.g., designing a workshop, producing art, music, dance, poetry, creating a ritual, etc.

Technical Competency and Preparedness

Cherry Hill Seminary is a distance education facility. To have a successful experience you need —

  • Proficiency in and access to an up-to-date computer with a sound card, microphone and speakers.
  • A free account at www.skype.com and a working sound card and microphone. (This works best if you have a wired headset, not wireless.)
  • Reliable internet access (high-speed access is strongly recommended).
  • Access to and responsibility for standard office software, including a word processing program which will create .doc or .rtf files, Skype, and an internet browser.
  • Access to and responsibility for your own protection from viruses, etc.
  • Ability to attend and participate in online chat class sessions.
  • Ability and willingness to follow the instructions given by tech support staff when first introduced to Moodle, and to take responsibility for participating in the online Moodle tutorial.
  • Ability to attend and participate in online chat or conference call class sessions, as well as the willingness to adjust to these differing modes of communication.

Note that some of our students and teachers have begun using Google+, another free service.

Skype Account

Cherry Hill Seminary normally uses Skype™ for online instant messaging, also called chats, and audio/video conferences.
Skype is a free program and may be required for your class. A voice-ready computer or a USB headset will be needed for Skype conference calls.
Directions for downloading and using Skype are in the Moodle online classroom tutorial. If you are new to Skype, please show courtesy to your teacher and other students by carefully reviewing the directions before your course begins.
Once in a while, some instructors may choose to hold a class conference call using one of many existing free web conferencing services. Depending on your personal telephone service, you may in this case incur some long distance calling charges. Most of the time, you’ll be using Skype or Google+.