Hebrew College welcomes students who wish to pursue graduate degrees to further their professional careers in Jewish education and Jewish studies, as well as those who wish to study for its own sake. The college offers degrees/certificates through courses which take place both here on campus, and via distance learning. The information below is meant to give you an introduction to our approach to online learning, and to encourage you to consider this as an enjoyable way of engaging the material.
Hebrew College has been a pioneer in online learning since 2000, and was the first to offer a degree (Master of Arts in Jewish Studies) entirely through distance learning around that time. Fundamentally, we aim to reduce any intimidation or trepidation that students may have toward this mode of learning. The platform we use is called Schoology, which has an attractive “social media-like” interface and is both intuitive and easy to learn. Students have individual accounts, modify their own privacy settings, upload a photo to their personal profile page, and manage their account through a private password.
Our courses are interactive, and instructors aim to form relationships with students that are very close to, while different from, those formed in a “bricks and mortar” classroom. Although much of the course content is delivered through asynchronous (not real time) activities, we do employ synchronous conversations, video chatting and "hevruta" beit midrash (paired learning sessions between and among students and instructors) as a means of achieving our goal.
In a typical Jewish studies course, the structure and culture is similar to that of a graduate-level academic course, using a lecture and discussion format. Typical class size is anywhere from eight to 15 students (some Jewish education classes have as many as 25 students, but this is the exception). There are weekly units of study, and a discussion board is set up for each topic, along with selected readings or texts that relate to the topics for that unit.
Students listen to posted lectures (either in text format or as audio or video files) created by the instructor. Students respond to one another, often furthering their knowledge and understanding of the topic as much through these conversations as from the formal lectures themselves. Instructors post their responses both to individual students and to the class as a whole.
Text-based Jewish studies courses (utilizing Hebrew language) are conducted asynchronously as described above, but require weekly hevruta learning sessions through video chat with the instructor “present” for at least part of the time.
"The classes at Hebrew College are so well-organized that even someone who's not very tech savvy can navigate through the online school with ease. I highly recommend this incredible avenue of Jewish education to anyone interested in seriously learning the numerous rich subjects that make up our heritage."
— Daniel Getz, online student