Distance Learning had its beginnings as the residential/traditional Trinity Bible College in a city in Central Russia. However, after 10 years, it became clear that a new paradigm was needed and the Distance Learning program was born.
Thanks to the donations of several large churches and generous individuals, funds were raised for the Trinity Bible College in Russia to build their own facility across town from Grace Church.
A quality classroom-based studio was built inside to allow courses to be professionally video-taped and recorded in a live classroom environment with anywhere from 10 to 20 students physically located in the classroom. The courses continue to be taught by quality instructors from Russia, Ukraine, France and the U.S., and are recorded using one fixed and two dynamic digital cameras. A professional mixing board manned at the rear of the classroom, does preliminary editing and makes sure that the sound quality for the instructor, interpreter (if needed) and any student interactions are all properly recorded.
The courses are then professionally edited and produced, and then distributed. Once they are in distribution, we have found that they are copied and spread like wildfire!
The advantages of a Distance Learning program vs a residential program have become clear:
Not only are courses distributed on DVD, but they will soon be available as a download from the Internet and are in a format that allows them to be stored on a cell phone. The beauty of this use of technology is that it will be all but impossible for a government to shut these down, even in countries where studying God’s Word is already illegal.
Courses include Basic Christianity, Early Church History, Marriage and Family, Pre-Marital Instruction, Evangelism, Homiletics, and more, with an additional goal of having a course on every book of the Bible.
The courses are also being used in unexpected ways. Many of the classes are taught in English with immediate side-by-side Russian translation. TVS has been blessed with quality translators – so much so that local secular universities have requested the courses and are using them to teach translation techniques and/or English. Of course the side benefit is that the students are taught God’s Word! So TVS has set up a hotline where by these students can call and ask questions about the information in the class! And TVS has graduates of the Evangelism courses ready and available to answer them! After 3 generations of Russians being taught that there is no God, it is truly amazing to see these young people interested in the things of God and beginning to understand that yes, even educated people, can believe!
In 2008, Trinity Bible College was renamed Trinity Video Seminary, as a better description of the new paradigm of Distance Learning.
Perhaps as with Esther, Distance Learning has come to be “… for a time such as this.” (Esther 4:17b)