Studying the MA Intellectual Encounters of the Islamicate World combined e-learning (80%) with regular on-site-instruction (20%). This blended learning method integrated both the flexibility of a distance-learning program with the advantages of personalized teaching and guidance by the lecturers as well as peer-to-peer interaction.
In the beginning of their studies, students were provided with a personal login to enter the e-learning platform with all relevant study materials and ways to engage with each other. Interactive and innovative tools like the virtual library and discussion boards granted both a challenging and exciting learning experience. In addition, students profited from link collections and research databases. The synchronic online sessions were held via Adobe Connect thus guaranteeing direct communication between all participants.
Three times a year, students met with professors, tutors, peers and the staff of the program face-to-face. The Introductory Week was usually scheduled in September/October, the two two-week colloquia for February/March and August/September of the following year. The overall goal of the Introductory Week was to offer the new students a detailed introduction into the content, the technological and organizational aspects of the MA program and to meet their new peers. The two colloquia provided students and lecturers with the opportunity to discuss particular topics related to their modules in more depth, to take examinations and to discuss the MA thesis.
Tutoring and feedback
Throughout the studies, students were closely guided and advised by professors and lecturers. Every module was taught by an academic strongly involved in the latest research in areas like Islamic, Arabic, Judaic or Semitic Studies, Studies in Eastern Christianity, Religious Studies, Theology or Philosophy. The feedback was on Adobe Connect, in Skype sessions, on discussion boards, and/or in personal (email) communication. Thus, the MA program made sure that participants received straightforward insights in the state of the art of the field. Furthermore, the program offered a personal tutor system that assured academic supervision and mentoring parallel to the online classes and classroom trainings.