Oliver Mann, 18 years, from the Leicester stake, is the first student to complete online seminary studies in the British Isles. Online seminary is a new addition to the existing daily and home-study seminary classes. It is not intended to replace established daily classes but should be considered in situations where students cannot meet each weekday because of distance or other limiting factors.
Online seminary classes are recommended and preferred over home-study seminary where students have daily access to the needed technology.
Students are led in a study of the scriptures and are able to answer questions, express feelings, and share their testimonies through feedback to their teachers and other students. They are able to have a daily seminary experience from home, while still interacting with other students and their teacher. An online lesson usually lasts between 30–45 minutes. Teachers and students are not necessarily online at the same time, but they are checking in with each other and giving daily feedback. Just as a daily seminary teacher would physically meet with a class in other areas, teachers are able to “meet” with their students through online communication.
One day a week students meet with their class—either physically in the same location or, if that is not possible, as a group through an online platform that allows multiple students to video conference together.
This gives the students the classroom experience and teachers the opportunity to interact face-to-face with their students. For many this medium is very beneficial—giving shy and outgoing students an equal opportunity to participate and be heard, as well as giving students time to reflect and thoughtfully respond.
Oliver Mann commented, “It has been a long but very rewarding journey. Although I didn't have to wake up and be prepared for seminary early in the morning, online seminary required a different form of commitment.
There were times when I was distracted by the variety of entertainments available on my laptop, and it took a certain amount of willpower to close down the other tabs and focus on learning the gospel. But every single day I logged on and completed the activities with my heart fully committed I felt the spirit confirm to me that this is Christ's church, and also received a deeper understanding of the scriptures I would study.
These four years of seminary have helped me realize the mercy of our Saviour, enabled me to see the blessings around me and taught me the tools I will need to study the scriptures in the future, in particular during my upcoming mission in Mesa, Arizona. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to complete online seminary and learn about the many aspects of this gospel.'