I’m thrilled to be reviewing John Walton’s Old Testament Genres course from the new Logos Mobile Ed program (other posts in the series are here)! In my previous post, I praised the video and overall style as top-notch, but what about the supplemental materials, such as the assigned reading, quizzes and video tutorials?
The Workbook & Assigned Reading
The hub for each course is the workbook. Feeling much like a seminary experience, the workbook contains a syllabus with course description, intended outcomes, and a outline that (unlike a seminary syllabus) hyperlinks to the individual segments and quizzes.
This required reading helps the student dig in more depth and get a comprehensive perspective on each issue. Judging by the Mobile Ed podcast, the required reading is considered an essential part of the experience and prevents the lecturer feeling that their talk was incomplete. It is reassuring that the lecturer has chosen the reading, as the student is guided in their self-study.
As a randomly-chosen example of the required reading, Segment 16: The Significance of Story, has “Narrative” from The Handbook to Bible Study, and “Genres of Hebrew Literature” from Believers Church Bible Commentary.
As you can see on the left image, all but “Narrative” is locked for me. This means I don’t have the resources in my Logos library, though I could buy them, of course. For Walton’s Old Testament Genres course, I had 52 of the 69 assigned “Required Reading”; however the vast majority of the “See Also” readings were locked.
I have the Bronze (lowest) Logos package with a much smaller (but still substantial) library of books, so each user’s package will determine which readings they have access to. Logos recommends the Platinum Edition for use with Logos Mobile Ed – no doubt because it frees up the teachers to recommend a wide selection of resources. This is just one of those things. For Walton’s course at least, I could access most of the required reading, but to really take full advantage of Logos Mobile Ed, one will need the Platinum base package.
The videos remain excellent, but they are not intended to be used alone. I expect that some users will be very frustrated to purchase a Mobile Ed course and then realize they don’t have everything required. It would be ideal if the Mobile Ed course included clippings of all the required readings, so that even if a user didn’t have the entire book in their library, they could at least access the section that is required required by the Mobile Ed course. For example, many of the readings are from dictionaries. If the user was given limited-access only to the dictionary entry required by the course, then they could read what is required without having to purchase the entire book.
Scattered throughout the course are quizzes at the end of each unit, and a midterm exam. These consist of a mix of 10-30 multiple-choice and/or true-false questions drawn from the lectures (not the readings). The questions are carefully chosen to reenforce the lecturer’s primary points, and basically serve as listening checks.
While the quizzes are not a major selling point of Logos Mobile Ed, I do think they are a weaker element for anyone expecting a mobile classroom experience. The quizzes are very basic: many (if not most) answers could be guessed correctly and they feel much like a simple online quiz. Considering the student has Logos at their disposal, regular “homework” assignments – perhaps a series of tasks using Logos – could really ramp this up to the next level and better integrate the lectures with the Logos software.
Interspersed throughout the scholar’s lectures are screencast video tutorials by a member of the Logos staff that instruct the student on how to use Logos – and your library – better. These tutorials are closely associated with the course material, and often follow up on a point that the lecturer has just made. There were ten of these tutorials in Walton’s Old Testament Genres course; ranging from identifying genres on any given OT text, creating filters that highlight repeated Hebrew words, and guides for preaching OT narratives.
I thoroughly enjoyed each of these tutorials, and was constantly surprised at what Logos can do. I must admit that I barely scratch the surface of what Logos can do, but I suspect I’m not alone here. These tutorials helped expand my mind a little as to how I can study the Bible better using Logos.
Logos Mobile Ed is all about the excellent video lectures from top scholars. As I mentioned in my last post, it really shines in this area. But what about the reading, quizzes, and tutorials? The reading is certainly top-notch, though anyone with a Logos package lower than Platinum may want to look into each course to see if they will get the full experience. However, I could access most of the Old Testament Genres reading, despite having the lowest Logos package. The quizzes are satisfactory, but have the potential for so much more. The tutorials are exceptional and useful for bridging the gap between video and software.
Lastly, I think there is more room for integrating Mobile Ed and the Logos software. Again, and in light of these tutorials, research assignments for the student would help integrate Mobile Ed and Logos. The lectures are excellent, Logos is powerful, the tutorials help bring the two together, but I think more integration can be done to push Mobile Ed to the next level – basically, more of an already good thing.
Check back soon for a post on the iPhone App.