Pathways to Access:

How you can stay on mission and get your degree

Pathways to Access: How you can stay on mission and get your degree

Dr. John Byron

Our student body at Ashland Theological Seminary represents a diversity of backgrounds, geographical locations and traditions. Yet, the one thing they all have in common is their reason for being here. God has spoken to them about a path they should follow into a particular ministry or profession, and Ashland is part of their preparation. 

Students come to Ashland because they have a call on their lives and I am always amazed at the sacrifices they make to follow that call. Some drive several hours to attend classes. Others rearrange work schedules and family obligations to ensure they have focused time to pursue their degree. Their commitment to God and their calling is real. But the challenges to following that call are also real. 

You have probably read or heard that “online learning is the future of education.” While there is a lot of truth in this statement, it is not the whole picture. Seminaries, including Ashland Theological Seminary, have been offering courses and degrees online for 20 or more years. So, in that respect, the future has been here for quite some time. Yet, not everyone wants to take courses online. Some prefer to be in a classroom with a professor and students. Others prefer to take courses online, while some will enroll in a blend of both. Seminaries use various methods and modalities to assist professors and students in learning together.

At Ashland Theological Seminary, the focus is on access rather than one particular modality. We recognize that many of our students have full-time jobs, ministry obligations and families. So, access to the courses they want and need is most important for them. 

With you in mind, we created the Pathways to Access – five ways that help you access the classes you need in a format that both fits your schedule and learning preferences. 

  • In-Person: Attend class live and in-person with your professor and peers.
  • Remote Live: Attend class live from your location when you connect virtually through a Traditional Access class.
  • Remote On-Demand: Complete weekly coursework independently online and engage with your professor and peers regularly.
  • Remote Live & On-Demand: Complete weekly coursework on-demand and join scheduled meetings online with your professor and peers.
  • In-Person & On Demand: Attend class in-person less than 50% of the time. Complete the rest of your coursework independently online.

The Pathways to Access allows you to choose the best way to attend class. For instance, you may prefer a live class, but time and/or geography doesn’t allow you to attend in person. The Remote Live option allows you to connect from your home or office and interact with a live class in Realtime. If meeting on a particular day or time of the week is a challenge, the On-Demand option allows you to complete coursework in a more flexible time frame. Some courses use the Remote Live & On-Demand option which allows you to work at a distance, provides a flexible timeframe to complete work, but still includes regular video meetings with professors and other students. In each case, the focus is on providing access to the courses you need.

When it’s time to register for classes, you can find the list of courses offered each semester on the Seminary website. Click on the course you need, and you will be able to download the course syllabus and view the modality in which the course will be offered that semester. 

At Ashland Theological Seminary, we are committed to equipping modern-day disciples. That means providing you a pathway that not only gives you access to the courses you need; It means providing a pathway to help you fulfill your calling.

About the Author,
Dr. John Byron


Dr. Byron has a desire to serve both the church and the academy, and, for him, Ashland Theological Seminary has been a wonderful consolidation of those two institutions. ATS is a place where freedom of thought and expression are grounded in commitment to God, and Dr. Byron’s teaching reflects this same emphasis. This appreciation for tension stems from his own Ph.D. studies when he began to realize that easy answers don’t exist, and the Bible, like life, is more complex than most of us will admit.

Though he is now a sought-after teacher and enjoys using that gift at churches and seminars outside of his seminary position, Dr. Byron didn’t always aspire to become a teacher. In fact, if you had told him as a high schooler that he would become a professor, he would have run as fast as possible in the opposite direction. He considers it a blessing that God doesn’t let us see our future too early in the game!

Dr. Byron is an experienced traveler, counting Europe and the Middle East among his favorite destinations. By their tenth wedding anniversary, he and his wife Lori had already lived in three states and three countries. Adding to his travels, Dr. Byron participates in Ashland Theological Seminary’s Tel-Gezer project, through which groups from ATS tour Israel and excavate ancient sites.

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