Jewish Philosophy Students Can Use Distance Learning Platform for Spring 2018

In an effort to make its programs available to a larger pool of qualified students, Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies has launched a distance learning option, Revel Remote. Beginning with the spring 2018 semester the online platform will allow remote students to enroll in Jewish philosophy degree programs at Revel, and will enable them to participate in classes from their locations.

Unlike online courses, remote, or distance, learning means that students fully participate in the classroom in real time. Students using an audio-video configuration on their computers will be able to see the classroom and participate through their web cameras. “All they need is a computer, a microphone, and a camera. Other than that, it’s the same as any other class participant,” said Dr. Daniel Rynhold, professor of Jewish philosophy. Rynhold will be teaching two of the philosophy courses offering the Remote option this spring.

The platform will be used for the entire semester by students who cannot commute or relocate to YU’s New York City campus. In special circumstances, in-person students can receive permission to use the platform if they must be away from campus for a particular class meeting. The goal of the program is to make Revel degree programs accessible to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity. “In part it was simply motivated by the requests we receive on a fairly regular basis regarding whether we have a distance learning option,” explained Rynhold.

Rynhold has already led pilot classes with one Philadelphia-area student using Revel Remote. Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky, a master’s degree candidate who intends to pursue a PhD as well, noted that students get the interactive classroom experience and can take advantage of “the many different modalities [of the platform] to be part of the classroom community.”

The school plans to expand Revel Remote to its other degree programs beginning with the 2018-19 academic year. According to Dr. David Berger, Revel dean and professor of Jewish history, “This is a pilot program that we hope to extend to other concentrations as well, thus enabling students without access to the YU campus to benefit from real-time participation in class and to pursue degrees in various fields of Jewish studies with a world-class faculty.”

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