The following are some helpful tips and guidelines for taking courses in the School of the Shepherds (SOTS):
Taking the Courses
- Individual Enrollment: You may enroll in individual courses on your own, and in any order you like. However, we recommend beginning with SOTS 101: An Introduction to Shepherding, which is foundational to other courses. To enroll, you must be logged in as a user of this site (look for the green “Login” button or “Register” button at the top of the page). If you are already logged in, you will see your welcome button with your name. Then you will need to purchase the course you desire in the BER store.
- Group Enrollment: Groups can take courses together with a leader facilitating the group learning experience. This is the preferred way to study the SOTS materials. Learn more on the Group Leaders Info page.
- Lesson Content: Each course is composed of eight to ten lessons, which typically contain one to three short videos (fifteen minutes or less) with corresponding study materials. Each is then followed by a Review Quiz, Discussion Questions, and optional applications. There is no time limit for the lessons.
- Course Completion: Upon successful completion of all the lessons in a course, you will receive a certificate to print and save if you desire. This will serve as proof of course completion.
Completing the Review Quizzes
- Open Book: The review quizzes are “open-book.” This means you can use any of the course material, including the detailed outlines, to answer the questions. By nature, online questions must be objective (multiple choice, fill in the blanks, matching, etc.). Sometimes the answers may seem simplistic, but we encourage you to think through each question carefully and not just rush to get through the review quickly. Your goal is to learn the material and not just get a score.
- Fill-in-the-Blank Questions: Answers for fill-in-the-blank questions must be spelled correctly (computers, unfortunately, are very unforgiving!). However, fill-in-the-blank questions supply the first letter of each answer as a clue. You may enter the full answer or just the answer minus the first letter—both will be accepted. But the rest of the word must be spelled correctly.
- Scripture References:
- When you hover your cursor over a Scripture reference, a pop-up window will show the verse. Occasionally the translation of the pop-up may differ from the wording of the translation used by the course teacher. You should be able to account for this in your answers.
- For books of the Bible that have a numeric prefix use the Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3), not Roman numerals (I, II, III) and not spelling the number out (First, Second, Third). Example: 2 Corinthians, not II Corinthians and not Second Corinthians. Make sure to leave a blank space between the number and the book name.
- Quiz Scores: When you finish answering the review questions, click the “Finish Questions” button at the bottom. After a few moments, the resulting score will appear at the top. You must score at least 90% correct to progress to the next session. The questions are designed to enhance your learning; repeated efforts to reach 90 percent will help you master the material.
- Reviewing Your Answers: Click on the “Review Questions” button beneath your resulting score. This will show the questions and indicate which of your answers are correct or incorrect.
- Retaking a Quiz: You make take the quizzes as many times as needed until you get 90% or better. To repeat a quiz, simply click the green “Restart Question” button that shows just below your resulting score. Note, as of August 22, 2019, when you retake a quiz, only those questions will show up that you answered incorrectly. You will not have to repeat the questions you got right.
Additional Course Content
- Discussions: Each lesson includes discussion questions for group or mentor interaction or personal reflection. If you are part of a group, these questions will serve as discussion starters. If you are studying on your own, these questions will server for your own personal reflection and consideration. You must mark these complete in order to progress to indicate you have considered these questions as appropriate.
- Optional Assignments: These are suggestions for applying the truth learned in the lesson specific situations or for further study. This must be checked as “Complete or skip.” We recognize this may not be desired for everyone, though we do recommend the applications for your consideration. The group leader, if you are part of one, will counsel you about this.
In the School of the Shepherds (as with all of the BER website), the teaching includes quotations from a wide variety of writers, Christian leaders, scholars, and others. Of course, we may not agree with all that has been written or said by those writers, but to miss their significant contributions would be a shame … ‘eat the orange, spit out the seeds’ is a wise clique.