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Fall 2016

Christopher Rosser
Theological Librarian
Oce: Beam Library, LC 105
View my schedule here.

Iter una faciamus

BIBL 5013: Introduction to Graduate Biblical Studies
Fall 2016

This course is designed to prepare learners for graduate-level biblical and theological studies by
developing them as critical thinkers, careful readers, eective researchers, skillful writers, and
compelling presenters. These five concernsthinking, reading, researching, writing, and presenting
are foundational for success in the graduate program and for lifelong learning in ministry and
scholarship. Proficiency with and eventually mastery of these core competencies develops throughout
the program. IGBS is an important first-step. We are a community of learners who together begin a
worthy and wondrous journey.
Explanation of syllabus
This syllabus is designed to function as an electronic document. Contents throughout are hyperlinked
for quick access and easier navigation. You are welcome to print a copy if you like, but as the Lorax
warns us, please think of the trees! Note that several links connect to locations outside the syllabus on
the Web.
Meeting times and location
IGBS meets on Tuesday evenings throughout the semester from 6:30 to 9:15 in LC 106, the Library
Conference Room. Find the schedule and weekly details in the full syllabus .


What you need...

OK, as the proverb reminds us, When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but the prudent are restrained
in speech (Pr 10:19). So lets get down to business!

Required Texts

Badke, William B. Research Strategies: Finding Your Way Through the Information Fog. New York: IUniverse, Inc, 2008.
ISBN: 9780595477470


Camp, Phillip G. Finding Your Way: A Guide to Seminary Life and Beyond. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2009. ISBN:


Heidt, Mari Rapela. A Guide for Writing About Theology and Religion. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2012. ISBN:


Tate, W. Randolph. Interpreting the Bible: A Handbook of Terms and Methods. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2006. ISBN:


Thielicke, Helmut. A Little Exercise for Young Theologians. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. ISBN: 978-0802811981


Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Chicago: University of Chicago,
2013. ISBN: 9780226816371

Nota bene: You will not need ANY BOOKS for Week 1. For Week 2, you will need Camp and Thielicke.
The other texts are beneficial for reference but are not absolutely necessary, except Turabian; every
student needs a copy of Turabian 8th edition!
Laptops and Devices
IGBS is information oriented! Students are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop or device to class and to use it!
See my fuller policy below, but note here that you will need access to a reliable machine with word processing
software like Word or Pages or Google Docs, and solid Internet connection. As mentioned, a laptop or device that
you can bring to class is highly recommended.

Iter una

Explanation of the Course and Outcomes



IGBS is taught in modules, or teaching segments. Each of the five modules targets specific learning outcomes
which are the instructors expectations for students as they progress. Outcomes are measured according to
assigned deliverables that students will submit or present throughout the semester. Please consult the detailed
schedule in the full syllabus for class content and due dates for deliverables.
Five core competencies comprise the framework for this course: critical thinking, reflective reading, eective
research, skillful writing, and compelling presentation. Modules are designed to develop these competencies by
providing opportunities to engage scholarship and to work both individually and collectively on projects and
presentations. Specific objectives drive both instruction and activities:
1. Critical thinking. Critical thinking is crucial in todays information-saturated environment. Students
who successfully complete IGBS coursework for this module will:
1.1 demonstrate an ability to critically question texts (written and spoken)
1.2 identify and assess presuppositions that inform thinking
1.3 employ critical thinking skills to identify specific cultural, historical, intellectual, and religious
factors that inform specific scholarly positions and then critique those positions
1.4 describe major paradigms, methods, and models for biblical interpretation
2. Reflective reading. Applying critical thinking skills, students will deeply engage assigned readings and
assess an authors argumentation, position, and approach. Students who successfully complete IGBS coursework
for this module will:
2.1 describe strategies for critically engaging written scholarly materials
2.2 identify types of information resources useful for biblical and theological scholarship
2.3 articulate the problem, point, and purpose of a scholarly article and summarize the argumentation
2.4 analyze and discuss a specific texts argumentation or rhetorical strategy
3. Eective research. Students will develop competency in information literacy for the sake of scholarship
and lifelong learning. Students who successfully complete IGBS coursework for this module will:
3.1 discuss the impact of ubiquitous information on ministry and biblical studies
3.2 demonstrate awareness of when and what kind of information is needed
3.3 formulate clear, concise, and compelling research questions
3.4 articulate problem, point, purpose, and significance statements to frame a research project
3.5 show comprehension of how to conduct general to specific research
3.6 reflect and report on personal information seeking behavior
3.7 demonstrate eective use of both print and online tools for locating information resources
3.8 demonstrate an ability to evaluate the authority and reliability of resources
3.9 identify and distinguish between specific types of research and writing within biblical studies and
ministry (e.g., exegesis, research, program development, case study, reflection, reviews, etc.)
4. Skillful writing. Students will sharpen skills for academic writing by learning strategies for prewriting, drafting, composition, and editing to empower clear, written communication in biblical and theological
studies. Students who successfully complete IGBS coursework for this module will:
4.1 debate issues regarding information ethics (plagiarism, copyright, etc.)
4.2 demonstrate familiarity with and eective use of Turabian formatting
4.3 demonstrate eective essay organization and composition
4.4 analyze scholarly essays, identifying structural, conceptual, and rhetorical elements
4.5 research and write on both an interpretive model and a significant interpreter
4.6 demonstrate editing skills as they draft and revise a critical book review
4.7 organize thinking and construct argumentation to compose a persuasive thought piece
5. Compelling presentation. Clear, concise, compellingthats our mantra in IGBS! Students who successfully
complete IGBS coursework for this module will:
5.1 demonstrate competency with Turabian by achieving at least 90% accuracy on a skills test
5.2 develop and oer a visual presentation over a selected interpreter
5.3 collaborate to analyze a case, discuss theological implications, and propose recommendations


The The
Certainly, it is dicult to overstate the importance of skillful, academic writing in graduate studies and

beyond. In our context, academic writing is not necessarily creative writing; it is technical writing,
although creativity is encouraged within the framework of the genres we inhabit. Our work in IGBS is to
hone skills and to provide tools for more skillful writing. We will learn to eectively outline an essay and to
formulate problem, point, purpose, and significance statements. We will discuss the nature of genre
(text-types) as it informs expectations for written products such as exegesis papers, book reviews, and
discussion board responses. We will identify and discuss examples of both poor and excellent writing.
Through our assignments, students will hone their writing skills according to feedback from instructors.
Students will learn to draft, rewrite, and proof before submission and will recognize the vital importance of
both proper grammar and appropriate formatting in academic writing. Throughout IGBS, students will
become familiar with Turabian, the appropriate style and format for work submitted in the Graduate
School of Theology. Introduction to Graduate Biblical Studies is foundational for all classes and programs
in the GST. For many students, graduate school is their first experience of thoughtfully and critically
examining the foundations of Christian faith. While this experience can be challenging, the GST generally
and IGBS specifically oer safe spaces for questioning, thinking, and profoundly developing faith.
Students are encouraged to work hard, to participate, to engage the readings and projects, to interact as
a community of learners, and to always ask for help and guidance. In this way, students who complete
this course will be equipped with core competencies that will serve them throughout their studies at
Oklahoma Christian University and beyond.

of Teaching
of Teaching

As an instructor, I believe that learning must be active; in other words, students learn best when they are
active participants in the learning process. This is true whether content delivery is oered virtually or inperson: my aim is to facilitate, nurture, and guide students as they critically examine, question, practice,
and are shaped by learning and experience. Because I myself am a continuous learner, I strive alongside
students to explore the information around us, enlighten eyes to the nature and use of information, and
empower students with skills for lifelong learning in an information society. My purpose as an educator is
to reach and transform each students heart; and I recognize that the truest path to the heart is not
through the head but through the gut. Therefore, I strive to bring learning to spaces of desire.
Transforming the heart involves reorienting or clarifying desire so that students love (i.e., desire) vectors
more truly toward God and neighbor. Love is both the motivation and goal of my teaching.

OCs Mission:
Oklahoma Christian University
is a higher learning community
that transforms lives for
Christian faith, scholarship,
and service.

Bits and Pieces...


Required texts and devices

How we do: Teaching and learning in IGBS

IGBS has morphed. Initially, the course was structured around lots of small deliverables, to which I
provided a lot of feedback. After years of teaching the course, working with students, consulting with
other professors, and continuous learning about eective teaching strategies, Ive decided to revise.
IGBS 2.0 includes the following modifications:
goal setting and the articulation of a personal vision statement
incorporation of ePortfolios and digital badging
many more collaborative, in-class exercises
fewer deliverables
deliverables that we work on and revise together throughout the semester
a required Turabian certification
the use of e-portfolios for capturing accomplishments and reflection
As described above, my goal is to prepare students for graduate-level studies by sharpening your skills
for critical thinking, reflective reading, eective research, skillful writing, and compelling presentation. All
in-class activities and deliverables are designed to measure how well you are fulfilling course outcomes.
IGBS strives to fulfill OCs University Core Outcomes of Information Literacy and Critical and Creative
Thinking (see page 5 of the 2016-17 Academic Catalog for details).
Participation during our in-class meetings is crucial to your success in IGBS!
If you cannot make it to class for any reason, be sure to let your instructor know as early as possible. You
will almost certainly be required to complete an extra assignment related to missed content. So definitely
make plans to be in class; but let me know if for some reason you are not able to make it. See course
E-portfolios and Digital Badging
Although content is accessed and course work submitted via Blackboard, students will also make use of
an e-portfolio, a virtual space for capturing achievements, work, reflection, goals, and other information as
you journey throughout the program. In class, well learn more about the uses and benefits of e-portfolios,
but my own purpose is to provide a tool for facilitating learning and for capturing your good work as you
progress toward completion of the program. Your e-portfolio also becomes an artifact of your
accomplishments which can be shown to prospective schools, employers, or interested others.

Module Schedule

Primarily through digital badging, ePortfolios show robust learning experiences both in and out of the
classroom. Were employing three levels of badges: commendations for activities that enrich our learning
community; competencies, to show skills and experiences students acquire; and core badges, that are
connected with Core Unviersity Outcomes. Digital badging oers a gamified means for assessment,
empowering students and instructors to know and to show how students achieve learning outcomes.
Badges and ePortfolios reflect trends toward competency-based learning and move well beyond the
traditional transcript by capturing not only formal but also informal, self-directed, and curiosity-based
learning experiences.
More details on ePortfolios and digital badging are available in the full syllabus.