BIR Video Courses
Like much of the world has experienced over the last year, Covid-19 has finally struck the Fiji Islands. Currently, the worst hit area is right here in the Lami-Suva-Nausori Containment Zone. On April 27, 2021, the Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC) contacted the Bible Institute to inform us that the government had made the decision to temporarily suspend all in-person classroom instruction in Fiji in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. Initially, it was hoped that these efforts would only last 4-8 weeks (much as they had done in May 2020). So, the BIR administration made the decision to close the school for an early break while we developed a plan for how to move forward with classes.
Initially, the FHEC communicated that they were hopeful that all classes would be allowed to resume by June 21, 2021. So, with that goal in mind, we developed five weeks worth of written assignments that our students could do at home. These assignments will be applied to future classes. However, as we moved closer to June 21, we recognized that it was unlikely that we would be able to resume in-person classes at that time. Our expectations were confirmed when we received notification from the FHEC on June 19 that they had made the decision to suspend all in-person instruction in Fiji indefinitely.
Beginning on June 21, we moved our program to pre-recorded videos. Due to restrictions on international travel, we had a couple of short course instructors from the United States who had already committed to recording their scheduled classes for us. So, we were able to launch our program with video courses on "The New Testament Church" by Shane Fisher and "Church History" by Paul Merideth. Videos were loaded onto SD cards and distributed to our students on Samsung tablets for viewing. While our students were busying taking these video courses, our teaching staff were able to begin recording additional video courses. So far, our overall response to the video courses has been favorable.
While we certainly believe that in-person instruction is the best form of teaching, we are thankful for the technology which allows us to continue teaching in these troubling times. As we move forward, we will continue to reevaluate the best ways to continue offering instruction to our students. We also already begun the process of looking into the possibility of using programs such as Zoom which would allow us to conduct some live video classes. We are weighing our options to see whether or not such a program would be feasible for us at this time. In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to teach via pre-recorded videos.