With my interest in how to bring community to online teaching, in how to structure online learning to align with the ethos of Catholic teachings, I found this essay to offer some very thought-provoking ideas on how to bring sacramental teaching and learning into online classrooms. Dr. Zsupan-Jerome’s ideas on the need to be aware of symbols, presence and encounter in online teaching and learning definitely mirrors a relationship and community centered approach to education that perhaps isn’t even well realized in some face-to-face traditional classrooms. I look forward to reading more of her thoughts, as well as considering how her approach aligns with what communication theory would suggest.

Daily Theology

By Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Ph.D.

What does sacramentality  look like in an online classroom? What does sacramentality look like in an online classroom? Stephen Okey’s recent reflection on “Catholic Identity and Online Education” is a timely conversation starter, and I appreciate his framework of focusing especially on five key areas of concern around Catholic identity. Of these five, the third concern of “the sacramental and liturgical life of the university” is especially intriguing for me. With a background in liturgical studies and my research focusing on faith formation and digital culture, the excellent questions he raises are frequently on my mind as well.

Steve makes the point that “given the centrality of physical contact for sacraments, there can be no real sacramental life mediated online,” focusing the rest of his thought on this topic around innovative possibilities to mediate the university’s sacramental celebrations and spirituality enrichment opportunities to online students. Streaming sacramental celebrations online or offering online chaplain services and…

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