Evaluative Minimalism in Theology



According to educational psychologists, emphasizing a few essential themes over time works better for learning than a large volume of information in a short period (see, for example, this article). In my courses on the Trinity in particular, I work to apply this theory to what I ask from my students. Of the various possible theological topics, the Trinity is one of the most technically demanding. I have tried, then, to demand from my students in carefully timed, specific ways. Here are some of the techniques I have used, which may be helpful in other contexts.

(1) Quizzes rather than exams.

I give students timed digital quizzes that stress vocabulary and emphasize basic concepts from readings. The quiz is open all day, but once they begin the quiz, they only have a certain amount of time to complete it. They are allowed to use their notes and books. While…

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