Earlham College Distance Learning

Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana was established in 1847 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), originally only as a select school, and though it allows people of all religions and genders now, the strong Quaker tradition permeates many aspects of campus life to this day. Earlham is a private, four year undergraduate college first and foremost, though they do offer a Master’s of Education and a Master’s of Arts in Teaching. While never truly breaking with their Quaker ties (a “dry campus” policy and a strong valuation of Quaker beliefs abound), the college established a separate school of religion in1960 that also offers an M.A. in Religion and a Master of Ministry degree (as well as being the only accredited Quaker theological seminary in the world).

Currently offering over 40 undergraduate majors to its 1200+ student body, Earlham operates under the Quaker principle of “all truth is God’s truth” and teaches to pursue truth in all its forms to find ways to improve the world around you. Earlham offers a wide diversity of programs to its students, specializing in typical majors such as Biology, but also offering outstanding programs in Japanese and German (including one year, intensive language programs, effectively delivering a year’s worth of language materials in a semester). Earlham’s liberal arts core and quality of education are top notch, with an astounding 12:1 student teacher ratio and a ranking of 26th among colleges with graduates who eventually go on to achieve their PhD (8th when it comes to Biology students).

Distance learning at Earlham is limited to online classes conducted through Moodle, but there are no entirely online degree programs offered, whether at the graduate or undergrad level. Computers are here used as the means by which a “community of learning” is extended outside the classroom to allow for the students schedule to operate without sacrificing schooling. Some Master’s programs do allow for only occasional visits to campus, but these are mostly due to student teaching requirements and are the exception, not the rule for most programs. Their multi-awarded library facilities (recognized as one of the “finest teaching libraries” in the country and utilized fully in their respected course-integrated literacy program) are also completely available online.

However, what Earlham does have for those looking to learn abroad are in luck, as over 60% of students here spend a semester studying abroad, especially with Japan, with not only an exchange program with Waseda University in Japan that has operated since 1963, but a program by which Earlham students spend time teaching English to Japanese middle schoolers. Their language programs are widely respected among major universities and are part of their belief of the essential need for a “global” education, one which values an understanding of many different cultures and looks to improve things worldwide through learning and leadership.

Earlham College’s mission is still the same today, looking to graduate well-rounded and culturally aware students through the Quaker traditions of cooperative learning and equality, resulting in lifelong learners who look to apply their knowledge to improvement of the world around them.

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