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Customized Student Plans

Customized Student Plan Design

A major goal of the MTSE program is to enable you to apply different lenses from the different courses to a particular problem or opportunity. The intent is that you do a practical work that will improve your employability and marketability. If an empoyer were funding your program, the question you might ask is “What would make this project valuable enough to my employer that they would feel that your MTSE Master’s degree was well worth your time and money.” If your sponsoring organization is not your employer, the question you should be asking is: “How do you design your project so that it is valuable enough that an organization would either want to 1) hire you 2) keep you on as a volunteer 3) continue your project with other staff.” If you are seeking a job, the question you might ask is: “How would this project demonstrate my skills that would improve my chances with the types of employers I’m seeking?” Below are some example ways that students might customize their own academic plans and capstone projects to achieve their goals.  

John, Mobile Ministry Expert

God has given John a passion for Mobile Ministry. John believes that Mobile Ministry will help play a major role in bringing millions of people to Christ while also improving their economic situation. John has already become a leader in the mobile ministry space through his blog and website. He would like to take his leadership to the next level, and has decided to do the MTSE program with the following personal goals:

  1. Broaden his knowledge to make me more effective as a leader in mobile ministry.
  2. Establish the credential of a Master's degree to enable him to teach accredited courses.  
  3. Use the courses and Capstone to develop content for an accredited course and a self-published e-book in Mobile Ministry 
  4. Have a structured context to solicit feedback from top technology ministry leaders as he develops his material.

To do this he designs the program with the following projects:

  • Theology of Mobile Ministry as a presentation and paper that will become material for his course and book. (Final project in Theology of Technology Course).
  • Systems of Mobile Ministry taking the systems perspective both on 1) how to best grow his own ministry 2) to develop a presentation and paper using the language of systems to explain mobile ministry's implications to church systems to be used in his book and course. (Final project in Organizational Systems).
  • Historical Perspectives on Mobile Ministry examining history and case studies that help better understand mobile ministry both to improve his own ministry and to develop a presentation and paper for his course and book. (Final project in History and Case Studies of Technology in the Church)

He has done the same with other courses including: Emerging Media Ministry, Appropriate Technology in the IT Field, High Tech Social Entrepreneurship and Technology and Addiction.  He then combines all these projects into a Capstone, where he completes his book and course. He is able to make his ministry more self-sustaining, by expanding his consulting business and adjunct teaching.

Michael, Successful Engineer Considering Career Change

Michael has worked for 15 years as an engineer, but has started to feel like there should be more. In the past 10 years, his relationship with God has deepened and he has started leading a small group at church. He also recently did two short-term missions trips which opened up his eyes to the poor in the world. He is really good at what he does and may continue doing it, but he would like to have an intentional program to enable him to reflect on what God has next in his life. He decided to do the MTSE program with the following goals:

  1. Reflect on his vocation and calling with peers and mentors.
  2. Take a year off to have a "work sabbatical" to rest and think more deeply about theology, technology and God's purposes in the world.
  3. Explore other career options where he might be more directly involved in using technology to help others
  4. Round out his professional skills that could improve his ability to manage.

To do this he designs a program with the following projects:

  • Research and write a paper on personal calling. He uses the Theology of Work in the STEM Professions Course to assist him in reflecting on his own calling and identifies several people to speak into his life to be Capstone project advisors. He takes a Master's course at a local Seminary on calling that he transfers into the MTSE program.
  • Reflection on past work. He uses the projects in Theology of Technology and Technology and Addiction to reflect on how he sometimes felt uncomfortable working on technology projects where he wasn't sure whether they were helping or hurting people.
  • Exploring possibilities. He uses the projects in History and Case Studies of Technology in the Church and High Tech Social Entrepreneurship to help him explore possible alternative careers.

He then uses all of these projects to synthesize a plan for next steps in his own calling, and creates a presentation, website and digital booklet to help others to do the same.

Susan, Web Developer for Ministries

Susan has her own Web Development consulting business, which she uses as a "tent-making" business to support her true passion of doing free or discounted web development for ministries with limited resources. She is often so busy between her consulting business and supporting ministries that she does not have time to read about the theology of technology or even stay up to date on the latest technologies. She would like to consider doing technology ministry full-time, but is not sure that it would be financially sustainable. She decides to the MTSE program as a way to attempt "level-up" her ministry work and has the following goals:

  1. Serve as a Technology and Social Entrepreneurship intern with one of the ministries that she consults for as her sponsor. This will allow her to do more work for that ministry and not have to worry about paying the tuition.
  2. Improve her programming fundamentals by taking Java and Database courses from another school as transfer credit to the MTSE program.
  3. Expand her business and entrepreneurial skills to be able to improve the sustainability of her business.  

To do this she designs a program with the following projects and courses:

  • She uses the classes History and Case Studies of Technology in the Church along with High Tech Social Entrepreneurship to develop a business plan that would enable her to work closer to being full-time professional in the field of technology and ministry
  • She takes a Masters-level Java course and Database course online from another school to transfer in as credit.

She then uses all of this to develop a new software system for the ministry that doubles its efficiency and effectiveness online and works to make it possible for her to stay on staff with that ministry.

Joel, Technology Missionary

Joel works a technology division for an international missions organization that is focused on Africa. While he loves his work, he would like to find a way to "move up" in the organization. In addition, with the rapidly changing technology, the organization has had a hard time keeping up and that is affecting the long-term financial sustainability of the organization. The organization did have some a strong digital divide initiatives a few years ago, but rapid technology changes have required them to rethink strategy. He decides to take the MTSE program with the following goals.

  1. Discuss strategies and get feedback from leaders in technology and missions.
  2. Develop the skills needed to expand his role from being purely technology-focused to being a manager and leader of technology initiatives
  3. Explore the possibility of developing an accredited online college providing degrees in Africa through a combination of mobile lessons and a computer lab

To do this he designs the following program:

  • Develop a business plan for an online college using the proejcts in High Tech Social Entrepreneurship and Appropriate Technology in the IT Field
  • Reflect on the technology strategy of the mission using the projects in Theology of Technology and Organizational Systems
  • Write a grant to provide funding for the online college through the Grant and Proposal Writing project.

He then uses all of this to develop a Capstone project which is a proposal to an accreditor that they can submit after operating the online school for two years.