Christendom is the fourth in Dave Raymond’s series of online history courses for Compass Classroom. (See my reviews of Antiquity, Modernity, and American History.) Like the other courses, downloadable files for the teacher’s guide and student reader can be accessed at no extra cost, although printed copies are also available for purchase. (Note that downloads are available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.)
The course is taught online through numerous videos that typically run for about 15 minutes. (Videos are also available on USB drives.)
The course has 26 lessons. The first lesson, titled Orientation, includes essential information about the course and how it works.
The second lesson begins with the birth of the church in the midst of the Roman empire and continues through the Protestant Reformation and developments in England leading up to the Glorious Revolution in 1688. While the course stops at this point, there’s much more church history in the last five centuries that I would have loved to see included.
Dave Raymond presents the lectures for each lesson, sometimes accompanying the lecture with images. He teaches from a Reformed Protestant point of view, which is especially important to know since he interprets church events through that lens and focuses primarily on events that support the Protestant Reformation.
Raymond helps students form a biblical worldview (Protestant) throughout the course. For example, he begins this course by asking students to consider why they go to school, leading them to consider the purpose of their lives as something other than short-sighted goals, such as getting a good job or making lots of money.
The Student Reader
The student reader does not repeat the content of the videos, so students need to be proficient notetakers. (Raymond gives students tips on notetaking in the orientation lesson.) The student reader presents primary source readings that tie in with each lesson. Each reading is prefaced by a question, and students will write out their answers to these questions. These questions and readings are also included online within each lesson’s material. A sample response for each question is in the teacher’s guide.
Some lessons refer students to passages from the Bible. This is especially true for the second lesson where the student reader refers students to the Bible for all their reading assignments. Otherwise, the reading material is in the student reader. The student reader also includes the exam questions for each lesson. Students will need to review their notes to prepare for exams.
Portfolios and Projects
Students will create a portfolio, making an entry each week that illustrates in some way (writing, art, drawings, poetry, quotations, etc.) the content of the lesson. Craftsmanship is considered in the final evaluation of the portfolio.
Students will complete one project the first semester and two the second. The first project is the Family Tree and Heraldic Crest project. Students need to gather family history back four generations, if possible, interview two elderly family members to learn their stories, write a family history report, and create a family crest based on what they have learned. Students will present results to an audience. The second project is writing a research paper. The third, the Hour Project, gives students wide leeway to create a project of their choosing in which they will invest 30 to 40 hours of work. Students begin work on the Hour Project with lesson 21, leaving five more lessons to complete along with this project. Since the lessons each take a week, students should be able to devote a month or more to this project, perhaps spreading the last five or six lessons over two weeks each and spending part of those weeks working on the project.
Like Dave Raymond’s other courses, Christendom is academically demanding but well worth the effort.