Institute for Church Life launches new distance-learning initiative


The Institute for Church Life (ICL) at the University of Notre Dame has launched a new distance-learning initiative through its Satellite Theological Education Program (STEP) that provides the University’s first exclusively online courses for nontraditional students nationwide.

The STEP e-Course program is accessible through the ICL’s site on the World Wide Web and features Notre Dame faculty who provide instruction, reading materials, a syllabus, and course study requirements.

The program began Monday (Oct. 16) with a course by Rev. Joseph Weiss, S.J., titled “An Introduction to Sacraments,” and will continue March 5 with “Pauline Letters” by Rev. Jerome Neyrey, S.J., and April 9 with “A History of American Catholicism” by Jay P. Dolan, professor of history. A certificate of completion is presented to participating students at the conclusion of each course.

STEP began distance-learning programs last fall to provide theological and pastoral instruction from Notre Dame to Catholics living in rural dioceses. In its first year, STEP served three dioceses with theological instruction via satellite and videotaped programming. This year STEP has expanded to serve seven dioceses throughout the United States.

In addition to participating faculty, the STEP e-Course initiative has been coordinated by Thomas Cummings of the ICL, Chris Carter and Kay Westhues of the Office of Information Technologies and Thomas Laughner of the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning.

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