What is the RZIM Academy?
The RZIM Academy is an online training curriculum designed to help individual become better equipped to give an answer to anyone who asks them to give a reason for the hope that they have. We’ve asked the RZIM speakers to share some of their expertise in the form of lectures, compiled as an online course. Ravi Zacharias, Michael Ramsden, Stuart McAllister, John Lennox, Os Guinness, Amy Orr-Ewing, Alister McGrath, and many more have contributed lectures to our Core Module, which offers a broad introduction to apologetics, addresses some common objections, and provides practical skills of engaging in fruitful dialogue with people of different worldviews.
Who should attend the RZIM Academy?
The RZIM Academy is a great program for individuals of any level of experience or expertise. Beginners should find the concepts new and engaging, yet not too difficult to follow. Those with a little experience in answering difficult questions about the Christian faith will find helpful explanations and new skills for giving answers that are more constructive and more effective in pointing people towards Christ. And even the advanced student who may have a theological or apologetics degree can benefit from the particular emphasis on helping bridge the head to the heart, and addressing the questioner, not just the question.
We expect that a vast majority of the participants in the program will be Christians, so most of the lectures are addressed to a Christian audience. However, as is the case with all of our resources, we have been careful to deliver the content in a way that should not make non-Christians uncomfortable, should they decide to enroll.
How are the classes structured? Are there any live scheduled elements?
Each section of a particular course or module will include 100 students and one moderator. All learning is asynchronous, meaning it can be done at any time of day according to the individual’s schedule. However, one priority in this course is to foster classroom community and discussion, which means that from week to week it will be important to be on pace with the rest of the section.
Each week there will be two or three lectures, along with some additional videos such as a clip from a Q&A session from a recent RZIM event. There will be practical assignments about every other week, and an active discussion board where students can post their assignment results and give each other feedback.
New content will be posted at the start of each week, and will be accessible at any time from that point forward. This includes all lectures, notes, assignments, and any other element included in the syllabus for that week.
How long is it?
The Core module is twelve weeks long. Elective courses, which are available to those who have successfully completed the Core Module, will vary in length. Elective courses are generally between 7 and 9 weeks each.
How much of a time commitment is the Academy? (Time per week)
The courses in the RZIM Academy are designed so that the total commitment per week should be less than three hours. Lectures are around thirty minutes each, and most weeks include only two lectures. Full participation would also include engaging in the class discussion boards, submitting results from the practical assignments (about every other week), and giving feedback to fellow students on their work. For students who have more time available, there will be additional optional resources to study, and of course the discussion boards are a great opportunity to engage with fellow students and the moderator.
Is it self-guided or will there be help along the way?
Class interaction is a very important part of the RZIM Academy courses. The program has been designed so as to provide maximum opportunity to build community and engage with peers concerning the course content and any other questions one might have. The course moderators have been selected primarily to help enhance the overall experience of each student, and to be available as a resource and to serve each student enrolled. For this reason, we are placing a strict limit on the number of students per moderator.
What would you expect someone to have learned after taking the class?
While the ability to answer difficult questions and better understand and defend the rationality of the Christian faith are obviously important goals of this training, a primary focus of all of the RZIM Academy courses will be to help students recognize that behind every question is a questioner. We don’t want to equip students to simply address ideas, but to respond to individuals. It will be very important for students to grasp that how we communicate is just as important as what we communicate, for our primary aim is to help people see and know God through the person of Jesus Christ.
Can I take it with my small group?
The answer to this question used to be no, but now we’re exploring some options for groups to sign up together. It may seem strange that we wouldn’t want groups to participate, and in fact, it could be an extremely valuable experience for that group. The challenge we would face, however, would be that if a significant percentage of a section of students is having regular discussions outside of the online forums, then the online forums will likely be less active, and therefore less helpful as part of the training. The main concern is that when we have students who live in parts of the world where opportunities to ask questions and share their insights are very limited, they will be the students whose experience with the training will be most negatively impacted. So we are working to find a good solution for all students who might want to enroll as a group that ensures that they remain engaged in the online discussion community as well. In the meantime, please direct requests to the RZIM Academy team using the contact form or email address provided on this site.
What is your re-enrollment policy for those who don’t complete the course?
We really want everyone to receive a certificate of completion, and we don’t want you to have to pay twice, especially if your availability to participate changes unexpectedly. However, we do need to have some general policies in place to ensure that everyone has an incentive to complete the course when they sign up. We offer free re-enrollment to anyone who lets us know within the first 6 weeks that they wont’ be able to finish. We offer a 50% discount towards re-enrollment to anyone who lets us know after 6 weeks, but before the course ends. Just let your moderator know and he or she will help you.
What elective courses are there?
Our elective modules are selected based on both common requests from our RZIM base, as well as the subject matter expertise of our speaking team. As our team has grown, so has the breadth of knowledge and capacity to address particular topics more thoroughly. We plan to continually create new elective modules each year. Currently we have four elective courses available:
- The Bible
- Faith Seeking Understanding – an introduction to basic doctrine
- Engaging the Modern World
- Science and Religion
- Why suffering?
How is it different than the Foundations of Apologetics or ASK?
Both of those are excellent resources, and we would say that anyone who has completed either of those would still find the Core module extremely helpful. At the same time, those who have completed the Core would also benefit from the Foundations or ASK as well. While the content, in some cases, will be very similar, there are unique aspects of each of these three resources that make all of them useful, regardless of prior exposure to any other training.
The primary difference between the RZIM Academy and any other resource available through RZIM is the level of interaction and feedback made possible by the learning platform and moderators. While ASK does offer some interactive elements, the RZIM Academy courses provide a designated moderator who is committed to be available daily to all students in his or her section. We will also be adding new content daily in the form of optional resources, as well as the contributions of the other students in each section.
How much does it cost?
Because a portion of the production cost has been covered by some of RZIM’s donors, we’re able to offer the twelve-week Core for $199. Scholarships and some discounts may be available. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there scholarships available?
Yes! Click here! We don’t want finances to be the only reason someone does not sign up for a course. A certain number of need-based scholarships will be awarded for each class that we offer. To apply, you can register/log in, and click ‘subscribe’ to the Scholarship Application. There, you can download our scholarship application, complete it, and then submit it on the same page. All applications must be submitted at least one week prior to the course start date.
Will I receive a diploma or certificate? Can I receive college credit?
Students who successfully complete the Core module and meet the minimum requirements will receive a certificate from RZIM. At the current time we are not able to offer college credit, but stay tuned for updates!
Are the classes offered internationally?
Absolutely. One of the primary reasons this training program has been created was to help equip those individuals in different parts of the world who are not able to attend or access some of the other events or resources currently available.
What browser should I use?
We’ve found that the most seamless user experience is with Google Chrome. Occasionally with Internet Explorer or Safari, especially older versions, there may be an issue with pages loading correctly. This may look like the images on the page are distorted or out of line, or the window for entering text is very small, or the window won’t scroll up or down. If that happens and you are not using Google Chrome, we strongly recommend that you download it (for free) here. It is very secure and works for both Windows and Mac operating systems.
Do I have to have a PayPal account to purchase a course?
No. We do process all of our online payments for the RZIM Academy through PayPal, but you will have the option of checking out as a guest, using an approved credit card. If you would like an alternative payment method, you may call our US office and pay with a credit card over the phone. That number is 770.449.6766.
I live in Singapore and PayPal is not accepting my payment.
We have learned that because we are a non-profit organization, PayPal Singapore does not allow payments to be made to our PayPal account. If you would like to pay over the phone, you can call our US office at +1.770.449.6766 and give them your credit card information. Alternatively, you can contact us at email@example.com and we can send you information about how to wire the payment to our Singapore office.