A New Platform for The Urantia Book Internet School

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Michael Zehr

By Michael Zehr, Winter Garden, Florida, United States

Editor’s Note: The Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS) is now in its fourteenth year of operation. The school has been facilitating in-depth study of The Urantia Book to scores of readers around the world. The demand for more classes in more languages has grown, and now there is need for new virtual classrooms.

A few times a year, readers of The Urantia Book from around the world gather virtually at urantiabookschool.org to participate in classes. This site has served its purpose well, but an updated system called Moodle is now available, and UBIS will be offering future courses in online classrooms based on the Moodle platform.

Moodle is an open-source application, which means that it is maintained by a community of volunteer developers. Moodle is designed specifically to support online classes and education. There are more than 80,000 registered sites using Moodle in over 200 countries with more than one million teachers and 70 million students. Its widespread use helps to ensure that it will remain compatible with future browsers and computer versions, but the primary reason for choosing Moodle is the built-in support for many languages, including English, Spanish, French, and German.

Moodle has many more capabilities that UBIS could use in the future. For example, although UBIS uses a weekly-format course (the students are all participating in the same activity which changes on a weekly basis), the system could also support topical or self-paced courses.

The launch date for the new site has not been officially announced, but we are implementing it as quickly as possible. Care is being taken to fully support the question/response/discussion format of the current school and allow for an easy transition for students, teacher/facilitators, and the UBIS administrative staff.

It is most gratifying to be working on this project as the primary developer. I am also working closely with my parents, Ralph and Betty Zehr, who are teacher/facilitators with UBIS, and my father is an associate trustee of Urantia Foundation. I look forward to a future in which UBIS offers courses in many languages and reaches more and more students of The Urantia Book.

Foundation Info

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