I would like to tell you about the Urantia Book Internet School (UBIS). This adventure of our age is staffed by a team of volunteers; women and men who are devoted to building something substantial and enduring that will assist readers of The Urantia Book.
This undertaking began in late 1998 in order to respond to concerns expressed by isolated readers about their need to study the teachings of The Urantia Book in a structured and stable context while sharing them with other truth seekers around the world. The Internet made this possible.
The Urantia Book Internet School operates on a software platform called Moodle. This open-source software is user-friendly and offers many custom features that the user can choose, as well as a large number of educational tools. Further, its interface has been translated into more than 120 languages.
The school helps expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception, thereby assisting the authors of The Urantia Book in achieving these aims. It does this by providing an educational environment that is well suited to studying the teachings, while embodying methods that are non-interpretative, non-invasive, and dynamic — resembling the approach that Jesus of Nazareth adopted while he was living on Urantia.
The work of the Urantia Book Internet School is aimed at the following objectives:
- To accompany new readers as they discover the teachings of The Urantia Book.
- To deepen understanding of complex concepts by using an approach to facts, meanings and values that is gradual and structured.
- To help participants live the teachings by sharing them with others.
- To provide a framework for cooperative learning as part of a team.
- To gain experience in presenting the teachings of The Urantia Book and in sharing them with others.
- To train teacher-facilitators in techniques that help students discover the teachings.
Structure and Pattern of Operations
The Urantia Book Internet School currently provides courses in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Thus far, over 750 registered students coming from more than 65 countries on the five inhabited continents have taken more than 250 different courses, some for beginners and the rest for intermediate or advanced readers. Over 120 volunteers work together to operate the school; the great majority of them are teacher-facilitators, but 14 persons serve on the Board of Directors.
The school’s academic year consists of trimesters lasting ten weeks each. Enrollment and registration occur during the first half of September, January, and April.
Each ten-week trimester begins with a week of orientation. The next eight weeks are devoted to four cycles lasting two weeks each. During the first week of each cycle, the students read the passages that have been assigned because of the topic of the course then reply to the three questions that they choose out of the six questions that are available. During the second week of each cycle, all the answers are pooled; the students proceed to discuss them and share their ideas in a spirit of spiritual friendship and great cooperation. During the final week of the trimester, each student writes an essay.
The School’s Approach to Teaching and Learning
The school’s approach to teaching and learning is the key to its success. This approach is based on three dynamic principles:
1. The revelators are the real teachers. Exposing the students to their writings by means of the readings that are recommended is the fundamental technique that helps expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception.
2. The teacher-facilitators do not interpret the teachings. They choose a particular theme or consecutive papers then prepare their courses by selecting specific passages for the students to read. This enables them to offer a voyage of discovery during which those participating will ponder the questions and seek to find their own answers. The teacher-facilitator then monitors the sharing of ideas and impressions that takes place during the final week.
3. The contributions whereby the students share their spiritual lives inspire everyone and promote the spiritual progress of each individual. This phase is essential, for it stimulates faith and enables each participant to describe his or her experiences, while also benefiting from the insights of others.
The three-step cycle is very effective (i.e., Reading, Questions & Answers, and Sharing). The first week devoted to reading recommended passages and finding one’s own answers to questions enables the student to clarify many ideas that he or she may have misunderstood, while making substantial progress in grasping new revelations of truth and appreciating new meanings, perhaps in relation to the fact, the law, and the love of God. During this phase of active reading and inquiry, while the mind is resonating to new insights, the Spirit of Truth can operate effectively by causing truths to emerge that the Thought Adjuster will draw on to enhance spiritual perceptions. Spiritual relationships and dynamic exchanges of energy associate the human mind that is searching for God with the Thought Adjuster who is revealing God.
The subsequent phase of sharing enables each participant to savor the views of the other students, while describing life experiences related to the teachings and implicitly discovering other approaches to spiritual insight, conviction, and devotion. This process unfolds amidst profound concord of the soul, an atmosphere attesting to a strong and mutual attraction to God’s plans for us, as well as an intense desire to do good for others. As a result, the students acquire an increased understanding of our responsibilities to the Universal Father and the Supreme Being, as well as greater awareness of our responsibilities to the Creator Son and the Creative Mother Spirit — the immediate spiritual sponsors who unceasingly attract and inspire us throughout our lives on Urantia, and also during our ascendant lives on the mansion worlds.
If a reader of The Urantia Book is well advanced in studying the teachings and, in addition, has taken at least two courses of the Urantia Book Internet School, then he or she is eligible “to sign up” by volunteering to become a teacher-facilitator. The school will then provide a training course that describes and explains the school’s approach to teaching and learning, and an experienced colleague will assist the new teacher-facilitator during the first course that he or she gives. Therefore we can accurately describe the school’s teacher-facilitators as dedicated readers of The Urantia Book who have absorbed and accepted the school’s methods and approaches, and who have decided to devote themselves to this adventure of unselfish service.
A Cordial Invitation
On behalf of the Trustees, Associate Trustees, and staff of Urantia Foundation, I cordially invite each of you to confirm the accuracy of everything that I have written here by registering for one or more courses of the Urantia Book Internet School. Our website http://ubis.urantia.org/moodle explains the curriculum and provides all the other information that you will need.
I would like to finish with this profoundly inspiring thought that our Sovereign Creator Son Michael of Nebadon voiced to a young companion of his while he was incarnate on Urantia in the human form of Jesus of Nazareth:
“In the experience of finding the Father in heaven you discover that all men are your brothers, and does it seem strange that one should enjoy the exhilaration of meeting a newly discovered brother? To become acquainted with one’s brothers and sisters, to know their problems and to learn to love them, is the supreme experience of living.” [Paper 130:2.6, page 1431.1)
Thank you for your attention.