THCT563 Introducing Theology
This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. This includes structured synchronous or asynchronous learning activities. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation and submission of tasks for assessment.
Unit rationale, description and aim
For 2000 years, Christianity has deeply influenced the structures, systems, laws, values and behavioural norms of numerous societies, including Australia. Within Christianity, Catholicism is the single largest Christian tradition in the world, and Catholic perspectives are key to understanding Christianity both historically and in contemporary context. It is imperative that Christians, those involved in Christian organisations, and those seeking to understand Christianity and its significance, are able to explain the key beliefs and practices of the Christian faith and apply them to today’s context. To this end, THCT500 is an introductory unit, seeking to provide students with the foundational knowledge necessary for further theological study.
THCT500 will introduce students to the study of Christian theology, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic approach. It explores the central Christian doctrines in relation to God, creation, Jesus, salvation, Church, sacraments, and eschatology, and introduces students to the academic and critical study of theology. The aim of this unit is for students to acquire foundational knowledge of the central beliefs of Christianity by exploring both their historical basis and contemporary application.
On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:
LO1 - Explain key foundational beliefs of Christian faith, using a variety of theological sources (GA4, GA9)
LO2 - Analyse the significance of Jesus Christ within a Christian theology of salvation, including exploring the links between Christ, the Trinity, salvation, and eschatology (GA4, GA8)
LO3 - Evaluate the links between Christian faith and living a Christian life in contemporary society and the student’s own context, with particular reference to Church, sacraments, and mission (GA4, GA8, GA9)
GA4 - think critically and reflectively
GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information
GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media
Topics will include:
- The nature and sources of theological study; revelation, scripture, tradition, reason, and experience;
- Introductory Christian beliefs about God, creation, and sin and grace;
- Exploration of central Christian beliefs regarding Christ, the Trinity, salvation, and eschatology;
- The practice of Christian faith today, including Church, the sacramental, ethical and social dimensions of faith, and Christian mission.
Learning and teaching strategy and rationale
This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The teaching strategy is based on constructivist and andragogical principles which emphasise that students are active, adult learners. Students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. The focus is therefore on student-centred learning, with consideration of how the learning content applies to the students themselves and their contemporary context.
Learning activities are designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which help students develop critical thinking and reflection skills. The emphasis in this unit is placed on the development and application of skills. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning are also emphasised.
THCT500 is an introductory unit, aiming to provide students with the foundational knowledge necessary for later units in their course. The teaching topics are structured to guide students in systematic order, with the first section focusing on theological sources and methods, and key preliminary doctrines around God, revelation, creation, anthropology, and sin and grace. The next section focuses on the central doctrines of Christian faith: Christ, Trinity, salvation, eschatology. The third and final section of the unit focuses on the living out of Christian faith, addressing Church, sacraments, and Christian mission.
Following constructive alignment, the unit’s learning outcomes, weekly teaching content, and assessment tasks are all aligned with each other. This means that teaching content and learning activities are designed to aid students in completion of the learning outcomes and assessment tasks.
Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants:
Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. The full -day sessions may be timetabled outside of regular working hours. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable.
All learning activities are held online and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
ACU Online: This mode uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.
Assessment strategy and rationale
In order to pass the unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of all three learning outcomes and achieve an overall mark of 50% or higher.
The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome as well as the graduate attributes. The three assessment tasks align with the constructivist sequence outlined in the learning outcomes and the teaching and learning strategy, which moves in sequence from explanation, to analysis, to evaluation.
Assessment Task 1 assesses students’ achievement of Learning Outcome 1, requiring them to explain key foundational beliefs of Christian faith, using a variety of theological sources. This task provides a platform for Tasks 2 and 3.
Assessment Task 2 is designed to assess achievement of Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and partial achievement of LO3 and requires students to perform at the higher level of knowledge involved in analysis. It asks students to analyse the significance of Jesus Christ within a Christian theology of salvation, including exploring the links between Christ, the Trinity, salvation, and eschatology. These four doctrines are at the heart of Christian faith, which is why this assessment task is the most heavily weighted at 50%.
Assessment Task 3 builds further on Task 2 by asking students to evaluate Christian beliefs and living a Christian life in contemporary context. Task 3 is designed to assess achievement of all three learning outcomes and requires students’ to evaluate how Christian beliefs are lived out in practice, with a particular focus on Church, sacraments, and mission.
Overview of assessments
|Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment Tasks||Weighting||Learning Outcomes||Graduate Attributes|
Explanatory task, written or other format: requires students to demonstrate their achievement of LO1.
Research essay: requires student to demonstrate academic essay writing skills and their achievement of LO1,LO 2, LO3.
LO1, LO2, LO3
Evaluation task, written or other format: requires students to evaluate Christian beliefs in contemporary context, especially Church, sacraments and mission, and their achievement of all three LOs.
LO1, LO2, LO3
GA4, GA8, GA9
Representative texts and references
Cunningham, Lawrence S. An Introduction to Catholicism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
González, Justo L. and Zaida Maldonado Pérez. An Introduction to Christian Theology. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002.
Ford, David. Theology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
Johnson, L. T. The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters. New York: Doubleday, 2003.
Kelly, A. God is Love: The Heart of the Christian Faith. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2012.
Markham, Ian. Understanding Christian Doctrine. Malden: Blackwell, 2008.
McGrath, Alister. Christian Theology: An Introduction. 6th ed. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell, 2017.
Migliore, Daniel. Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2014.
O'Collins, G. and E. G. Farrugia. Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Rausch, Thomas. Systematic Theology: A Roman Catholic Approach. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2016.