Simpson University Partners with Crown College to Teach ‘Virtual’ Class

REDDING, Calif.—In a new joint venture between colleges of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, Simpson University is sharing a sociology class in “real time” with Crown College in Minnesota.

Dr. Craig Cook, who serves as dean of Simpson University’s School of Education, taught at Crown College from 2004 to 2012 and has a degree in sociology. He is teaching the general education course in a face-to-face format at Simpson while interactively “livestreaming” it to a classroom at Crown.

“Combining resources in this way is economical, but it’s also exciting to collaborate,” Dr. Cook said. “One goal is to heighten the interaction between our two colleges and our students, who share a common denominational heritage.”

Simpson University and Crown College are two of the four U.S. colleges affiliated with The C&MA denomination. The others are Toccoa Falls College (Georgia) and Nyack College (New York).

In his Simpson classroom, Dr. Cook uses a 360-degree “Owl” camera that follows a speaker around the room. His students see a screen showing the classroom at Crown. The Crown students have two screens: one showing PowerPoint slides related to course content and one showing the Simpson classroom.

acad_crown img_0672

Simpson University’s Dr. Craig Cook talks to Crown College Provost Scott Moats after the second joint class session. The “Owl” camera, front center, follows voice sounds.

The technology allows for live questions and answers. “I told the students this class is going to have a different rhythm,” Dr. Cook said. “It may feel awkward at first, but let’s hang with it. The goal is learning and getting the information to you in an effective way.”

Dr. Scott Moats, provost at Crown College, first broached the collaborative idea with C&MA colleges and hopes to eventually write a paper about this new learning partnership between institutions.

“This is our second semester at Crown of working with this technology, and we learn more each class and each semester,” Dr. Moats said. “The Crown/Simpson collaboration is one of, I hope, many steps where we can begin to think about ways to collaborate and strengthen our institutions. I am excited to work with Dr. Cook on this project and have the highest regard for his knowledge of sociology and his understanding of pedagogy. He is the perfect partner for an experiment of this nature.”


Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduategraduate, and teaching credential programs. The university will celebrate its centennial in 2021. Simpson was named as one of the 2018 Colleges of Distinction. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings; the Betty M. Dean School of NursingA.W. Tozer Seminary, the School of Education, and the School of Graduate Professional Studies. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit