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Web-Based Education in Parapsychology #2:
Moving Education in Scientific Parapsychology Online—A Story That Ends with Two New Online Courses Starting the Week of September 16th!

By Nancy L. Zingrone, Ph.D.
PF Lyceum Blog #32
Posted September 3rd, 2013

Some years ago, in fact in May of 2010, I posted a blog on this site about the history of online education in parapsychology. I was just about to start a new job as the Director of Academic and Administrative Affairs at Atlantic University, an online school with a single masters degree program in Transpersonal Studies. Run by Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment, Atlantic University is a pretty unique institution with some wonderful faculty, students and staff, all of whom are exploring the transpersonal world of New Age spirituality.

But I was to find out that being an administrator of a school usually means there’s no time to teach. In the almost three years I spent at Atlantic University, I never had the opportunity to wade into an online academic classroom. Although I did have an opportunity to do tutorials on the classroom management system for the students and faculty, that only whetted my appetite for the “real thing.”

When I wrote that earlier blog I was about a week away from taking that new job, and about two years into my journey as an online education enthusiast. I confess part of my excitement about the new job was the thought of being around students again, something that hadn’t happened much during the years my husband, Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado, and I ran the PF’s “virtual office” in Charlottesville, Virginia and also worked as Assistant Professors of Research at the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia. We both found we were quite nostalgic about teaching, something that had been such a prominent part of our years working on-site in New York City for the Foundation. It had been a great joy to design courses for, and teach in, the PF’s adult education program.

From Eileen J. Garrett, the founder of the Parapsychology Foundation, through her daughter and son-in-law Eileen and Robert Coly, to her granddaughter, the current-day President, Lisette Coly, the PF has always had a commitment to education in the field, most visible in the grants and scholarship program and the incomparable Eileen J. Garrett Research Library now located out in the picturesque town of Greenport, Long Island. Setting up and running an adult education program was a wonderful out-growth of that long-time commitment to students and young researchers. Carlos and I were just delighted to have been a part of the PF’s efforts in that regard.

Way back in the 1980s and 1990s, before we finished our PhDs—which for me was partially funded by the PF’s Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship— and before the early 2000s when we went to New York City to work for the Foundation, Carlos and I had lived in Durham, North Carolina. While in Durham, we had, among other things, worked as “Visiting Scholars” at the Rhine Research Center, then called the Institute for Parapsychology, a division of J. B. Rhine’s Foundation for the Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM). One of our favorite duties was to contribute lectures, library supervision, and student advising every June and July to the FRNM’s Summer Study Program.

So when Carlos and I left Atlantic University some months back, we gratefully took an opportunity to return to the Durham area and become involved with the Rhine Research Center again. Especially wonderful has been the opportunity we now have to contribute to the Rhine Education Center online program that continues the tradition of the old Summer Study Program. Getting involved with the education side of the Rhine has been a real treat, really reminiscent of those great years on-site at the PF in New York City. To say the least, we are both delighted to be teaching again!

The new Rhine Education Center was started up a few years ago, when John Kruth, became the Executive Director of the Rhine Research Center. Just to prove that the Parapsychology Foundation’s influence is everywhere, one of Kruth’s collaborators in the new online school, was psychologist Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore. Christine had been the 2004 recipient of the Parapsychology Foundation’s Bolton Fellowship, the 2007 D. Scott Rogo Award Winner and was an important invited speaker at the PF’s ground-breaking Utrecht II Conference held in the Netherlands in 2008. Working with Kruth, after emigrating to the United States with her husband, Steve Moore—a North Carolinian whom she met at one of the last Rhine face-to-face Summer Study Programs—Christine designed and taught the first online course for Kruth's new program.

Once Chrstine took up her present position at the University of West Georgia, Steve took over teaching the course for a couple of semesters. Soon after Carlos and I relocated to Durham, I was lucky enough to pick up where Steve left off and teach the fourth iteration of Christine's course this past Spring.

This was a fantastic experience for me. We had 19 serious, knowledgeable and altogether great students from Argentina, Australia, the continental United States and from Puerto Rico, all gathering in a really-easy-to-use online classroom for eight great weeks. The discussions were fantastic for me, and like the old Adult Education program at the PF back in the day, I learned as much—or more— than I taught.

Now this Fall semester at the Rhine Education Center, starting soon—the week of September 16th in fact—Carlos and I will be teaching two brand new courses that we have designed for the eight-week semester.

The first one, The Wandering Mind: OBEs and NDEs, owes a lot to the one-day seminar that we developed for the Parapsychology Foundation’s adult education, although we have significantly updated the content, of course. Anybody who still has a VCR or a combo VCR/DVD machine can pick up a copy of our original seminar, Beyond the Body from the Foundation’s online store, Psi-Mart.

Like that one-day seminar, the course we’re doing for the Rhine Education Center combines experience and research on both out-of-body and near-death experiences. Carlos and I are team-teaching the course that will feature live classes on the WebEx webinar system every Monday evening from September 16th through November 4th, 2013. The course materials are primary sources—no textbook is required—and the course itself will take place on the Rhine Education Center’s course management system, which, for those of you in the “know” is the very easy-to-use Moodle online classroom.

Below you will find an introductory video that I filmed that shows the syllabus and gives information about the cost and the course content.

The second course, Premonitions and Precognition is something we’ve never taught before, so we’re particularly excited about the opportunity.

We’ve always been interested in precognition, like a lot of people in the field of scientific parapsychology. When Carlos and I were working on-site at the Foundation’s library, one of Carlos’ favorite things was to put together finding aids for individuals who came to study in the library. He prepared two bibliographies of Garrett Library holdings on precognition. The first one was a general introduction to books and articles on precognition, and the second one focused specifically on precognitions of disasters.

These book lists are great to use even when you’re not in the Garrett Library because they point you to important books and articles on a variety of topics, many of which are freely available on the internet or available through such online subscription-based libraries as, not to mention at local university libraries, and sometimes even at good public libraries.

You can bet that Carlos and I will be relying on some of the resources mentioned in the PF Bibiliographies and we have hunted up some new materials as well.

Here’s a video introduction to the Premonitions and Precognition course that I filmed and uploaded to my YouTube channel. All the info is here: on the syllabus, the way the course is going to be run, the dates of the course—it starts with a live lecture by Carlos on Wednesday evening, September 18th, and runs through the 13th of November— as well as details about cost and the application deadline which is September 12th.

You will find more information about the courses on the Rhine Education Center.

So that’s the story of new online education opportunities in scientific parapsychology.

I just wanted to end with a huge thank you to Lisette Coly for letting me blog about the PF’s resources and commitment to education in the field, the Eileen J. Garrett Research Library, how the PF has supported a lot of us involved in education in the field, the Rhine Education Center’s great new online education program and, last but not least, Carlos' and my upcoming courses! Come join us!



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