Teaching is a central interest of Crow’s and he has taught a variety of courses at both Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College. Courses include:

  • New Religious Movements: Mormonism to Scientology

The course examined the development of the academic subdomain of New Religious Movements, the history of its emergence, the theoretical issues involved with NRMs and then surveyed a variety of 19th and 20th century religious movements culminating in an in-depth examination of Scientology.

  • American Religious History

This was a survey course that examined the history of religion in America from its colonial beginning to the end of the 20th century. While following a more-or-less chronological order, the course looked at the diverse way religion manifested in America and how it impacted a variety of other aspects of American culture and life including politics and economics.

  • World Religions

Inside Temple Looking Out, Fo Guang Shan’s Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, California.©2006 John L. Crow.

This course surveyed a variety of World Religions, including Indigenous traditions, Native American, African and African Diasporic traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While covering each traditions history, beliefs, and practices, it highlighted the way religion was both complicit in and resisted forms of violence. Specific classes looked at issues such as the violent legacy of Buddhism, ongoing issues of the Israeli & Palestinian conflict, association with religion and terrorism in Christianity and other traditions, and how religions engage in gender regulation, highlighting the role of head coverings within Islam. In each examination, a wide variety of media were used conveying multiple viewpoints to facilitate a discussion that engaged the complexity of the issue.

  • Humanities, from Pre-History to the Italian Renaissance

This course looked as humanity’s cultural development, beginning with the earliest forms of human culture, continuing through the emergence of the Italian Renaissance.  As it covered such a great swath of human history, a selection of time periods and events were highlighted to allow students to draw lines of continuity and development to aspects of culture that they were familiar with in their day-to-day lives. The emphasis on the course was to explore what it means to be human and the kinds of issues and historical occurrences that led to the world as it exists today.

Online Teaching & Pedagogy

In addition to teaching face-to-face, he has also taught online at both Florida State and Tallahassee Community College. In 2012 he was invited to be one of three on the committee to develop the FSU Department of Religion’s first online course, survey or World Religions. Using his IT background he was able to assist in both the technological planning and implementation of the project including the construction of the course in the Blackboard learning environment, acquiring and organizing the course materials, and recording and editing the instructional videos. Once the course was complete he was the first to teach it in the department and subsequently trained others to teach the course. For his work on this project, he was awarded the Award for Excellence in Online Course Design from Florida State’s Office of Distance Learning and was honorable mention for the Award for Excellence in Online Teaching.

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