Tallahassee Community College
REL 2300 (098461) Spring 2012
Tuesdays 7:00 PM – 9:45 PM, EN0247
Syllabus version 1.0
Instructor: John L. Crow
Office: CH 276
Email Address: email@example.com (emails answered within 24-48 hours)
Office Hours: 5:55-6:55 PM Tuesdays
Welcome to World Religions (REL2300)
Welcome to World Religions (REL2300). In this class we will explore and engage the history and religious beliefs and practices of numerous cultures around the world over a vast time span. The class will give you an opportunity to survey the variety of ways humanity has come to know and interact with the divine. It will also give you a broad exposure to varying worldviews that have influenced the ways people live their lives and interact with each other.
REL 2300: World Religions (3). F, SP. Prerequisite: successful completion of the general education communications requirement. The course is designed to introduce the student to the academic study of religion and to the sociological, theoretical and practical dimensions of the world’s religions. It involves discussion of such religious expressions as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Sikhism, Judaism, Confucianism, Jainism, Baha’i, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, Native and Diasporic African religions, and Native American religions. It contains a substantial writing component. It also fulfills state writing and the general education requirements. Upon completing this course you will earn 3 credit hours.
The Associate of Arts degree offered through TCC requires the completion of six credit hours in humanities with a grade of “C” or better. There are three different tracks through which those six hours may be obtained. The common track runs through both HUM 2210 and HUM 2230, Humanities of the World I and II. If students pass HUM 2210, then, to fulfill the humanities requirement, they must also pass HUM 2230 (and vice versa). Another track runs through HUM 2740 and 2741, Humanities Abroad I and II. If students pass HUM 2740, then, to fulfill the humanities requirement, they must also pass HUM 2741. The third track offers two humanities courses from four different categories. Those categories include courses relating to (1) Art History, (2) Literature, (3) Music, and (4) Philosophy and Religion. For the third track students must pass two courses, and the two courses must fall into two different categories. Students cannot fulfill the humanities requirement by completing courses in different tracks. If, for example, students pass HUM 2210 and then pass REL 2300 (World Religions), they have not fulfilled the humanities requirement.
Textbook, Software, Additional Required Materials
• Hopfe, Lewis M. and Woodward, Mark R. Religions of the World. Eleventh Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 2009.
• Additional readings will be supplied on Blackboard.
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the course, students should have acquired the following higher order and critical thinking abilities.
A. To analyze, discuss and write about the major world religions from an academic perspective.
B. To describe the historical development of the major world religions, their continuing influence, and their inter-relationships.
C. To explain the beliefs, practices and divisions among each of the major world religions.
D. To identify the general patterns of religious thought, expression, experience, practice, and social development exhibited among the world religions and classify religious phenomena according to those patterns.
E. To compare and contrast the major religions of the world in terms of their beliefs, expressions, practices, and divisions.
F. To interpret basic religious expressions of the major world religions, evaluate the interpretations of others, and defend their own interpretations.
G. To identify possible causal influences in the historical development of the major world religions.
H. To apply what they have learned about one religion when studying another.
I. To determine what religious expressions are or are not characteristic of a given religious tradition.
J. To express an informed appraisal concerning the value of the major world religions for their own personal experience.
The State of Florida requires each student to demonstrate proficiency in certain College Level Academic Skills (CLAS). The students of REL 2300 will have the opportunity to practice and develop their reading and writing skills. As for their reading, students will engage their Literal and Critical Comprehension Skills; and, as for their writing, students will engage their English Language Skills (i.e. appropriate word usage), Sentence Structure Skills, Grammar, Spelling, Capitalization and Punctuation Skills.
The subjects for class discussion along with the reading assignments from Religions of the World may be structured as follows.
1. Introduction and Overview
2. What is the Academic study of Religion and Why?
3. Geography, Maps and Characteristics of Basic Religions
4. Native American Traditions
5. Native & Diasporic African Traditions
9. Chinese Religions
I am enthusiastic about the study of religion. I consider it my responsibility to impart that enthusiasm to the student. It is also my responsibility to create an environment of learning that balances the level of information stated in lectures, materials read individually, and discussions held as a class. Most classes will take a traditional lecture format, though there will be many opportunities for discussion. There will also be a noticeable emphasis on critical thinking in the forms of speaking and writing. Students will benefit most from the class if they read all assigned materials, take extensive notes and pause frequently to think about what they have learned in class on a more general level to make connections. Each religious tradition does not emerge in isolation. It is important to make connections between each of them and the historical and cultural environment in which they arose.
Students are expected to communicate in a civil manner in all interactions at all times, both in and out of the classroom. This means that interactions are to be carried out in a polite, courteous and dignified manner. Class discussion should be respectful and understanding towards both peers and the instructor.
The academic study of religion focuses on analysis, understanding and explanation. It does not seek to persuade persons to join any particular religious group or convert to any other religion. Students may not proselytize in class. Recitations from religious scriptures offered as “proof” of views of other religions (e.g., “Group X is inferior because it says in this scripture that…”) are not constructive in the classroom and is not acceptable behavior.
Cell phones, beepers, watches, computers, and other devices that make noises are disruptive and not welcome in class. Turn off your cell phone when you enter class. Other disruptive practices include reading the newspaper or materials from other classes, texting, copying someone’s notes, etc. Have some courtesy for your classmates and the instructor. Engaging in these activities will also negatively affect your grade.
Putting on your coats, gathering your things and packing up to leave class is disruptive. Please do not do so until class is dismissed. If you need to leave class early, please do so as quietly as possible and sit near one of the doors. IN SUMMARY: STUDENTS SHOULD COME TO CLASS, ARRIVE ON TIME, POWER OFF THEIR CELL PHONE, ALWAYS BE COURTIOUS AND BE QUIET IF LEAVING EARLY!
The Academic Study of Religion
This course is organized within the principles of the academic examination of religion. This should not be confused with the theological approach to studying religion. Thus it is not appropriate to put your own personal religious opinions into your course work. This means in any discussion proselytizing is inappropriate as is condemning other religions based on personal religious views. In your writing, your personal opinions and religious beliefs should not be included unless the assignment calls for it. The academic study of a subject requires us to examine the topic of religion as objectively and dispassionately as possible. Including personal beliefs and opinions where they are not appropriate will negatively affect your grades.
Your course grade will be determined by a combination of factors which include quizzes, exams, papers, participation, and attendance. To satisfy the requirements of TCC and the State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.030 each student enrolled in REL 2300 must complete this course with a “C” or better average and “demonstrate college-level writing skills through multiple assignments.” Thus if you fail to turn in an essay, those as part of the exams or separate essays, you will not pass the course and will receive an F. It is that simple. All quizzes will be given on Blackboard after the section is completed. Exams include an in-class portion and out-of-class portion. Papers must be turned in on time to receive full credit. You will be required to participate. Attendance is also required at all classes. More than two unexcused absences will negatively affect your grade.
All quizzes will be multiple choice/true & false and given on Blackboard. Generally, you have a week to complete the quiz. Once you start the quiz, you have 20 minutes to finish it. Please be careful not to close your web browser window during this time. Doing so will end the quiz. These quizzes are open book and open notes. As such, anything covered in the texts, class lectures, or discussions can and will show up on the quizzes. The questions are presented one at a time in randomized order and you cannot stop the quiz and re-take it later. There are no make-ups for missed online quizzes for any reason except computer problems (which are recorded and available to the instructor) and excused absences. If there are any technical problems, please email or see the class instructor immediately. Do not wait until the next class.
Over the time of the course there will two exams. The first covers the sections relating to eastern religions, the second to western religions. Each will only cover the respective section. The first exam contains an in-class portion and an out-of-class portion (i.e. an essay). The in-class portion will be a series of multiple choice, matching and short answer questions. This will be completed in class.
The out-of-class portion will consist of a 500 word essay due at the beginning of the next class. This will be a written response to one of three questions which will require analysis and thought regarding the material covered in the proceeding sections. The final exam will consist of multiple choice, matching, identification, short answer questions. There are no make-ups for missed exams for any reason except an excused absence.
Over the course of the class you will be required to write various papers. This is a writing intensive course. Failure to turn in any of the assigned essays will result in an F for your final grade. The details of each essay will be provided with the essay. In general, papers must contain a thesis, supporting paragraphs, a conclusion, and be formatted, documented and presented in MLA 2009 format. Failure to follow these and the MLA instructions regarding format will lower your grade. It is important that you pay attention to details and can follow instructions. The papers not only test your writings and thinking, but also your ability to follow detailed instructions. Before handing in certain essays you must submit them to SmartThinking through Blackboard. They will give you advice on how to improve your paper. Use this advice to improve your paper before you turn it in. Using SmartThinking is required for your certain papers. Your paper must also cite academic sources. Searching Google for supporting material will not be acceptable. You will have to use the library’s resources. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due! My experience is those who try this tend to score poorly. You will be required to hand in a printed and stapled version and submit the essay via SafeAssign anti-plagiarism software on Blackboard. Failure to do both will receive a zero grade for the essay. At the top of each essay, with your name, include a total word count.
When in class, you are expected to participate. At times this may mean simply paying attention to the lecture. During discussions you should feel comfortable answering questions or giving your opinion if appropriate. Using your phone or computer to chat, play games, or otherwise ignoring the class will be counted as if you are not participating. It can also result in a non-attendance notation. While it is legitimate to have your computer open to take notes, anyone caught abusing this privilege by playing games or viewing social networking websites, or otherwise ignoring the class will lose the right to use the computer to take notes. Laptop use is a luxury, not a necessity. Be mindful of this privilege. Lastly, participation counts towards your final grade and can make the difference between receiving one letter grade or another.
Understanding the material for the class requires attending class, thus it is mandatory. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. If you miss more than two classes without an excuse, you will begin to incur a penalty. For each additional class after the initial three is 2 points off your final grade. Attendance also includes arriving on time and being settled before the class begins. Late attendance will be noted and every two late class entries equal an absence. If you do arrive late, you must see the instructor to have your late attendance noted or it will be considered an absence. Any students who have more than four unexcused absences are subject to Administrative Withdrawal (AW) at the discretion of the instructor. You are responsible for the notes and material covered in classes that you miss, excused or unexcused. Do not ask the instructor for any class notes.
Excused absences include medically documented absences, those that result from the death of an immediate family member (you must show proof such as a copy of the death certificate, program from the funeral, etc.), military duty, court-mandated appearances, or religious holidays. Note: if the absence is because of military duty, court-mandated appearances, or a religious holiday, you must inform the instructor before the absence and not after. Also, if for some reason you will miss class for an extended period of time for a reason not covered above, it is still better to inform the instructor before missing the classes and there may be some flexibility regarding the penalty. However, coming to the instructor after the absence will not result in any flexibility.
If class is canceled for any reason, the schedule will continue with the next class. This means anything due on the day class was canceled will be due the next day of class. Similarly, if an exam is scheduled and class is canceled, be prepared to take the exam during the next class.
Assignment and Grading Summary
10 Quizzes……………………………… 200
Out-of-Class Essay……………. 50
Final Exam…………………………….. 300
Essay #1: Introduction Essay………. 25
Essay #2: Review Essay…………….. 50
Essay #3: Topic Essay……………… 200
Essay #4: Summary Essay………….. 25
Final Grade = Total/10
90-100 = A
80-89 = B
70-79 = C
In order to ensure that each student’s work is graded in accordance with standards which apply to the entire class, a grading rubric will detail the assignment’s grade. If you have a question regarding a grade, you must meet with the instructor within two weeks after the work in question is graded. No exceptions will be made to this policy. If the exam or assignment is re-scored, the entire exam or project will be graded again. This means that your score may increase or decrease.
In this course you are expected to do your own work original to this class, and always to cite the work of others. Plagiarism is intellectual stealing—not giving credit where credit is due. Plagiarized papers (in whole or part) could cause you to receive an “F” in this course and certainly to receive an zero on the paper. Plagiarism is an academic violation defined in the TCC Student Code of Conduct “includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.” Acts of dishonesty (e.g., cheating, plagiarism, furnishing false information) will result in a paper and/or course grade of F. (TCC Student Code of Conduct: http://www.tcc.fl.edu/about_tcc/student_affairs/departments/campus_life/student_judicial_affairs/student_code_of_conduct)
Your paper will be considered plagiarized in part or entirely if you do any of the following:
- Submit a paper written by someone else.
- Submit a paper in which you “cut and paste” the exact words of a source and you do not put those words within quotation marks, use footnotes or in-text citations, and list that source in your bibliography/work cited.
- Submit a paper in which you use the ideas, metaphors, or reasoning style of another, but do not cite that source and include that source in your list of references. Remember: If you merely paraphrase what another has written, even though you’ve converted the ideas “into your own words”—it is still plagiarism if you do not cite the source of your ideas.
- Submit a paper that contains all or part of a paper you wrote for a different class.
Students understand and agree that by taking this course they will be required to submit their writing assignments to SafeAssign on Blackboard for plagiarism analysis.
Course Web Site
This course has been designated “WA” (“Web Assisted”) in the schedule of classes, and the “WA” designation means “Some use of computer online technology required.” In this regard a course web site has been established for students in this class. The purpose of the web site is to allow students access to important course materials (syllabus, writing assignment, study guides, presentation assistants, images, grades, etc.). The materials are intended as supplemental to the classroom experience; they should not, in other words, be viewed as substitutes for in-class presentations. Students will submit their writing assignments via the course web site, and students may also utilize the course web site to communicate with one another by means of the “Discussion Boards,” which can be found by clicking on the tab labeled “Communication.” Through the Discussion Boards students can introduce themselves to one another, ask questions about the material covered in class, and ask questions about the course writing assignment (be careful, though, not to copy the answers of another student).
You may find the course web site by going to the TCC homepage at http://www.tcc.fl.edu/, clicking on “Online Access,” clicking on “Blackboard Login.” After logging in with your username and password, the next screen should display the name of the course in which you are enrolled.
Simply click on the name of the course in which you are enrolled. The left side of the next screen will present several tabs. Find a copy of the course syllabus under the tab labeled “Syllabus.” Find a copy of the writing assignment under the tab labeled “Assignments.” Find copies of study guides and presentation assistants under the tab labeled “Course Materials.” Find course grades under the tab labeled “Student Tools’ (Click “My Grades” option). When students check their grades, the numbers that appear at the far right of the screen are the averages of the class as a whole on particular exams or assignments, not personal averages. If you have any problems accessing the course web site, call TCC’s Information Technology at 850-201- 8535.
TCC Disability Assistance
Tallahassee Community College is committed to creating an accessible environment where individuals are viewed on the basis of their ability, not their disability. TCC will diligently pursue making all programs, services and facilities accessible to and usable by all qualified students with disabilities. The college will assure educational access by providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations, while maintaining the academic standards and integrity of the institution. Although TCC is responsible for notifying students, faculty, and staff of services available, students with disabilities are responsible for requesting services. If you need assistance under TCC disability services, please inform the instructor. For more information see the TCC Disability Support Services website:
As the semester closes, students frequently ask for opportunities to earn extra credit to help improve their grades. Of course the best way to get a good grade is to do all the reading, attend class, study and do well on the Exams. Nevertheless, there will be an opportunity given for extra credit. Extra Credit can be earned by giving an in-class presentation. A portion of the second to last class is reserved for class presentations. If you wish you can boost your total points by twenty (20), the equivalent of one quiz, by giving a five minute class presentation about any subject relevant to world religions. Frequently students choose to present on the same subject they are writing their papers about. This presentation must occupy the entire five minutes and should not exceed five minutes and thirty seconds minutes. Presentation should also make judicial use of PowerPoint or other multimedia. The number of points awarded will be determined on factors such as topic organization, staying within time limit, presentation content quality, and demeanor. The number of presentation slots is limited. A signup sheet will be offered near the end of the term. All students can present and earn extra credit regardless of any perceived need. If you sign up for a presentation and then do not deliver one on the day assigned, there may be a penalty as your allocation denied the opportunity for another student to present. Only sign up if you plan to present. If you chose to back out, you must do so before the day of the presentation.
Syllabus Change Policy
This syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change. Most changes will be regarding the additional course readings, currently marked TBD. Please check occasionally to make sure you have the latest version of the syllabus. Each change will result is an increase in the version number on the front page and the running page header. You are responsible to make sure you have the most recent version of the syllabus.
Week 4 (1/31/2012): Jainism & Buddhism
Reading: Chapters 5 & 6
Quiz #3 on Jainism becomes Available
Week 5 (2/7/2012): Buddhism & Violence*
Reading: Introduction to Buddhist Warfare, edited by Jerryson & Juergensmyer (PDF)
Essay #2 Due
Quiz #4 on Buddhism becomes Available
Week 6 (2/14/2012): Chinese Religious Traditions & Exam Review
Reading: Chapter 8 & 9
Essay #3 Distributed
Quiz #5 on Chinese Religious Traditions and Shintoism becomes Available
Week 7 (2/23/2012): Exam & Discussion of Monotheistic Religions*
Reading: Chapter 10
Quiz #6 on Zoroastrianism becomes Available
Week 8 (2/28/2012): Judaism
Reading: Chapter 11
Exam Essay Due
Week 9 (3/13/2012) Israeli & Palestinian Conflict*
Reading: a reading may be assigned.
Quiz #7 on Judaism becomes Available
Week 11 (3/27/2012): Christian Terrorism?* & Islam
Reading: “Is Breivik a Christian Terrorist?” by Juergensmeyer (PDF)
Essay #3 Due
Quiz #8 on Christianity becomes Available
Week 12 (4/3/2012): Islam
Reading: Chapter 13
Week 14 (4/17/2012): Presentations and Exam Review
Essay #4 Due
No Blackboard Quiz this Weekend
Final Exam: Tuesday, April 24, 8:00-10:00 PM, EN 247
* Indicate classes where a significant portion of the class will be devoted to discussion of the specified topic.