Syllabus

Studies in World Religions

1151-REL3308VC1151-19583

    General Information

    Professor Information

    Professor Photo
    Erin Weston
    (305) 348-1329
    DM 322B (MMC)
    (305) 348-1879
    By Appointment
    Please use Blackboard course messages

    Course Description And Purpose

    “Studies in World Religions” is a survey of the major religious traditions of the world. The course is designed to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of these traditions, and to enable students to think sensitively and critically about the religious world. This course will cover general concepts in: the Academic Study of Religion, Indigenous Religious Practices, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Alternative Paths, and Religion and the Modern World. In an effort to create a multifaceted understanding of the myriad ways in which the sacred is expressed, we will be viewing both orthodox and various popular forms of religious expression.

    Course Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • Identify the essential characteristics that distinguish the major religious traditions.
    • Describe the basic components of each major religious tradition, such as its myths, rituals, doctrines, ethics, and artistic expressions.
    • Describe religious conflicts and trends in the modern world.
    • Express ideas and opinions clearly in writing as well as orally.

    Global Learning Objectives

    Students will be able to:

    • Compare and contrast religious societies and cultures in the local, national and/ or international context.
    • Situate these societies and cultures within contemporary and historical perspective.
    • Critically engage the issue of religious diversity in national and/ or international context.

    Important Information

    Policies

    Please review the FIU's Policies webpage. The policies webpage contains essential information regarding guidelines relevant to all courses at FIU, as well as additional information about acceptable netiquette for online courses.

    Technical Requirements & Skills

    One of the greatest barriers to taking an online course is a lack of basic computer literacy. By computer literacy we mean being able to manage and organize computer files efficiently, and learning to use your computer's operating system and software quickly and easily. Keep in mind that this is not a computer literacy course; but students enrolled in online courses are expected to have moderate proficiency using a computer. Please go to the "What's Required" webpage to find out more information on this subject.

    Please visit our Technical Requirements webpage for additional information.

    Accessibility And Accommodation

    Please visit our ADA Compliance webpage for information about accessibility involving the tools used in this course.

    Please visit Blackboard's Commitment Accessibility webpage for more information. 

    For additional assistance please contact FIU's Disability Resource Center.

    Course Prerequisites

    There are no prerequisites for this course.

    Textbook

    Textbook Image
    Experiencing the World's Religions 
    Michael Molloy
    McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 11/14/2012
    ISBN-10: 0078038278
    ISBN-13: 9780078038273
    Book Info. You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.
    Additional Notes

    Important Note: To successfully view the online videos in this class, you will need a high-speed Internet connection. If you only have dial-up Internet, you will need to visit one of the FIU computer labs to download and watch the videos.

    Expectations Of This Course

    This is an online course, meaning that most of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same as for a traditional course; in fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills that can make them more demanding for some students.

    In addition to the completion of writing assignments and exams, the primary requirement for successful completion of this course will be an open mind. Students are expected to exhibit respect to all religious traditions and peoples at all times. Thus, disrespectful or derisive commentary will not be tolerated in this course. Religion is, after all, a very personal and sensitive subject for many.

    On the other hand, class participants can expect academic freedom to express their views. Although religion can be personal, this is an academic course taken for college credit and thus students are expected to examine the topics rigorously. Religion shall not be exempt from the scrutiny placed on any and all academic subjects.

    Students will be responsible for all materials covered in class. Exams may include any and all of the aforementioned materials.

    Students are expected to:

    • Review the how to get started information located in the course content
    • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self introduction in the appropriate discussion forum
    • Take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with Blackboard
    • Interact online with instructor/s and peers
    • Review and follow the course calendar
    • Log in to the course at least 5 times per week
    • Respond to discussion boards, blogs and journal postings by the deadline.
    • Respond to [messages] within 3 days or sooner.
    • Submit assignments by the corresponding deadline

    The instructor will:

    • Log in to the course 4 times per week
    • Respond to blogs and journal postings within 1 week.
    • Respond to [emails/messages] within 3 days or sooner.
    • Grade assignments within 2 weeks of the assignment deadline.

    Course Detail

    Course Communication

    Communication in this course will take place via Messages.

    Messages is a private and secure text-based communication system which occurs within a course among its Course members. Users must log on to Blackboard to send, receive, or read messages. The Messages tool is located on the Course Menu, on the left side of the course webpage. It is recommended that students check their messages routinely to ensure up-to-date communication. 

    This is the best method to communicate with your instructor privately.

    Visit our Writing Resources webpage for more information on professional writing and technical communication skills.

    Introduce Yourself Video Blog

    Blogs are an open communications tool for students to share their thoughts. Here you can post text, images, links and attachments, open for comments.

    1. This course has 1 assignment untilizing the Video Blog tool. Within the lesson 1 folder you will find information on how to upload a video to YouTube and how to upload a video through Video Everywhere into the Introduce Yourself blog.  Students will upload all course videos to their personal YouTube channel and then into the assignment's particular blog by the due date noted in the Blogs portion of this syllabus:
    2. Blogs can be found in the Bog portion of the course menu or within the content area of the course.

    Weekly Blogs

    Blogs are an open communications tool for students to share their thoughts. Here you can post text, images, links and attachments, open for comments.

    There will be thirteen blog topics. The topics will be posted in "Blog Topics" folder in the Course Content. Students must post well thought-out comments based on the required work throughout the semester. Participation is required and represents 11% of your final grade. Both the quantity and the quality of your posts will contribute to your grade. All students are required to participate in all the eight topics (at least 200 words). Blogs must be posted during the period they are assigned and are due by noon on the Monday after the end of the lesson.

    Once you have composed your original posting, take some time to carefully review other postings within your discussion group. Pick two that are most interesting to you and provide meaningful, detailed, and constructive feedback.

    Keep in mind that your discussion forum postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post

    Quizzes

    A weekly time-restricted, online quiz will be given on each religious tradition. You can take each quiz two times, and the higher of the two attempts will be recorded. Even if you do well on the first attempt, it is advisable to use both attempts. You will not receive the same quiz every time; the computer randomly chooses the questions from a quiz database. The objective questions on the Exam 1 and Exam 2 will be taken directly from this database. Thus, the more times you take the quiz, the more questions you will receive and the better prepared you will be for the exams.

    For the quizzes, you will have 30 minutes to complete 15 questions. Each quiz will be open from Tuesday of the assigned week to Monday of the following week, and you can take it on any of those days at any time.

    Important Policy on Quiz Resets: Quiz resets will not be granted. You will receive two attempts to complete each quiz, if you are logged offline or you have technical failure while attempting the quiz, then you still have the second attempt to complete the quiz.  Resetting quizzes after they have passed will require a serious and verifiable reason (death in the family, hospitalization, serious accident, etc.).

    If you know that you will be unable to take a quiz during a specific week, contact the instructor in advance, and the quiz may be opened so you may take it early. It is the responsibility of students to keep up with the readings and take the quizzes on time.

    In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. It is your responsibility to make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements.

    Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.

    Exams

    The Midterm Exam and the Final Exam include multiple choice, fill in the blank, and short response questions. They are both online and time-restricted examinations. They are located in the Assessments area of the course menu. Students have only one attempt to complete both exams, unlike the course quizzes. Please make note of this important difference.

    Midterm Exam will cover Basic Religions, Indigenous Religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism/Sikhism, Daoism/Confucianism, Shinto.

    Final Exam will cover Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Alternative Paths, and the Modern Search.

    In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the "Practice Quiz" from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. It is your responsibility to make sure your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements.

    Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.

    Instagram Assignment

    For this semester, students will be required to participate in an Instagram assignment.  You must submit at least three pictures or Instagram videos throughout the semester and tag these pictures/videos to the FIU Religious Department’s Instagram page @fiu_religion.  Each picture/video must be accompanied by a short comment and the hashtag #Weston1151. The picture/video must demonstrate an interaction between any religion and everyday life. Students are encouraged to interact with the content posted by their classmates and others on the fiu_religion Instagram page.  

    In order to receive credit for this assignment you must:

    • Post at least 1 picture/video by each Instagram assignment due date.  There will be 3.
    • Tag the FIU Religious Department’s Instagram page @fiu_religion
    • Accompany each picture/video with the hashtag #Weston1151
    • Accompany each picture/video with a short comment (<140 characters) about the picture and your purpose for posting it.

    Feel free to Review wiki How's "How to Use Instagram webpage."

    In order to use Instagram you will need a mobile device such as a smartphone, ipad, or tablet.  Instagram cannot be accessed on a desktop.  Students who do not have access to a mobile device can upload pictures to the class facebook page REL3308 FB Page.  Students are expected to post responsibly, adhere to copyright laws, and post images that are deemed respectful in accordance with University guidelines. 

    Group Wiki Instructions

    Students will work together in groups to present some of the most important contemporary issues that a particular religion is struggling with today and present it in a group wiki.  Religions will be determined by the group title that students sign-up for.  Groups will be divided by their chosen religion.

    Students will be able to sign up for available groups from week 1 - week 3 in the groups section of the course.  

    Students will write up short summaries (at least 250 words) of five contemporary problems, discussing why it is a problem for the religious tradition and how the religion is responding to it.  In addition to student written summaries, your wikis should also include: links to articles and websites, images, infographics, videos, or other relevant visual aids on your group pages. Please review the wiki rubric for a more complete idea of the required elements for a successful wiki page. 

    Your project is only as good as your resources. You need to make sure that you use reliable resources, especially online. There is a lot of misinformation out there! Look for official websites, government websites, academic articles, and legitimate newspaper articles

    Important:
    You will need to do research; your textbook and required readings will not have enough information about the topic. You will need to consult a minimum of three outside sources and one must be a book reference. You will also need notes in your paper, and a Bibliography/Works Cited page in MLA style.

    Do not use Wikipedia as an internet source. You may use internet sources, but use only academic sources from the internet. (Academic sources list individual authors, name their sources, and have institutional affiliations.) Points will be deducted for infractions of these rules. 

    The blackboard wiki tool allows the professor the ability to see each students contributions to the group wiki.  Group members are encouraged to equally contribute content to the wiki, as group participation will be factored into your final grade.

    Furthermore, students will have the abiltiy to evaluate their group members and thier own contirbutions to the final project untilizing a iPeer evaluation tool.  This group evaluation assignment is worth 50% of the wiki total grade and must be completed by the wiki due date.  Students will be able to find the iPeer link in the week 15 course content area.

    Ipeer Group Evaluation Tool

    iPeer is a web-based software application that allows students to complete evaluations of their peers. The link granting access to this tool will be available in the Week 15 content folder. Through this evaluation students will be asked a set of questions examining the quality of each group member's contributions to the particular group assignment.  Students ratings will be anonymous and comments will be required of the evaluator to justify their rating. This is a mandatory assignment that is worth 5.5% of your final grade and is due at the end of Week 15.

    Contemporary Applied Analysis Term Paper

    There will be one essay assigned throughout the semester, which is aimed at assisting in the comprehension and synthesis of the concepts presented throughout the course. This assignment is specifically related to your Global Learning engagement outcome that you will demonstrate an ability to engage critically with diverse forms of religion in local, regional, national and international contexts.

    For your research paper, you will choose a specific religious tradition that we have studied in class and apply it to a contemporary moral or philosophical issue. For example, a paper may explore the response of Theravada Buddhism to prostitution in Thailand. Another example may be to explore abortion through the lens of Japanese Shinto.  Other possibilities include: Brahmanic Hindu perspectives on poverty, Evangelical Christian perspectives on in vitro fertilization (IVF), Native Hawaiian perspectives on genetically modified food.  You may choose to use the religion that you researched for your WIKI, or you may choose another. You must do research on a specific religious group, i.e. Southern Baptists not “Christianity.” You will need to provide a well-thought out argumentative essay where you support your analyses. You must utilize at least three academic sources.

    This essay will be at least 1500-2000 words long (6 pages double-spaced) and will be worth 20% of your grade. This is a formal academic essay and students must cite their sources. MLA is the preferred citation style in Religious Studies. 

    Submission: Students must submit their essays to Turnitin.com via Blackboard's Assignment Dropbox

    This assignment requires three separate submissions in order to receive full credit for this assignment.

    1. The first requires you to submit your complete paper to the “Initial Research Paper Submission” in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox so that your paper can be sent your classmates for Review.  It is imperative that you submit this assignment on-time, since if you do not you will be unable to complete the second portion of this three part assignment.
    2. In the second portion of this assignment you must access the “Research Paper Peer-Review” link in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox area of the course.  You will be directed to review three of your classmate’s papers.  In order to receive full credit for this portion of the activity you must answer all questions presented to you for each paper.
    3. Lastly, you will evaluate your reviewed paper and make any necessary edits to it.  You will then submit your final version to the “Research Paper Final Submission” link in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox area of the course.

    Late Papers: Late papers are only accepted under extreme and verifiable conditions. 

    Students are responsible for reading their blackboard messages and all announcements posted by the instructor. The instructor also reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus by means of announcements or messages with ample time allowed for students to respond and adjust appropriately.

    Plagiarism: Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism, or attempting to pass off another's work as your own, falls into three different categories:

    1. A written work that is entirely stolen from another source;
    2. Using quotations from another source without properly citing them; and
    3. Paraphrasing from another source without proper citations.

    Students are expected to understand the definition of plagiarism. See the University Code of Academic Integrity at http://www.fiu.edu/~oabp/misconductweb/2codeofacainteg.htm if you need further clarification. Offenders will receive a grade of F for the plagiarized assignment, and possibly the course.

    Important:
    You will need to do research; your textbook and required readings will not have enough information about the topic. You will need to consult a minimum of three outside sources and one must be a book reference. You will also need notes in your paper, and a Bibliography/Works Cited page in MLA style. 

    Do not use Wikipedia as an internet source. You may use internet sources, but use only academic sources from the internet. (Academic sources list individual authors, name their sources, and have institutional affiliations.) Points will be deducted for infractions of these rules.

    If you have questions regarding how to cite or what to cite, ask me BEFORE you submit your essay. If you turn in your paper and you "accidentally" plagiarize parts of your essay, you will fail the assignment and possibly the course. Better safe than sorry! To reiterate, ask me before the due date if you are unsure about how to cite your sources.

    **Students may not submit work from a previous semester or from another class for this assignment or any other assignment in this course. It will be flagged for plagiarism by Turnitin.

    Review the detailed Turnitin Instructions on how to submit your assignments and how to review the Grademark comments (feedback) from your professor.

    Grading

    Course Requirements # of Items Weight
    Quizzes  12 15%
    Introduce Yourself Video Blog 1 2%
    Weekly Blog 13 11%
    Group Wiki Assignment (5.5% Wiki content, 5.5% Ipeer Group Participation) 1 11%
    Instagram Assignment 3 5%
    Midterm Exam  1 18%
    Research Paper (5% Peer-Review; 15% Final Submission) 3 20%

    Final Exam

    1 18%
    Total 33 100%
    Letter Range Letter Range Letter Range
    A Above 93 B- 81 - 83 D+ 67 - 70
    A- 91 - 92 C+ 77 - 80 D 64 - 66
    B+ 87 - 90 C 74 - 76 D- 61 - 63
    B 84 - 86 C- 71 - 73 F < 61

    Course Calendar

    Weekly Schedule

    All assessments and assignments in this course are conducted fully online and, unless otherwise noted in your syllabus, are due on the Monday of a given week at noon.

    Date Tasks Due Date

    Week 1
    January 12 - January 19

    Understanding Religion

    Read

    • Course Introduction
    • Review and fully familiarize yourself with the course and site. Print and read the course syllabus and course calendar.

    Powerpoints

    • Chapter 1 – Understanding Religion

    Videos

    1. Introduction to Religious Studies

    Due

    1. Student Introduction Video Blog
    2. Quiz 1
    3. Weekly Blog
    January
    26th

    Week 2
    January 19 - January 26

    Indigenous Religions

    PowerPoint

    • Indigenous Religions

    Read

    • Chapter 2 – Indigenous Religions

    Videos

    1. The Men of the Fifth World (Full Documentary)

    Due

    1. Quiz 2
    2. Weekly Blog
    January
    26th

    Week 3
    January 26 - February 2

    Hinduism

    PowerPoint

    • Hinduism

    Read

    • Chapter 3 – Hinduism

    Videos

    1. Religions of the World: Hinduism (1998 Film)
    2. Indus Valley Civilization: Crash Course World History #2

    Due

    1. Quiz 3 
    2. Weekly Blog
    February
    2nd

    Week 4
    February 2 - February 9

    Buddhism

    PowerPoint

    • Buddhism

    Read

    • Chapter 4 - Buddhism

    Videos

    1. The Life of Buddha (BBC Documentary) + Eng Sub (HQ)
    2. Buddha and Ashoka: Crash Course World History #6

    Due

    1. Quiz 4
    2. Weekly Blog
    February
    9th

    Week 5
    February 9 - February 16

    Jainism & Sikhism

    PowerPoint

    • Jainism & Sikhism

    Read

    • Chapter 5 – Jainism & Sikhism

    Videos

    1. The Last Life of Nirmala : Jainism
    2. 88 Min - BBC Documentary (1997) abt Sikhs - Who are the Sikhs? Singh, Kaur, Khalsa, 1984, Punjab

    Due

    1. Quiz 5 - Due: Monday, February 16th by 11:59 pm
    2. Weekly Blog
    3. Instagram Post
    February
    16th

    Week 6
    February 16 - February 23

    Daoism & Confucianism

    PowerPoint

    • Daoism & Confucianism

    Read

    • Chapter 6 – Daoism & Confucianism

    Videos

    1. ‎2,000 Years of Chinese History! The Mandate of Heaven and Confucius: World History #7

    Due

    1. Quiz 6
    2. Weekly Blog
    February
    23rd

    Week 7
    February 23 - March 2

    Shinto

    PowerPoint

    • Shinto

    Read

    • Chapter 7 – Shinto

    Videos

    1. Religion's of the world Shinto pt 1 - 4

    Due

    1. Quiz 7
    2. Weekly Blog
    3. Research Paper Initial Submission
    March
    2nd

    Week 8
    March 2 - March 9 

    Due

    1. Midterm Exam
    2. Research Paper Peer Review
    March
    9th

    Week 9
    March 9 - March 16

    Spring Break

    Due

    1. Research Paper Peer Review
    March
    16th

    Week 10
    March 16 - March 23

    Judaism

    PowerPoint

    • Judaism

    Read

    • Chapter 8 – Judaism

    Videos

    • Judaism Part 1 - 5
    • Judaism: Inside the Torah - National Geographic

    Due

    1. Quiz 8
    2. Weekly Blog
    3. Instagram Post
    March
    23rd

    Week 11
    March 23 - March 30

    Christianity

    PowerPoint

    • Christianity

    Read

    • Chapter 9 – Christianity Part 1

    Videos

    1. Christianity from Judaism to Constantine: Crash Course World History #11
    2. Religions of the World: Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity

    Due

    1. Weekly Blog
    2. Research Paper Due: Monday, March 30th by 11:59pm
    March
    30th

    Week 12
    March 30 - April 6

    Christianity

    PowerPoint

    • Christianity Part 2

    Read

    • Chapter 9 – Christianity Part 2

    Videos

    1. Christianity from Judaism to Constantine: Crash Course World History #11
    2. Religions of the World: Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity

    Due

    1. Quiz 9
    2. Weekly Blog
    April
    6th

    Week 13
    April 6 - April 13

    Islam

    PowerPoint

    • Islam

    Read

    • Chapter 10 – Islam

    Videos

    1. Religions of the World Islam pt 1

    Due

    1. Quiz 10
    2. Weekly Blog
    April
    13th

    Week 14
    April 13 - April 20

    Alternative Paths

    PowerPoint

    • Alternative Paths

    Read

    • Chapter 11 — Alternative Paths

    Videos

    1. National Geographic Witchcraft Myths and Legends 1 of 2 Witchcraft

    Due

    1. Quiz 11
    2. Weekly Blog
    April
    20th

    Week 15
    April 20 - April 27

    The Modern Search

    PowerPoint

    • The Modern Search

    Read

    • Chapter 12 – The Modern Search

    Due

    1. Quiz 12 
    2. Weekly Blog
    3. Group Wiki Due
    April
    27th

    Week 16
    April 27 - May 2

    Due

    1. Final Exam: Monday, April 21, 2015 – Thursday, April 24, 2015 by 11:59 pm.
    2. Final Instagram Post
    Thursday
    April 24th