It will be important to your grade that you do the week’s reading of both texts and websites before trying to make Discussion postings or write the Reading Comprehension essay.
When a website is referenced in this syllabus for a given week’s readings the link will be found in the Content area. This is done to minimize broken links.
Discussions are our chance to really “do philosophy” by entering into a dialogue with each other, and will help us consider the applications of religions to people’s lives.
There will be two Discussions each week, and all posts to the two must be completed by midnight Sunday, except in Week 8 which ends on Saturday. For full credit, you need to make your initial post answering the question in each discussion between Monday and Thursday, and you must come to each discussion more than once in the week. We are trying to create a conversation or dialogue among ourselves, and your participation is vital.
Your initial post and your response posts should genuinely discuss the topic at hand; don’t be brief. In your initial post, you need to refer to material in each of the readings on which the topic is based. Don’t try to post by merely reading others’ posts; do your own work.
You need not comment on every posting by other students, but you should comment on at least three postings of others; your comments may be constructive or critical (analytical) as appropriate. In any post, if you use material from any other source, you need to make it clear that you are doing so by giving a reference and by using quotation marks if you are directly quoting. Discussions 1 and 16 only require an initial post, and replying to other students is optional in these two. Please see Grading Criteria at the end of the syllabus.
Each week there may be other optional discussion topics, for us to explore an idea or have some fun, but these are not for credit.
Reading Comprehension Essays
Reading Comprehension Essays have two purposes: they will challenge you to consider philosophical ideas and issues that face religions as they develop, and they will give you an opportunity to practice college-level writing skills.
There will be Reading Comprehension Essays in weeks 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. Use the course Dropbox to submit your essay. (Please do not send assignments by email unless you are unable to log in to the course.) Essays are due by midnight Sunday.
These essays are your chance to show you understand the material. In preparing to write your essay, first read the assigned texts carefully, and more than once, thinking about the relationship between the question and the material. When you write your draft, it is a good idea to: use relevant quotations from the text with page numbers; provide your brief interpretation or critique of those quotations; and make sure that you are answering the question completely. Finally, put it together in well-thought-out paragraphs, with a total length of 300 to 500 words.
Before you submit your essay, read it over carefully to see that you have written in complete sentences, following the rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling. If you quote our text, you need only use quotation marks and put the page number in parentheses following the quote. If you quote from any other source, be sure to give full bibliographic information; if you need guidance on citations, visit the CC Writing Center online. Please see Grading Criteria at the end of the syllabus.
Our Midterm and Final exams will push you to learn the terms and concepts of the religions in some detail; most of these are not covered in the Discussions and Essays.
There are two proctored exams for the course, a Midterm and a Final, worth 150 points each. Please see the Proctor Policy below. The tests will consist of various kinds of objective items (multiple choice, matching, true/false).
The Content area of the course has study guides to help you prepare. It will be important for you study for the exams weekly, rather than waiting until the week of the test. In the third and sixth weeks, I will post a breakdown of the test questions in the Content area. The exams will be available in the Quizzes area of the course.
Please Note: With the ease of use of the Internet, there is a strong temptation to plagiarize. Plagiarism may be defined as using another’s phrase, sentence, or paragraph without quotation marks; using another’s ideas or structure without properly identifying the source or using the work of someone else and submitting it as one’s own. For more information, please see the Plagiarism Tutorial in the Content area. The Course Policies section below shows how cases of plagiarism will be handled.