Introduction to Comparative Religion
The ACC catalogue describes this course as "A study of religious
consciousness and the major religions of the world including Hinduism,
Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and
There are no course prerequisites for
Introduction to Comparative Religion. A passing score or
the equivalent on the reading portion of the TASP is required.
Please note that you must complete the online
prior to beginning work on this course.
Fisher, Mary Pat. Living Religions, 6th edition (ISBN
The New Penguin Handbook of Living Religions, 2nd edition (ISBN
There will be additional reading assignments linked to the course
This is an online course, so internet access, including an email account, is
required. All written work and other course business will take place by means of
email and the web pages for these sections. (To find the main page for your
section, go back to the top of this page and click on your
section number.) The major form of individual assessment will be writing
assignments (essays) and quizzes; there will be two exams. I will also use online forms to
gather information about your progress in the coursework.
Religion has been and continues to be one of the principal forces that have
shaped human societies and history. For this reason, a basic understanding of
the major religions of the world affords both a deeper appreciation of other
cultures and traditions and a richer understanding of ourselves.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of the central beliefs and
concepts of major living religious traditions of the world, including
Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
- Students will demonstrate familiarity with the structure and ritual
life of religious communities, including significant holidays and
- Students will demonstrate a basic grasp of the methodology of the
study of religion.
Coursework includes reading assignments, online discussion, quizzes, and
essays. Review the Coursework Guide
for a more detailed discussion of the coursework.
Your grade for this course will be based on written work demonstrating the pursuit of
the goals of the course. There are two types of written assignments: (1)
online quizzes on the reading assignments and (2)
essays on religious events.
The final grade is determined by the grades on these four
elements, weighted according to the following chart:
|Two Descriptive Essays
Please review the
Evaluation System for a detailed exposition of my approach to
evaluation. You will find additional guidelines for each assignment in the
online classroom. You may hand in assignments earlier than the due date,
but assignments must follow the stated sequence. (For instance,
you may not take exam 2 before exam 1, etc.)
I favor an informal and open
atmosphere in my classes, but I expect a level of civility conducive to inquiry.
Consequently, we will adopt some basic conventions of respect and responsibility.
Everyone must respect the views of others. "Respect" does not mean "agree
with"; rather, it means that everyone gets a fair hearing. However, I also
expect people to take responsibility for their contributions to discussion. Opinions
offered in all forms of class discussion (including email discussion!) should be informed,
thoughtful, and grounded; hence, all views will be subject to closer inspection and
questioning (including my own).
Security and Privacy
The online classroom is a secure area, and you must follow some basic policies
in order to help preserve security and to protect the privacy of your
- Do not share the password to the classroom or links to URLs inside the
- You may occasionally see the email addresses of classmates. You may use
these email addresses only for course-related communication,
unless the recipient specifically gives you permission for
non-course-related communication. Report violations of this policy to me
- I will return your assignments, including your grades,
by email. If you are concerned about the privacy
of your grades, you may want to discuss the matter with me.
- I do not publicize student email addresses.
Nevertheless, your email address may be seen by classmates and ACC officials
in the normal conduct of the class and other ACC business.
By submitting a First Assignment, you
acknowledge and agree to abide by these policies and
procedures. I will pursue all allegations of abuse of the website, email addresses,
course materials, and other material posted in conjunction with this course.
Violation of these security policies constitute grounds for disciplinary action
(which will include at least a failing grade in the course), and may
involve criminal or civil penalties as well.
Please note that, except as specified above, I do not send student
identification information (such as student ID
numbers, etc.) by email.
Announcements and Deadlines
I hold you responsible for information and
announcements sent by email or posted on the web pages for your
class. This policy
applies specifically to course assignments and deadlines, including essay due dates.
Unless otherwise stipulated, all course materials (including readings, handouts, essay
topics, and other assignments) will be posted on the web site for your class.
I expect all work to be turned in by the deadlines, and I
do not accept late work except by prior arrangement or for compelling reasons.
"Prior" means before the due date and time. "Compelling
reasons" means circumstances beyond your control that were also
specific deadlines and other announcements, check the main page for
your course (frequently). If I issue a due date without a specific
time, you should have the assignment in before midnight.
Plagiarism involves passing off someone
else's work as if it were your own. The term "plagiarism" does
not imply intent: one may commit plagiarism with
or without an intention of passing off someone else's work
as your own. If someone else's words or
sequence of ideas appears in your writing without proper
documentation, then you have engaged in plagiarism irrespective of
whether you meant to do so.
If you are unclear about which uses of
material are and are not permissible, you should familiarize yourself with
the notion of plagiarism. A good start is the guide, "Documentation
and Plagiarism," published by ACC's Library Services.
Reference librarians are also a valuable source of help. If you have
further questions, you are welcome to
Students will receive no credit
for any assignment in which there is
evidence of plagiarism, and such assignments may not be resubmitted
for additional credit. Students who plagiarize or engage in other forms of
academic dishonesty may also be subject to disciplinary action by the
College. (See the "Academic Dishonesty" section below.)
I do not "automatically" withdraw
students. If you
intend to drop this course you must do the paperwork yourself. Anyone who remains
enrolled in the course will receive a performance grade derived according to the criteria
for work and grading set forth in the syllabus. For the drop date (and other important
college dates), refer to ACC's
I give incompletes only in extenuating
circumstances, which must be documented. If you find that you need to request an
incomplete, you must arrange a completion plan with me in advance and
document that plan on an incomplete form. I will make exceptions to this condition only
for compelling reasons, as defined above. Please note that I do not grant
"routine" incompletes. I will award a performance grade derived according to the
criteria for work and grading stipulated in the syllabus to everyone enrolled, based on
whatever work I have received and recorded during the semester.
In accordance with ACC
policy, final grades will not be posted, nor do I notify students of final course
grades by telephone or email. If you have questions regarding the computation of your
grade, etc., see the
Evaluation System or
Respect my rights! Most of
the materials and the structure of this course are my work and
protected by copyright law. You may make printouts of course materials for
your own use. Reproduction of course materials (including email
communications) for public distribution or commercial use violates
copyright law. For further details on ACC's policy regarding Copyright
and course materials, see the "Copyright
Policy Notice" found in the
Students have the right to believe whatever they happen to believe and, within
the appropriate constraints that follow from the organization of a course and
class interactions, to express those beliefs. Grades will never be based on the
beliefs that a student maintains, but only on the quality of the philosophical
work performed by the student in conjunction with the course.
According to ACC's Student
Discipline Policy, Section C,
"Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their own
thought, research or self-expression. For purposes of these regulations,
academic work is defined as, but not limited to exams and quizzes, whether taken
electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; papers;
classroom presentations; and homework.
Cases of scholastic dishonesty will be pursued according to the procedure set
forth in the Student Handbook, “Student
Discipline Policy,” Section J,
“Academic Dishonesty Process."
"When students borrow ideas, wording or organization from another source, they
shall reference that information in an appropriate manner."
Office of Students with Disabilities
"The Office for Students with
Disabilities (OSD) assists students with documented disabilities to access
reasonable accommodations. To request ACC accommodations, students must submit
appropriate diagnostic documentation to the OSD supervisor at their primary
campus. Students attending multiple campuses must meet with the OSD supervisor
at each campus where accommodations are needed. Accommodations must be requested
before each semester they are needed. NOTE: Students are urged to apply for
accommodations at least three weeks before the star t of each term." (Student Handbook,
Resources, "Services for Students with Disabilities")
This is a broad outline of the major topics we will cover in the
- Introduction to the Study of Religion
- Eastern Religious Traditions
- Western Religious Traditions
- Recent Religious Movements
- Conclusion: Contemporary Religious Experience
The Course Calendar available in the
online classroom (Blackboard) includes a complete outline for the course. Check
the Course Calendar frequently for due dates,
announcements, and important links.
Proceed to the
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This page was last updated
03/01/2009 07:09:36 PM by