RE109 World Religions

for S2T 2013

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Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


RE 109 World Religions


S2T 2013 DLB


Blasdell, Machrina


Adjunct Faculty, Religious Studies and Philosophy


M.A., Religious Studies, Arizona State University     M.Div., Theology, Church Divinity School of the Pacific

Office Location

Incorporated in online format

Daytime Phone

913 240-1676 Central Time Zone


Semester Dates

Spring 2, March 18- May 12, 2013

Class Days

Online Course Week: Monday 12:01 am-Sunday midnight, Central Time

Class Time




Credit Hours


World Religions: A Historical Approach, Fourth Edition.  Nigosian, S.A.  2008.  Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins

ISBN13: 9780312473655
ISBN10: 0312473656

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

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Course Description:
RE 109 World Religions: An introduction to the religion of humankind from the earliest records of spiritual life to the great religions of today. The course recognizes the possibilities of dialogue among the living traditions around the world and the resources within the local community. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

I believe in the importance of interaction between students and instructor and students and students, arising out of lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet resources, videos, web sites, writings and so on. I will challenge students to know the history and geography of the world community and to be aware of movements around them.  I expect students to pay attention to maps, to the news, and to what people are doing and saying in the world as relates to historical religions.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Learners will use critical thinking skills to investigate, analyze, and compare beliefs and practices from different cultures and religions using historical, geographical and socio-cultural approaches.
  2. Learners will increase appreciation for diverse historical, cultural and geographical roots of world religions as a primary stimulus of values, beliefs, ideas and worldviews.
  3. Learners will acquire and demonstrate mastery of the terms and concepts necessary for participation in academic religious studies pursuits and dialogue.
  4. Learners will explore other value systems and evaluate their own belief system; appreciating the diversity of perspectives, testing personal value sets and inventing the possibility of dynamic intercultural religious dialogue.
  5. Learners will synthesize knowledge from multiple disciplines and backgrounds to increase appreciation for the role of deeply held beliefs and value sets in everyday processes for decision making.
Class Assessment:
1.  Personal Perspective Paper (100 Points): A 3-5 page paper exploring personal religious background and experiences is due in the first week.
2.  Weekly Reading Quizzes (25 Points):  Weekly quizzes will be given, and may be taken multiple times to improve the score.
3.  Weekly Class Discussions: (25 Points): Discussion questions will be posted in the online classroom every week.  Each student will make an original post (300 words or more) to one question each week by Thursday at midnight CT.  Students will substantively respond to two classmates (150 words for each response) each week before Sunday at midnight.
4.  Weekly Individual Projects  (20 Points):  Students will submit weekly project templates.  Each project will condense and synthesize information about specific religions from reading, lecture and outside sources.   Due in the Dropbox by Sunday midnight Central Time of each week.   
5.  Core Assessment:  (200 Points):  This assignment will represent the culmination of the course.  In this assignment, students will employ critical thinking skills to analyze historical, cultural and religious frameworks.   Students will demonstrate mastery of terms and concepts needed to explore other value systems and religious viewpoints.  This is essentially the compilation of the Weekly Individual Projects done weekly.
6.  Interdisciplinary Paper/Presentation:  (100 Points):  Students will utilize religious concepts and terms to demonstrate how religious beliefs affect everyday decisions in their chosen (or anticipated ) occupation. 
7.  Final Exam:  (100 Points) Final exam is comprehensive.  A selection of essay questions will ask students to reflect on religions considered during the term.

Occasionally, changes will be made during the term for the improvement of the course.  Students will be notified of any changes.

The following standards have been established by Dr. Steve Atkinson for evaluating the Writing Competency Test (WCT). All Park students are required to pass the WCT, so it is to the student's advantage to begin practicing these standards. 

Focus:  An "A" is awarded to a paper whose controlling idea seems not only clear but particularly thoughtful or imaginative. A "B" indicates a focus that is clear and sustained throughout but that may not be especially original. A "C" indicates satisfactory competence: the focus is clear but commonplace or conventional. "D" and "F" papers lack focus.

Development:  An "A" is awarded to a paper that, whatever its length, seems to the reader to be a full discussion. It makes use of both the material from the supplied readings and also ideas, experiences, or information supplied by the writer. All the material is smoothly integrated and persuasively supports the paper's focus. The writer seems to be a thoughtful, critical reader of the material with a genuine personal "voice." A "B" indicates that the writer has incorporated the material both appropriately in terms of content and smoothly in terms of style, and has also contributed personal ideas and experiences to the discussion. The paper's focus is clearly supported. A "C" in this category indicates an essay that makes at least some use of the supplied readings and some other material to support its focus, though the use may not always be relevant, and the sources not discussed critically. "D" and "F" papers make no use of the sources, fail to provide coherent support for the paper's focus, or whose use consists of unmarked quotations (copying from the sources word-for-word.)

Organization:  An "A" paper is not only easy to follow, its structure seems effortless because of smooth transitions and a convincing rhetorical pattern. A "B" is awarded to the paper that has a clear paragraphing and a logical sequence of topics. A "C" paper is generally easy to follow, with reasonable paragraphing, though the discussion may wander briefly. "D" and "F" papers are difficult to follow, either because the sequence of topics is not logical, because it is repetitive, or because the paragraphing is not helpful.

Mechanics:  An "A" paper reads exceptionally smoothly, and the reader notices no errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, or spelling. The "B" paper may contain an occasional problem in sentence structure or diction, but the reader is never seriously distracted. In a "C" paper, there may be enough mechanical problems to distract the reader temporarily, but it is always possible to understand what the writer means.  "D" and "F" papers have severe problems with sentence structure or word choice -- severe enough so that the meaning is difficult or impossible to understand.




Points Possible

My Points

1. Personal Perspective Paper



2. Weekly Quizzes   



2a. Weekly Quiz #1



2b. Weekly Quiz #2          25    
2c. Weekly Quiz #3       25  
2d. Weekly Quiz #4       25  
2e. Weekly Quiz #5
2f.  Weekly Quiz #6
2g. Weekly Quiz #7
2h. Weekly Quiz #8
3  Discussion Questions   



3a. Discussion Question #1



3b. Discussion Question #2



3c. Discussion Question #3



3d. Discussion Question #4



3e. Discussion Question #5
3f.  Discussion Question #6
3g. Discussion Question #7
3h. Discussion Question #8

4.  Weekly Individual Projects (WIP)



4a.  WIP #1 



4b.  WIP #2         



4c.  WIP #3



4d.  WIP #4 20     
4e.  WIP #5         20   

5.  Core Assessment


6.  Interdisciplinary Paper


7.  Final Exam



Total Points



Late Submission of Course Materials:

A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and
The first week begins the first day of the term, which ends
midnight Central Time the last Sunday of the term. Readings, activities, and
assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be
completed by Sunday midnight, Central Time, of the week, unless there is a specific due date
in Course Schedule. It is important to understand that this is not a
course where assignments can be posted at any time during the 8-
week term; there is a deadline each week for that week's
assignments. A week's work submitted during the week will receive credit, though points may be docked for missing a due date. Assignments posted after the weekly deadline
will not receive credit.

There is no extra credit in this class, so it is important to complete the work during the time frame expected.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

In this course, some people may have different opinions with which you do not agree. Be objective and respectful when responding to different points of view. Working online may make communication more difficult since you don't see each other's body language. For help with your online writing and posting please go to  The Core Rules of Netiquette.

1. Online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty, and tact. Spelling and grammar are very important in an online class. What you put into an online course reflects on your level of professionalism.                  2. It is important not to take disagreement personally.
3. Responses to different ideas and observations need to be objective. Being objective means maintaining boundaries and not making personal attacks on the ability of others or making statements that have the potential to be taken personally.
4. An important part of online learning is discussion. Differences in thinking are good because our knowledge is broadened.
5. Because we have differences, we may have conflict. The important thing is to handle conflict in a way that does not create defensiveness, which does not promote learning.

You can see more about core rules of netiquette at If you have questions about any of these policies, please contact your instructor.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 97

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95
If it is discovered that a student has plagiarized another's work, that assignment will receive no credit. If plagiarism is discovered a second time, or is discovered in the final exam, or material is discovered to have come from a "purchase an essay" website, the student may fail the course at the instructor's discretion.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2012-2013 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:3/5/2013 9:30:16 PM