REL 2000 Introduction to Religion
Instructor: Sarah McCombs
Contact information: email@example.com
Home phone #: (850) 981-9039 (weekdays 2pm-10pm)
Required text: Mary Pat Fisher. "Living Religions"
publisher: Prentice-Hall 5th or 6th edition
Course description: The student will be introduced to the world's religious traditions and the
academic study of religion. The traditions will be studied in their historical and contemporary
forms, so that the student can develop clear definitions of the terms, concepts, and ideas
associated with each religion. Among the religions to be covered are: Primal religions,
Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam,
Sikhism, and New Religious Movements.
Course objectives: To provide the student with an opportunity to:
1. Uncover as many perspectives as possible for understanding course topics.
2. Understand what different people (in different times and cultures) have thought about
3. Understand a wide variety of religious standpoints.
4. Develop an informed point of view, and express ideas clearly.
5. Improve time management skills by meeting deadlines.
Reading assignments: Each week (with exceptions—see course schedule) you will be reading 1
chapter of the book. We will proceed in order, as shown on the "Course Schedule" attachment.
Also, each week corresponds with a module under "content". You are expected to complete a
module each week. Within each module, you will find your weekly assignments, and other
headings that lead to links and attachments. Read these thoroughly, as they contain useful and
Discussion Board: The discussion board is meant to engage the student in the topics of the
course, and to provide you with the opportunity for close intellectual as well as personal
reflection on certain issues and questions. The discussion board should flow like a conversation,
it involves participation. There are 4 questions/topics on each chapter. You are to respond to 3
questions weekly. You also need to read everyone else's entries, and respond to at least 2. All
entries must be submitted by Wed night. Responses to other’s entries must be submitted by
Sunday at midnight. If you have other comments to add about the links or anything else under
the open forum, you may do so, and if you have no responses for other's entries, you can
substitute responses here. You should average 5 entries per discussion chapter.
Quizzes: At the end of each chapter, you are to take the appropriate quiz listed under the
"quizzes" link at the top of the page. Each quiz corresponds with the chapter in the book. Each
quiz contains 10 multiple choice questions. You may only take the quiz once. You have 30
minutes to take the quiz. After taking the quiz, submit it as shown. Quizzes must be submitted
by Sunday at 12 midnight.
Written work: All papers must be in 12pnt font, double spaced, and in Times New Roman. All
papers should be turned into the appropriate folder in the "dropbox". All papers should be in a
"word" format. Late work will be accepted for up to 3 days after the due date, but your grade
will drop a letter each day. Late work should be turned into the dropbox folder entitled "late
work". This is a Gordon Rule class--accordingly, your papers will demonstrate the following:
A clear purpose and thesis or controlling idea.
Adequate supporting reasons and evidence.
Sustained analysis and critical thought.
Clear, logical organization.
Adherence to conventions of standard written English.
Adherence to disciplinary conventions in regard to content, style, form, and delivery
Appropriate citation of all source material according to discipline conventions.
Discipline-appropriate formatting and/or presentation.
[Bullets taken directly from the "New Gordon Rule" policy]
Plagiarism: See student handbook if necessary, plagiarism is a crime; it consists in stealing
someone else's thoughts, words, or ideas. This will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
So, all sources must be cited. You may use whatever method of citation you prefer, as long as it
is consistent throughout the paper. Please take special care in citing sources and using your own
words, because I will catch you if you plagierize...and you will fail the course.
Religious Autobiography: This is your religious autobiography, it is all about you. What were
your first thoughts about God, creation, an afterlife? How have they changed over the years?
What do you see in the future? Who has had an impact on your spirituality? Do you practice a
religion actively? What beliefs do you have about the soul? Add anything else you feel is
important about your spiritual/religious life. Papers should be 2-3 pages in length, and should be
prepared in an organized, professional manner. No citations are needed, since you are writing
from personal experience. The due date is 1/27, and it should be turned into the dropbox folder
Abstract and bibliography: Concerning your term paper, you will need to pick an approved
topic, think about what you will research, and find sources, well before your paper is due. This
information will be turned into me early enough so that I can guide you in the right direction.
You should outline and summarize what you plan to accomplish in the paper (1-2 pages). You
should also provide me with a list of sources you plan to use in your paper. You may use as
many sources as you need to complete the assignment. The due date for this assignment is 3/16
and it should be turned into the dropbox folder entitled "abstracts". That is right before spring
break, so plan accordingly.
Research paper: At the end of the semester, you will hand in your research paper. The topic is
up to you, but must be approved by me. Make sure your topic is not to broad to cover (don't get
in over your head!). Choose a topic in time to complete the abstract mentioned above. Make
sure your sources for the paper are academically sound. Also, be sure your paper is written from
an academic perspective. This course is in the academic study of religion. Your paper should
be 5-7 pages in length. It will be due on 4/20 in the dropbox folder entitled "term papers".
Meditation Journals: For extra credit, you may turn in a meditation journal. Go to the links on
meditation under "links", and see what meditating is all about. Try meditation. Keep a journal
of your meditation experiences--what you did, how it felt, what happened, what you thought
about or experienced, etc. It is up to you how long or short the entries are and how often you do
it. Remember, this is extra-credit, so the better it is, the more it is worth. Points will be applied
where you need them most. Journals are due by 4/27 in the dropbox folder entitled "meditation
Method of evaluation: Your grade will be calculated as follows--
Discussion Board = 20%
Term Paper = 20%
Quizzes = 20%
Content and links = 20%
Religious Autobiography = 10%
Bibliography and abstract = 10%
The grading scale is as follows:
90-100% = A
80-89% = B
70-79% = C
60-69% = D
0-59% = F
Some other notes:
Email: Normally, I will reply to email within 24 hrs. Occasionally I will be unable to respond
within that time frame but will inform the class in advance. To ensure quick response over the
weekends, please submit your questions no later than Friday mornings.
Discussions: Discussions are a great place to interact and learn from one another. Be sure to stay
actively involved in discussions by reading and replying to your classmates postings when
appropriate. I will read all discussion postings and add comments/suggestions/questions as
necessary to keep the discussion on topic.
Dropbox Assignments and Quizzes: Will be graded and returned no later than 7 days after the
This is a religion course. Being such, we need to be considerate of other people's feelings.
Please be respectful to each other. Do not be offensive, and don't be overly defensive...Please be
opened minded when approaching other religions; remember, this is the academic study of
Keep on track. You are able to work on this class when you want, but the weekly assignments
must be completed in the allotted week. Weeks go from Monday-Sunday. Plan to spend at least
6 hours a week on this class.
Check your UWF email account regularly. I send out information through the group-mail often,
so be sure to check for updated notices and reminders.
Contact me through your UWF account at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to tell me what
section of the class you are in, because I teach more than 1 class. You should note either
Rel2000 1608 or 1610. Better yet, tell me if you are in the scarlet and grey class (OSU), or the
blue and orange class (UF). [yes, I cheer for both!]
Use the resources under the "links" heading, as they are very helpful, and are academically
approved. I may add a few links as the course progresses.
Do what you are supposed to do. I can see what you do on this site. I can tell what you read,
look at, for how long, when, etc. Do it right!!