Syllabus for HIS-310

The Middle East


COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Middle East is an upper-level, one-semester course that surveys the history and development of Islamic culture and examines why the Middle East has become such a turbulent region. Emphasis throughout the course is given to both the historical development of Islamic institutions and beliefs and how these relate to the current reassertion of Islamic values and power in the Muslim world.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the geography of the region and its influence on events.
  2. Discuss the life of Muhammad and the early history of Islam.
  3. Identify the five pillars of Islam.
  4. Explain the central importance of ummah (community) and sharia (Islamic law) in Islamic society.
  5. Compare and contrast Shia and Sunni Islam.
  6. Summarize Western involvement and influence in the region.
  7. Explain attempts by Muslim leaders to introduce modernization and Western reforms into Islamic society.
  8. Discuss the roots of Arab bitterness with the West.
  9. Describe the creation of Israel, the contest for Palestine, and the rise of Arab nationalism.
  10. Examine the reasons for Islamic religious revivalism since the late 1960s.
  11. Identify the common beliefs of radical activists who advocate and practice violent revolution.
  12. Discuss contemporary Islam and varying attitudes toward modernization.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. A Concise History of the Middle East, 9th ed., by Arthur Goldschmidt Jr. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2010).

ISBN-13: 978-0813343884

  1. Islam: The Straight Path, 3d revised ed., by John L. Esposito (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

ISBN-13: 978-0195182668

Materials on the Internet

In addition to the two main textbooks, certain materials available on the Internet are also used in this course. You will find links to readings, maps, and audio resources under "Study Materials" in each particular module.

You will need Realplayer in order to hear audio clips. The following link will take you to the Realplayer Web site. Look for the free version and follow the instructions for downloading.

  1. www.realplayer.com

COURSE STRUCTURE

The Middle East is a three-credit online course consisting of six (6) modules. Each module is built around specified chapters from your textbooks and material available on the Internet. Links are provided to the relevant Web sites.  Modules include objectives, study materials and activities.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in four (4) graded online discussion forums as well as an ungraded "Introductions" forum during Week 1 of the semester, complete six (6) written assignments, and take two proctored online examinations—a midterm and a final. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded "Introductions" forum in Week 1, you are also required to participate in four (4) graded online class discussions.

Communication with your mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online class discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate or your mentor, state and support your position.

You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation, including your use of relevant course information to support your point of view, and your awareness of and responses to the postings of your classmates. Remember, these are discussions. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

For posting guidelines and help with discussion forums, please see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete six (6) written assignments for this course, one for each of the six modules that make up the course.  The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the courses modules.

Each written assignment tests you on the material assigned in the appropriate module and consists of five short-answer questions and two essay questions. For each assignment you must answer all five (5) of the short-answer questions, and you can choose any two (2) of the essay questions to answer.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Examinations

You are required to take two (2) proctored online examinations: a midterm exam and a final exam. Both exams require that you use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

 

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Midterm Examination

The midterm is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers material in Modules 1, 2, and 3. It typically consists of identification questions, multiple choice questions, short essay questions, and essay questions. If you have concerns about the format and/or content of the examination, please contact your mentor at least a week in advance of the scheduled test.

Final Examination

The final is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers material in Modules 4, 5, and 6. It typically consists of identification questions, multiple choice questions, short essay questions, and essay questions.

Sample Examination

You will find a sample online examination in the Tests & Quizzes area of this course site. Use this sample exam to familiarize yourself with the online testing setting and format before you take your online exam. Keep in mind the following potential differences between the sample exam and your online exam:

  1. The content of your exam will match the content of your course; the sample exam has some generic questions on art history, world history, and environmental science.
  2. Your exam is will include three types of questions (multiple choice, identification, and essays). The sample exam includes all the types that you might encounter in an online assessment at Thomas Edison State College.
  3. You will be able to enter and take your exam just once—once you have entered the exam you must complete it. The sample exam may be taken as often as you like.
  4. There will be a penalty for exceeding the time limit in your actual midterm and final exams (see the "Statement about Cheating" below), whereas there is no corresponding penalty with this sample exam.

Statement about Cheating
You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find an answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or, in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your exams. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take an exam.
  5. Copying any part of an exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at an exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in an exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (4)—15 percent
  2. Written assignments (6)—35 percent
  3. Midterm exam (proctored online, modules 1-3)—25 percent
  4. Final exam (proctored online, modules 4-6)—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty
Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism
Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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