Syllabus for REL-405
WORLD RELIGIONS: EXPLORING DIVERSITY
World Religions: Exploring Diversity examines the complexity of religion as a multidimensional phenomenon characterized by heightened experience, ritual practice, powerful myths, ethical teaching, social organization, and theological doctrine. The course explores religious traditions that are alive today and that involve the lives of the majority of people worldwide from the indigenous religions of Africa and North America to the major world religions of the East such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto, as well as the western religions of the Book: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
The course is interdisciplinary in that it includes material from historical and social studies, literary and artistic expressions, and philosophical and theological insights into the world's religions. In a world increasingly aware of its cultural diversity and richness, exploring the religious life and consciousness of a people is one way of gaining access to that diversity.
The basic goals of World Religions: Exploring Diversity are to explore the meaning of religion, examine its broad characteristics, and explore religious consciousness, practice, and expression exemplified in the history and religions of the world. After studying this course, you should be able to:
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.
World Religions: Exploring Diversity is a 3-credit online course consisting of nine modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities.
For your formal work in the course, you are required to read the texts as assigned, participate in online discussion forums, complete and submit written assignments, take a proctored online midterm examination, and complete a final project. See below for more details.
Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.
In addition to posting an introduction to the class in module 1, you are required to participate in seven graded online discussions, each focusing on an issue relating to world religions.
Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct assignments: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two 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, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.
Your initial responses and subsequent comments on classmates' responses are due on the days specified by the Course Calendar.
World Religions: Exploring Diversity has nine written assignments. These assignments consist of sometimes specific and sometimes general problems or questions connected with a particular religion or the interconnections between and among religions. Check the course Calendar for when you are to submit these assignments to your mentor.
Responses to written assignment questions are expected to be well developed and reasonably detailed. Each essay should be at least three double-spaced, typed pages (at least 750 words). Assignments should clearly demonstrate your understanding of the course materials. Do not merely copy answers from your reading materials, but when you make use of material from your readings, be sure you cite it properly (i.e., with footnotes or endnotes).
For a list of key concepts that may appear on your exam(s), refer to the study guide(s) available in the Examinations section of the course Web site.
You are required to take a proctored online midterm examination. See the Course Calendar for the official dates for your midterm exam week.
The midterm is a closed-book, proctored online exam. It is two hours long and covers all material assigned through Module 5 of the course. The exam consists of four essay questions.
For the midterm, you are required to 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.
You are on your honor not to cheat during an exam. Cheating means:
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.
This course includes a final project that requires you to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate course content in a final paper. You will choose a topic of interest to you, obtain approval for your choice from your mentor, and apply insights from your course work to your topic. You will need to do further research on the topic in order to complete the paper. A full description of the paper appears in the Final Project area of the course.
This project is worth 25 percent of your grade; 1 percent of that total consists of your obtaining approval for your topic.
Consult your Course Calendar for due dates.
You are required to submit the final project in this course to Turnitin.com, an academic plagiarism prevention site, prior to submitting the project within your course space. You will receive immediate written feedback from Turnitin regarding writing style as well as a plagiarism gauge with tips for proper citations. You then have the opportunity to edit your assignment with this feedback in mind and resubmit it to Turnitin for additional checking. Once you are satisfied with the project, you are required to submit the Turnitin feedback (also known as the originality report) for the final version along with the project itself within the course space.
Read carefully the information found at the following link, as it will provide instructions for this requirement:
Turnitin FAQ Web Page
The course ID and password that you will need in order to create an account may be found at the following link. Look within Step 1, locating your course ID and password by semester.
Course ID and Password by Semester
This information can also be found within Using Turnitin for Assignments. You can locate this document in the topic list area of your course space.
Students please note: You have the option of submitting any of your assignments to Turnitin.com. Submit any additional assignments through the slots with the optional label. However, submitting other assignments is NOT a requirement and you should not submit originality reports for these assignments to your mentor.
Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:
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:
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 course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
Consider the following study tips for success:
Thomas Edison State College is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The College expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.
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.
All members of the College community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.
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 can take the following forms:
Thomas Edison State College is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.
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, or without identifying it as a direct quote, 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.
For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.
Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism
When to Quote and When to Paraphrase
Writing Assistance at Smarthinking
Originality Report Checking at Turnitin
Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.
If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.
If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.
Possible sanctions include:
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