Patrick Henry Community College
Course: REL 231-W1; Religions of the World I
Credits: 3 credit hours
Class Location: Online
Instructor: Hannah Simpson
Prerequisites: ENF 3 (completed or concurrent)
Important: I am not located on campus. If you would like to set up a meeting with me, please contact me through email.
Studies religions of the world with attention to origin, history, and doctrine.
This course examines world religions throughout history. It will cover various aspects of religion, such as how religions
and states interact with one another, how religions change over time, the varieties within religions, and how religion and
culture are inextricably intertwined. In line with the institutional goals and general education outcomes of Patrick Henry
Community College, this class will attempt to instill in students an understanding of the interconnectedness of human
cultures worldwide and a sense of “global outlook.” In this class, we will examine how religion appears to be a deepseated human need worldwide. The supplemental readings are designed to help you in this task. The class also has a
major emphasis on critical thinking expressed through clear written and oral communication. Therefore, along with
knowledge of content, good writing, and participation in discussion are major elements in the assessment of your grades.
The course will also assist you in developing cultural sensitivity in the study of religion. You will learn to recognize and
avoid many of the pitfalls of western naïve realism and ethnocentrism in reading and writing about other cultures. Naïve
realism is the assumption that people everywhere perceive the world in the same way as you do. Ethnocentrism goes
even a step further to make a value judgment using your own culture as the standard. Naïve realism and ethnocentrism
prevent people from learning very much about other cultures and people.
You will need regular access to Blackboard, email, internet, and Microsoft Word in order to be successful in this course.
You will also need to make sure your computer is able to use the 2010 MS Office Suite package and the most recent
version of Adobe Reader.
A. COURSE OBJECTIVES
Upon completion of the course, you will have gained a greater understanding of the varieties of world religions.
Specifically, you will be able to explain how religions can often be bound to the cultures in which they arise; how religions
often help humans make sense of life and death; and most importantly, you will be able to compare and analyze different
approaches that different religions take to the same concept (such as the “soul” or the afterlife).
B. VCCS CORE COMPETENCIES
This course will primarily focus upon critical thinking, and upon effective written communication skills. These core
competencies are vitally important in the study of history, and indeed are also necessary for the study of all humanities.
C. METHOD OF INSTRUCTION
This class will rely on selected readings and multimedia presentations to present the core material. Students will engage
in several cooperative learning opportunities through the discussions with the instructor and others on BlackBoard.
Religions, and specific aspects of religions, will be examined as case studies when learning about specific topics
throughout the semester.
D. TEXTBOOK(S) AND REQUIRED TOOLS OR SUPPLIES
TEXTBOOKS: Hopfe, Lewis M. & Mark R. Woodward. Religions of the World, 12th edition, ISBN: 0-205-15860-9.
Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. The Little DK Handbook. ISBN: 0-205-82373-4.
SUPPLIES: Computer with internet access capable of using Microsoft Office 2010 suite and the most updated version of
E. STUDENT EVALUATION
POSTING OF GRADES: Grades for all assignments will be posted in the Grades section of Blackboard.
ASSESSMENT BREAKDOWN: Final grades will be calculated by dividing total points earned by total points possible.
Discussion Posts (6)
Short Papers (2)
Final Exam (1)
120 (20 points each)
320 (40 points each)
160 (80 points each)
300 (100 points each)
Discussion Posts: Six times throughout the semester, students will complete a discussion board post on a
question/topic assigned by the instructor. Each student will also respond to the discussion posts of two other students.
These responses must engage the discussion posts critically. Discussion post and response due dates, times, lengths,
and grading rubrics will be posted on Blackboard.
Quizzes: Eight quizzes will be given on Blackboard throughout the semester. They will cover content from the most
recently covered section(s) of the lecture materials and text.
Short Papers: Two times during the semester, students will write a short paper (between 500-800 words long) on a
question or topic posed by the instructor. Then, each student will respond on Blackboard to the short papers of two
other students. These responses must be 100-200 words each and must engage the short papers critically. Short paper
and response due dates, times, and grading rubrics will be posted on Blackboard.
Tests: Three tests will be given on Blackboard throughout the semester. Tests 2 and 3 will require a test proctor. Students
must go to the Testing Center located on the first floor of the Learning Resource Center (LRC) at PHCC. Please visit the
Testing Center’s web site to obtain their policies and hours of operations (http://patrickhenry.edu/current/studentservices/testing-center). If students prefer, they may obtain a test proctor at the Patrick County or Franklin County sites.
Arrangements to take a test at a location other than the LRC should be made several days in advance. Please contact me
via email if you plan to do so.
Final Exam: A final exam will be administered at the end of the course. It will require a proctor, as well.
LATE AND MAKE-UP WORK: In the case that a student is unable to meet an assignment or test deadline, he or she must
contact the instructor as soon as possible. The instructor will determine whether an extension or make-up will be
INCOMPLETES: A grade of “I” (Incomplete) will not be offered in this course except under extreme conditions (e.g. the
student has completed at least 50% of the course requirements and the department advises to do so). A grade of “I”
would result only from a written contract signed by the instructor, the student, and the department. A student who
simply stops participating in class will not receive an “I.”
1/12 – 1/18
1/19 – 1/25
1/26 – 2/1
2/2 – 2/8
2/9 – 2/15
2/16 – 2/22
2/23 – 3/1
Textbook: Introduction and Overview
Lecture: Introduction to the Study of Religion
Textbook: Chapters 1 and 2
Lecture: Basic Religions
Textbook: Chapter 3
Lecture: Native American Religions
Lecture: African Religions
Textbook: Chapter 4
Textbook: Chapter 5
Textbook: Chapter 6
Textbook: Chapter 7
3/2 – 3/8
3/9 – 3/15
4/20 – 4/26
Textbook: Chapter 8
Lecture: Chinese Religions
Textbook: Chapter 9 and 10
Textbook: Chapter 11 (pp. 242-249)
Textbook: Chapter 11 (pp. 250-277)
Textbook: Chapter 12
Textbook: Chapter 13
4/27 – 5/3
5/4 – 5/10
Lecture: Agnosticism and Atheism
3/16 – 3/22
3/23 – 3/29
3/30 – 4/5
4/6 – 4/12
4/13 – 4/19
F. GRADING SCALE:
90% - 100%
80% – 89%
70% – 79%
60% – 69%
59% and below
Syllabus quiz (due 1/15)
Discussion post (due 1/18)
Discussion responses (due 1/20)
Introduction and Basic Religions Quiz (1/25)
Discussion post (due 1/29)
Discussion responses (due 1/31)
Introduction - Chapter 3 Test (due 2/1)
Discussion post (due 2/8)
Discussion responses (due 2/10)
Hinduism and Jainism Quiz (due 2/15)
Discussion post (due 2/22)
Discussion responses (due 2/24)
Buddhism and Sikhism Quiz (due 3/1)
Paper 1 (due 3/5)
Paper 1 replies (due 3/7)
Chapters 4 – 7 Test (due 3/8)
Discussion post and responses (due 3/15)
Chinese Religions and Shinto Quiz (due 3/26)
Discussion post (due 4/2)
Discussion responses (due 4/4)
Zoroastrianism and Judaism Quiz (due 4/9)
Chapters 8 – 11 Test (due 4/12)
Paper 2 (due 4/19)
Paper 2 replies (due 4/21)
Christianity Quiz (due 4/23)
Islam Quiz (due 5/3)
Final Exam (due 5/9)
(900 – 1000 points)
(800 – 899 points)
(700 – 799 points)
(600 – 699 points)
(599 points or less)
G. EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENT SUCCESS
Students should log on to BlackBoard and check email multiple times per week. This will ensure that students do
not miss any additional information provided by the instructor.
Students should complete all assigned readings before completing any assignments due in the same week that
the readings are listed.
Multimedia presentations will not simply repeat the assigned readings, but will expand upon certain topics or
themes. If you do not read all of the required materials, you may miss some of the content. Your grade may
subsequently reflect your lack of reading.
This is a writing intensive course. In order to make one’s assignments understandable, one must employ proper
spelling, grammar, and syntax. Failure to do so will be reflected in the grade for that assignment. Grading rubrics
will be provided to ensure that students know how their content, grammar, etc. will be assessed. It is highly
encouraged that students utilize the Writing Lab in the LRC for papers. Help with referencing resources may also
be found in the secondary textbook purchased for this class.
It is important that students recognize that Wikipedia is not a scholarly resource. It is not peer-reviewed, but
instead is authored by the general public and often includes erroneous or unverified information. In addition,
not every book, article, website, or media outlet is accurate. If students choose to employ sources from outside
the class (websites, books, etc.), they are responsible for evaluating the content, accuracy, and bias of the
sources. If the source is flawed, biased, or incorrect, the student’s grade on the assignment will reflect the
inaccuracies of the source.
Any written or spoken comment that demonizes a person or group on the basis of color, disability, ethnicity,
gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic is considered hate speech. Any
hate speech posted to BlackBoard, written in an assignment, or sent through e-mail, will be recorded and
reported to college authorities. The offensive material will also be withdrawn from class access. Using sources
which employ, or effectively function as, hate speech is also forbidden.
H. SPECIFIC COLLEGE POLICIES
ATTENDANCE: Research shows that attendance and participation are major contributing factors to a student's academic
success. As an online student, you are expected to check email and log on to BlackBoard multiple times per week.
The following attendance policy is in effect for this class:
Students who do not participate in class through the submission of assignments by January 30, 2014 (the Last
Day to Drop a Course to Receive a Refund) will be dropped from the course. This date and all withdrawal dates
are listed in the published campus calendar.
Failing to complete three assignments anytime during the semester constitutes an automatic “F” in the class.
You should be aware that an “F” will adversely affect your GPA, and a low GPA will very likely affect your
EMAIL POLICY: (VCCS Policy Statement 6.0.9) Electronic mail (or email) is an official method for communication at the
Virginia Community College System (VCCS) because it delivers information in a convenient, timely, cost-effective, and
environmentally-aware manner. Students must only use their assigned VCCS email account for correspondence with
SUPPORT SERVICES AVAILABLE/DISABILITY STATEMENT:
If you have a disability or other need for reasonable accommodation in order to successfully complete the
requirements of this course, please contact the 504/ADA Coordinator (Learning Resource Center #109D,, 656-0257
or 800-232-7997 ext. 0257, email@example.com) to discuss this matter confidentially.
ACADEMIC DISHONESTY, PLAGIARISM, AND CHEATING: Cheating is the actual or attempted practice of fraudulent or
deceptive acts for the purpose of improving one's grade or obtaining course credit; such acts also include assisting
another student to do so. Plagiarism is a specific form of cheating which consists of the misuse of the published and/or
unpublished works of others by misrepresenting the material so used as one's own work. Penalties for cheating and
plagiarism range from a 0 or F on a particular assignment, through an F for the course, to expulsion from the college.
More than four consecutive words from a source other than the writer constitute plagiarism when the source is not
clearly identified in appropriate document format. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use of paraphrase or
direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgement. It also
includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term
papers or other academic materials.
Academic dishonesty and cheating can consist of any of (but is not limited to) the following:
1) Turning in another student’s work, or another author’s work, as your own (even if cited);
2) Excessive use of quoted material to the point where you do very little of the work;
3) Purchasing papers from others or from websites to use as your own;
4) Lying to the professor or a dean about why an assignment is late or was not turned in as a way to escape any
point reductions or other repercussions;
5) Cooperating with another student on a paper or exam;
6) Helping somebody else to plagiarize, cheat, or engage in academic dishonesty.
OPEN COMPUTER LABS - An open computer lab, located in the LRC, is available for student use on campus at PHCC for
work-related course assignments. Personnel are available in the lab if assistance is needed. The hours are posted on
the PHCC Website and at the entrance to the lab. The Learning Lab telephone number is 276.656.0358. For off campus
sites, call 276.694.8778, Patrick County Site and 540.483.0179 Franklin County Site for open lab hours.
LRC Building- Open Lab Hours
Monday - Thursday: 8 am - 9 pm
Friday: 8 am - 5 pm
Saturday: 9 am-12 noon
• No person under 16 years of age allowed in the computer labs.
• No food or drinks (no exceptions).
• Priority is given to students.
TUTORS - Tutors are located in the LRC Building, 1st floor. Hours for this lab change each semester and are posted in the
lab and on the PHCC website. Experienced tutors are always available to assist students . In addition, the lab has
computers available for student use. Tutoring may be available at off-campus locations. For more information contact
the tutor coordinator at 276.656.0305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
is an online tutoring service which gives students 24/7 access to highly qualified, experienced,
and specially trained tutors. Virtual whiteboard technology lets students and tutors share the same screen.
Students may submit writing assignments to be evaluated/proofread. All live sessions with tutors and
submitted questions are saved so students can view or print them out . Any PHCC student can access
Smarthinking free of charge through BlackBoard. Further information may be obtained from your instructor or
the Writing Center Tutors.
CHILDREN ON CAMPUS POLICY -Patrick Henry Community College wishes to foster a positive relationship with children,
especially on those occasions when special events and programs are planned and supervised for them. This policy is
based on the concern for the safety of children and on the fact that, in our experience, children can be a distraction and a
hindrance to both the educational process and the day-to-day operation of college offices.
Accordingly, all parents and accompanying adults should be aware of the following policy:
• Children are not allowed to attend classes for which they are not registered.
• Even if accompanied by a parent or other adult, children are not permitted in labs, shops or any area where
potential hazards exist, with the exception of children directly involved in the instructional process.
• The college is not responsible for visiting children who are left unattended at the college. Patrick Henry
Community College disclaims any responsibility for injury to visiting children, when the injury may have been
prevented by appropriate parental supervision.
• Unsupervised children, whether children of students, faculty, staff, or visitors, are not permitted on campus or
other college sites.
Individuals who bring children to campus and refuse to abide by these guidelines will be referred to college officials and
are subject to disciplinary procedures.
COMPUTER RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES - The college attempts to provide appropriate computing resources to its
students, faculty and staff. The objective is to provide users with the level of computer technology to effectively perform
their academic and administrative duties. The following guidelines apply to all computing resources provided by PHCC.
• Users have the responsibility of careful and ethical use of college computing resources.
• Appropriate and responsible use begins with common sense and includes respect for the rights and privacy of
• User access is granted to an individual and may not be transferred to or shared with another without explicit
• Users have the right to expect that computers will be maintained in a safe and working manner.
• Users have the right to expect up-to-date computing resources appropriate to the teaching, learning and
administrative uses of the college
• Users have the right to expect instruction or training to properly use accessible computing resources.
• Users have the responsibility to adhere to college policies; failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
Evacuation Procedures: See plaque in room.
Emergency ambulance: Phone 911
Campus security: West Hall room 135; Telephone extension 221 (Cell: 276- 732-2406)
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
Monday, January 13
Holiday (College Closed)
Monday, January 20
Last Day to Register or Add a Course
Tuesday, January 21
Last Day to Drop a Course to Receive a Refund
Thursday, January 30
Spring Break (no classes)
Monday – Friday, March 17 – 24
Faculty Administer Student Evaluations
Monday – Friday, March 24 – 28
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Grade Penalty or to Change to Audit
Advising Kickoff for Summer 2014
Wednesday, March 26
Tuesday, April 15
Last Day of Classes
Monday, May 5
Tuesday – Friday, May 6 – 9; Monday, May 12
Tuesday – Thursday, May 13 – 15
Saturday, May 17, 10:00 AM
DELAYED SCHEDULE DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY: Classes will operate as regularly scheduled regardless of the
time the college opens. Basically, this means that for a two-hour delay schedule due to inclement weather, you would report
to the class which would be in session at 10:00am. Any class missed due to a delay in opening will be given an assignment
from your instructor through the college BlackBoard system.
For example, if classes begin at 10:00 a.m. due to a 2-hour delay, you will attend your class as scheduled from
10:00am forward; if you have a class that begins at 9:30 a.m. you should attend your class beginning at 10:00 am
forward; if your class is scheduled to meet from 9:00 a.m. until 11:50 a.m., you will begin the class at 10:00 am
Your instructor will provide you with information regarding assignments during any missed class time. Any questions
regarding how this change in policy affects your particular class should be directed to the instructor of your class.
Off-Campus Students: Classes at the Franklin Center & the Patrick County Site will follow the same inclement weather
schedule as the main PHCC campus in Martinsville, unless otherwise announced.
The delayed schedule will be in effect upon authorized release to PHCC Alert, local radio and television stations and the
This document is a course syllabus, not a legal contract. It is a good-faith outline of course requirements and
expectations. Note, however, that specific assignments, dates, deadlines, readings, and lecture topics are subject to
change during the course of the semester. While such changes will be announced on BlackBoard and via email, it is each
student’s sole responsibility to ascertain whether or not such changes have been made.
Students’ attempts at the syllabus quiz will serve as confirmation of receiving this syllabus.