Religion in American Life
|Term:||Spring, 2013 (January - May)
|Revision:||31 De 12
|Class Time:||One online lecture weekly.
|You should set aside definite time each week to work.
|Instructor e-mail address:
|| Do not e-mail your instructor through WebCampus!
- Frank Daniels
Great Basin College Ely Branch Campus
2115 Bobcat Drive
Ely, NV 89301
- (775) 289-3589 (office)
(775) 289-3599 (college fax)
Textbook: America: Religions and Religion, Fifth Edition, by Catherine Albanese.
This book may be ordered through your outlet of choice.
- You must be using a Windows-based system.
- You must have your own access to the Internet through a commercial provider and
know how to login to your account.
- You must know how to use a web browser.
- You must have a Web browser and e-mail. The class assumes you are
using Firefox or Internet Explorer.
- You must have e-mail account somewhere to
send and receive feedback. The class assumes that you know how to properly
use e-mail and your web browser.
- The course requires weekly participation in a discussion group in the WebCampus
atmosphere. The course assumes that you either are familiar with WebCampus or
will attend a WebCampus orientation in your area to become familiar with WebCampus.
Class Description: This course covers the history and organization of
religious groups in America, with special attention being given to the relationships
between religious convictions and social issues such as racial issues, sexual mores,
and political affiliation.
This course is NOT "self-paced". You must participate in a
weekly discussion and read certain readings. Remember that you have a "live"
instructor who will answer your questions -- this is not a correspondence course.
The student will survey various religions and groups of religions, hopefully better
understanding several sides of the issues surrounding these groups. The student
should gain an appreciation for the role of religion in United States history.
The successful student will be able to --
- identify the core beliefs of American religious groups
- discuss in detail the differences between belief systems of organized groups
- relate the issues surrounding various groups to American social issues of the
past and present
- compare and contrast both the histories and beliefs of different religions
- examine deeply the issues surrounding a chosen group (or topic), reflecting on both
(all) sides of the issues involved
- treat those who hold different viewpoints with respect
- explain to others their own convictions and the reasons for arriving at
In order to accurately measure competency in these outcomes, various instructional and
diagnostic elements are employed. These are described below.
Each week, there will be assigned readings from the book, which will be
mentioned on each week at the top of the lecture page. In addition to those
readings, the lecture will often cover material related to but different from
the material in the textbook, usually focusing on a particular group or groups.
These lectures will appear on the course's website. Students are expected to
participate in the discussions of each week's material.
Measurements, Course Assignments:
There will be two class assignments. The first of these will consist of a short
response paper. The response paper should be a two to five page summary,
typed and double spaced,
comparing several of the religious groups' beliefs and/or histories.
The groups selected may be groups whose beliefs/histories we have covered, will
cover later, or do not mention in the PHIL 145 lectures -- so long as you can
find source material. You may also attach
the paper to an e-mail, saved in Micrsoft Word format. Do not send your paper in
the body of an e-mail message. The paper must arrive at GBC Ely no later than 5PM Pacific
Time on the Friday of week 6. I will accept the paper anytime
on or after the Friday of week 3. See also "More About the Papers," below.
The second assignment will be a comprehensive look at one group, the issues
surrounding the group, and as much history as necessary. Alternatively, you may present a single
issue as viewed by two religious groups. Both (all) sides of the
issues must be presented fairly. Feel free to draw conclusions about
the group or issue! You will not lose points for drawing a particular conclusion,
but points will be deducted if all sides are not presented fairly -- as that group or
side would present their views. This paper is flexible, and you may choose to focus
it more on the issue than the groups, but how the religious groups impact the issue(s)
in America must be part of the paper.
This research paper must cite (and list) at least three scholarly sources excluding online
encyclopedias, blogs, and other opinion-related articles and must be ten to twenty
pages in length, typed, double-spaced. See also "More About the Papers," below.
TITLE PAGES, BIBLIOGRAPHY, and pages consisting mostly of PICTURES do not count toward
the page total. You must submit a final topic by 5PM Pacific Time on the Friday that ends
week 7.I must approve the choice of final topics.
You may submit a final topic any time on or after
the Friday of Week 4, and one reason that a topic might be rejected is that others
in the class have chosen a similar topic. Therefore,
it is best to submit a choice of final topics soon. This final paper must be
reach me in Ely no later than 5PM Pacific Time, on the Monday of Week 15.
I will accept the final paper any time on or after April 1st.
|Never -- under any circumstances -- try to use WebCampus e-mail to contact the instructor.
I have deactivated WebCampus mail for myself and have removed it from the course. If
you try to contact me that way, I will not receive your e-mail. Please use
only "regular" e-mail, and write to me to the address indicated above.|
Likewise, do not submit assignments to me via WebCampus. Attach your papers to an e-mail message, and send that message to
email@example.com. If you attempt to submit an assignment through WebCampus, you will receive no points for that assignment!
NOTE about Spring Break: During Spring
semesters, there is a one week break in "live" and IAV classes. This class ignores all
holidays and continues straight through the break. A lesson will appear during that
week just as in any other week.
If you determine that you wish to drop the course prior to its conclusion, it is necessary for you to officially drop,
either online through the college's website, or by visiting one of our college campuses and submitting a drop form.
Any student who does not officially drop will receive a grade at the conclusion of the course. These grades will be
based on the number of points that you have accumulated (see below).
If you do not officially drop the course as described above, by taking this class you agree that your "last date of
attendance" for official purposes will be the last day of your active participation in this course. If there should be a
gap in your participation, your last date of attendance may be the last date prior to the gap. Since this may
affect your financial aid, it behooves you to drop officially or to complete the entire course.
NOTE about Due Dates:
Each week of the semester starts on Saturday and ends on Friday.
The semester consists of sixteen consecutive weeks. Without exception, one
lesson is posted each of the first 15 weeks. Therefore, if you are unable to determine what
week we are on, the letter of the alphabet that ends the lesson name tells you what week we are
on: A = 1; B = 2; C = 2; etc..
All of the items are due on the day of the week (Monday, Friday) specified in the above
paragraphs. If any numeral dates are given, the numerical dates are secondary and
are provided only as a convenience. If a numerical date or dates does not match the
day of the week given, it is the day of the week that is correct.
Each week's discussion of course material given in the lessons is due at 7PM on the day before the
following lesson appears.
||Date of Earliest Acceptance
|Comparison of Groups
||Friday of Week 3
||Friday of Week 6
|Topic for In-Depth Paper
||Friday of Week 4
||Friday of Week 7
||Monday of Week 15
More About the Papers
Both papers must have 1” side, top, and bottom margins and be typed in a 12 point ("normal looking")
font. The first thing I am going to do is check the length. Short papers will have a letter grade deducted.
Your comparison and your in-depth report should make sure to deal with the issues themselves, not
merely repeating historical materials. Both papers must treat all groups and issues fairly.
Your papers will not be graded on style or grammar.
They should be written as well as you are able, however. The
papers will be mailed back to you only if you request them and provide mailing
Grades will be based on the successful and timely completion
of the assignments and on participation in the weekly discussion.
All papers must be saved in .doc (document), .docx (XML), or .rtf (rich text) format.
|The class is graded on participation and the various assignments,
||30 points total
|Final Topic Submitted and Approved on time
||40 points |
Therefore, the total number of points available for the semester is 100 points.
The number of points required to obtain each grade is as follows:
Obtaining Your Grades
You are responsible for counting up your own participation points. Simply add two points per
topic for substantive comments. Your instructor will add these only at the end.
When you have sent an approved topic, and when that topic has been approved, you will receive an
e-mail indicating that the professor has approved your topic. If you have done all of this on time,
you will receive ten (10) points; otherwise, you will receive no points for topic submission.
Beginning six calendar days after the due date of the Response Paper, you may inquire of the professor by
e-mail as to your grade on the Response Paper. The professor will then write back with your score, and with any
comments that he made regarding the paper. Was it too short? Was it late? Were points hard to follow?
The professor's comments will address these issues.
The same policy applies to the Final Report as applies for the Response Paper.
If you do not ask for your grades in a timely fashion -- keeping in touch with the professor by e-mail --
then you will not receive them. It is your responsibility to ask for grade information.
Calculating Your Score Mid-Semester
Although I will also have this information, since it is easy to do so it is your responsibility to keep a running total of your own participation throughout the semester.
At any point during the semester you may determine how you are doing in the class. Add your points so far – all of the points for participation and the written assignments
that have occurred so far. Divide this sum by the number of available points so far. This will give your grade in decimal form.
Multiplying that result by 100 will give you a percentage. For example, if there were 110 available points at some point during the semester, and
you have accumulated 77 of them, then your percentage to date is: 7700/110 = 70. Your grade to date would be a “C”, based on the scale given above.
The Nevada System of Higher Education Code (Board of Regents Handbook
section 6.2.2q) expressly forbids all forms of academic dishonesty, including
(but not limited to) all forms of cheating, copying, and plagiarism. Students
who are discovered cheating will be assigned zero points for the current assignment. If
the cheating is believed to be widespread -- to involve other students
and/or to cover more than one assignment or test -- then all students
involved will receive "F" grades for the course and will be brought to
the GBC Academic Officers for prosecution. I will normally recommend
that students found guilty in that instance be placed on one year
Starting from scratch:
This class is accessed from the Internet. Therefore, I'll need to know
that you're out there and ready. Send me an e-mail message -- through
"regular" e-mail and NOT through WebCampus -- telling me you are ready to begin.
Do this by the Friday of Week 1.
If you need to find some help to get started, you can always e-mail
or phone me at the college building.
Keep up with the course schedule. If you get behind it may prove difficult to catch up.
||Topics and Readings
||Native American Religions
||America, Chapter 1
||America, Chapter 2
||America, Chapter 3
||America, Chapter 4
||America, Chapter 5
||Africans in America
||America, Chapter 6
||The Latter-Day Saints
||America, pp. 159-165
||The Stone-Campbell Movement
||Not in Textbook
||Other New Groups of the 19th Century
||America, pp. 166-182
||The Occult, Witchcraft, etc..
||America, Chapter 8
||Eastern Religions, Part One: Islam
||America, pp. 207-220
||Eastern Religions, Part Two: Hinduism and Buddhism
||America, pp. 221-236
||Not in Textbook
||The New Age; Eclectic Religion
||America, Chapter 10
||America, Chapter 11
Online readings will supplement most weeks' material.
The course ends on the Monday of week 16.
- Purchase the book ahead of time.
- Have your Internet access installed and ready. Know your user name.
- Obtain a WebCampus account automatically through the mail or by
writing to the Tech Desk, and
familiarize yourself with the WebCampus environment. The lessons will
appear in the Calendar.
- Retrieve your first lesson, which will be posted as a web page
(you'll find a link in the Course Calendar in WebCampus). If you have
access to WebCampus but cannot get to the lesson by Friday of week 1,
write to me via e-mail!
- Read the material for week 1 and comment to the list about it.
- As you finish the assignments, e-mail me, telling me that you have
completed them (so that I will know to expect them soon).
- You should wait until the due dates are approaching to mail the papers,
(see above), but you do not have to wait until the "last minute."
- NOTE: The book contains very detailed histories with not much
discussion of the issues surrounding these groups. The histories are
illuminating, but do not get bogged down in the details. Most of the
discussion should center around the issues, if the class is to work properly.
Do not stray "off topic." Do not be afraid to state your honest opinion.
- The Instructor may choose to participate in the discussion,
taking one side or more than one side of the various issues, often raising
questions for further discussion and reflection. Therefore, do not be
concerned about disagreeing with the instructor, or with other students.
All lessons are © 1999, 2013 Frank Daniels
and are Licensed to Great Basin College