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PHIL 2200 (formerly PHIL 201) Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PHIL 2200 (formerly PHIL 201) - Introduction to World Religions

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course is a survey of the development of religions from tribal cultures to present day societies. This course provides the student with a general knowledge of the major religions that exist in the world today as well as an understanding of their origins, development, and adaptation to present day social and political situations. In addition to these major religions, this course will provide an insight into past religions and spiritual thinking and analyze how they influenced religious thoughts that persist to this day

Course Outcomes:

By the end of this course,

1. Students will experience first-hand a religious ritual (worship service, funeral, baptism, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, etc.) in a denomination or religion not their own. Students will analyze the experience according to the course format for this project.

2. Students will demonstrate their understanding of the nature of religion by writing an in-depth analysis essay of 3 - 4 pages (if double spaced) concerning a topic, issue, or concept from a religion studied in this course.

3. Students will demonstrate a mastery of the basic terms and concepts of the religions studied in this course through online testing.

4. Students will learn the basic techniques of rational discourse in the study of religions by responding to online discussion questions and bulletin board postings throughout the term.

Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

 None. However, a previous course in world history or philosophy would be helpful.

Course Topics:

1. What is Religion?

2. Tribal Religions

a. Australian Aborigines

b. Inuits (Eskimo)

c. Native Americans

d. Africans

e. Southeast Asia & Melanesians

f. Polynesians

g. Ainu

h. Teutons

i. Celts

3. Religions of Ancient Civilizations

a. Mesopotamia

b. Egypt

c. Iran (Persia)

d. Aztec

e. Maya

f. Inca

4. Hinduism

a. Jainism

b. Sikhism

5. Judaism

6. China and Japan

a. Confucianism

b. Daoism (Taoism)

c. Shinto

7. Greek and Hellenic Religions

8. Buddhism

9. Christianity

10. Islam a.Baha'i

11. Modern Times

Additional topics not found in the textbook will be covered in the course. In addition, some textbook topics will be enhanced. Additional and enhanced topics include the following:

 1. Critiques of Definitions of Religion

 2. Baha'i

3. Wicca

4. Hermeneutics and Exegesis

5. Sexual Orientation Issues

6. Gender Issues

7. Science and Religion

8. Religion News Pictorial Illustrations  

Specific Course Requirements:

General Requirements: - Students must have access to the Internet in order to take this course. - Students must use the D2L email system. Students may use an alternate email system only if the server goes down or to contact the instructor before they gain access to their D2L account.

- Students must know how to use D2L:

- This course is available in different time zones. Therefore all times will be given in Central Time since the D2L main server is on Central Time.

- Students should use a D2L compatible word processing program such as Microsoft Word.

- The summer class is 10 weeks long, and the regular semester is 14 weeks. For quiz scheduling, the first day of the week is considered to be Sunday and the last day of the week is considered to be Saturday. Specific Requirements: Students will engage in class participation by Discussion Board postings and discussions, and by visiting the instructor during virtual office hours.

- Students will take online quizzes upon completing each chapter assignment. Recall that sometimes we will have two chapters assigned during the week. Students will complete one or more chapters per week for a total of eleven quizzes. See Testing Procedures below.

- Students will write a midterm analysis essay to demonstrate their understanding of an issue or concept related to a religion being studied.

- Students will participate in a field experience which consists of a visit to a denomination or religion, not their own, and write a report on the experience.

- Students will take an online final exam during the last week of the term.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

See course syllabi within course. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

Testing will be done online so there is no need for proctors or visits to testing centers. An online quiz is required after completing each chapter of the textbook. The course schedule calls for completing at least one chapter per week. There are eleven chapters in the textbook so there are eleven quizzes, at least one per week, depending on the assignment.

Each quiz is timed (20 minutes) and may be taken only one time. No quiz can be repeated once it has been taken, so be prepared. There are practice tests for each chapter to help you review for the quizzes. The practice tests will give you the format for the online quizzes. Each chapter has two practice tests. Practice test A is available during the week that we study each chapter. Practice test B will be available during the last two weeks of the semester to use a review for the final exam. The practice test A should be taken before taking the chapter test. Practice test B will be available for the final exam review. 

Please note the dates and times that the tests are available. Practice tests do not count toward your class average. Each chapter quiz (and each practice test A) is available only during the week that the chapter it tests is assigned. Since quizzes are objective, they have true or false, multiple choice, and fill in the blank type questions. Quizzes must be taken online by students after completing each chapter to test student comprehension of terms and concepts. The quizzes for each chapter must be completed by the last day (Saturday) of the week it is scheduled.

By the first day of the next week (Sunday) the old quiz will be removed and the next chapter quiz and practice test made available. In summary for the quizzes, read the chapter and the supplementary D2L materials. When that is finished, take practice test A (the questions are randomly generated) to review for the chapter test. Be certain that you are ready because the quiz can be taken only one time. It cannot be repeated. You cannot wait too long to take the quiz because it will be taken off line by the last day of the week. So by the end of each week, you read the textbook chapter and the WebCT materials, take the practice test A, and take the online chapter quiz. This schedule keeps you on track to finish the course by the end of the term. This process starts again for the next chapter and continues until the final exam week. In addition, the midterm analysis essay is due during the fifth week and the field experience report is due during the eighth week. Contact the instructor for additional information.

Check the Course Calendar for exact assignment dates. There will be a final exam, given online and timed. The final exam will be primarily objective but some brief essay questions might be included. Students should use the practice test from each chapter to review for the final exam. A practice final exam is also available online. The final exam may be taken any time during the last week. It will not be available after the last day of the semester.

Grading Procedures:

There are five components to your course grade (see Specific Course Requirements). Your course grade will be determined as follows: 1. 20%: Class participation (Discussion Board postings and discussions, instructor-student chats). 2. 20%: Eleven weekly online chapter quizzes. 3. 20%: The midterm analysis essay. (Plagiarized essays will result in a grade of "0") 4. 20%: The field experience report. (Plagiarized reports and/or interviews will result in a grade of "0") 5. 20%: The final exam. The course average is based on 100 points.

Grading Scale:
      A    93-100
      B    83-92
      C    70-82
      D    60-69
       F  Below 60


Assignments and Projects:

See the Assignments Page for your instructor's Course Schedule. The first week of the semester will be used for students to become familiar with D2L and to become acquainted with the instructor and each other. In General, the course Assignments, Participation, and Projects are summarized below:

1. Read the assigned chapters in your textbook and the corresponding materials in the Course Modules. Each chapter in the textbook is matched to a Course Module of the same number. For example, Chapter One in your textbook corresponds with Module 1 on the Course Modules Page. Check the Course Calendar for the chapter assignment.

2. Take the optional Practice Test for a review of the material and then take the required Chapter Test by the end of the week. Only the score on the Chapter Test will count towards your course grade. Your score on the Practice Test will be posted on your Grades Page, but this score will not count. Check the Course Calendar for test deadlines.

3. Class Discussion Questions will be posted at the first of each week that correspond to the chapter assigned. Sometimes a follow up question will be posted midweek. Check the Discussion Page for the question.

4. A Midterm Analysis Essay is required. The essay is due at the approximate midterm point of the semester. Check the Course Calendar for the exact due date. 

5. A Field Experience Report is required. This report consists of an account of a visit to an event or service that is not of our religious tradition. For example, a student from the Christian tradition might consider a visit to a Hindu temple, a mosque, or a synagogue. With the permission of your instructor, a student of one religious tradition may be permitted to visit a denomination of the same religious tradition if no alternative exists.Under this condition, for example,a Southern Baptist student may be given permission to visit a Roman Catholic Church. Students should inform the instructor of the location of the planned visit for suggestions on how to behave and/or observe. The report is due approximately two weeks before the end of the semester. Check the Course calendar for the exact due date.

6. An online final exam is required. Check the Course Calendar for the fina exam test period and deadline.

Class Participation:

Students are expected to communicate with other students via the Discussion Board and/or by email. Students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource. Communication with the instructor may be done using D2L email or the instructor's college email when necessary. Students must check the course Discussion Board frequently for announcements and discussion question topics. Students must actively participate in threaded discussion events. Student responses to each chapter discussion question will be evaluated and count as 20% of the course grade.

Late Policy:

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on July 26, 2018