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UNIV 3565 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

UNIV 3565 - Comparative Christianity

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

The topics studied in this course include:

  • Commonality in Christianity
  • Major turning points in Christian history
  • The tradition's variety of subgroups, starting with the three great groupings: Eastern Christianity, Roman Christianity and Protestant Christianity
  • Examination of the future of Christianity
Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • Identify what all Christians have in common.
  • Explain the three great Christian traditions: Eastern, Roman and Protestant Christianity.
  • Describe some major events in Christian history.
  • Summarize the phenomenological/sociological approach to examining religion.
  • Develop an appreciation and understanding for a common Christian tradition as well as for the rich diversity of this ancient community.
  • Become more tolerant of different religions and different cultural forms.
  • Meet adherents of particular religious traditions and to observe their religious practices.
  • Hypothesize about Christianity's future.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:


Course Topics:

Since course topics follow an order, students should stay with the sequence listed below.

  • Student introductions and reasons for taking this course.
  • What do all Christians have in common?
  • Major Turning Points in Christian History
  • Eastern Christianity
  • Oriental Christianity
  • Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Roman Catholic Christianity
  • What do all Protestants have in common?
  • Ways to divide Protestants
  • The five largest Protestant groups
  • Churches, sects and cults
  • Traditionalists and modernists
  • The Future of Christianity
Specific Course Requirements:

This course includes readings, discussion postings, 2 visits, 2 tests and a research paper. Instructions for each can be found later in this syllabus.

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:

There are no supplementary materials for this class.

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:

This class has 26 required discussions, 2 tests, 2 visits and 1 research paper. There is no Midterm or Final Exam in this course. There are no proctored tests in this class. Instructions for all written assignments and exams can be found in this syllabus under Assignments.

Grading Procedures:

Grades for written papers and tests are determined based on 50% content and 50% grammar and writing.

Grading Scale:

Grades for each test and visit

A135 - 150 points
B120 - 134 points
C105 - 119 points
D90 - 104 points
F89 and below points

Grades for research paper

A180 - 200 points
B160 - 179 points
C140 - 159 points
D120 - 139 points
F119 and below points

Students are required to participate once in all 26 discussions by the required due date by 11:59 PM CT.

Discussions will be held during Modules 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 15.

When averaging a student’s final grade, 6 discussions will be dropped and the remaining 20 will be added together at a maximum of 10 points apiece for each discussion. There is a maximum 200 points in total for discussions.

Please post discussion comments in the discussions area.

Grading for discussions

1 on-time credible posting10
1 late credible posting, 1 less credible posting5
no posting0

A credible posting is defined as one that provides thoughtful, reflective comments related to the subject of the discussion. It is also written well and is respectful of other postings and fellow students. A non-credible posting is a one that responds with minimum effort, such as “I agree with Bill.” 

Graded Items

DescriptionMaximum Points
20 Discussions, @ 10 points each200 points
2 Visits, @ 150 points each300 points
1 Paper, @ 200 points200 points
2 Tests, @ 150 points each300 points
Total Points1000 points


Assignments and Projects:

Assignments and Projects:
This class has 26 required discussions, 2 required tests, 2 visits and 1 research paper.

There is no Midterm or Final Exam in this class.

Students are required to visit 2 religious traditions and submit a Visit Report for each by the end of Modules 4 and 11 at 11:59 pm CT. Each visit report counts 150 points. Please submit your visit reports to the dropbox.

Instructions for the visits are as follows: In order to better appreciate the religion discussed in this class, you are required to make 2 visits to Christian churches/groups. There are limits to what we can learn about religious communities from books, lectures and class discussions. The sights, smells and sounds of a religion in action are just as significant.

You can only visit 1 group from each of the 3 major divisions of Christianity (Eastern Christian, such as the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic Christianity and Protestant Christianity). Write at least 3 typed pages for each visit, 12 size font, double-spaced, in which you discuss:

  • Full name, address and religious affiliation of group
  • Date and time of Visit
  • Name and type of service attended
  • Name and role of person spoken with


  • Describe the facility outside and inside
  • Describe the congregation--ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, age, number present
  • Describe the service attended: include as many beliefs, lifestyle issues, rituals and institutions as you can

Compare and contrast the two groups visited by discussing 2 similarities/differences between groups in the 2nd paper.

Personal Reactions

  • Tell me how you feel about the service attended. Say more than "I really liked it" or "I really disliked it."
  • Tell me why you had the reactions you did. Do not say "I do not have any reaction."

Other Guidelines

  • Students cannot visit their own religious group
  • Students cannot visit a religious group they formally attended
  • Students can go with a friend/spouse/significant other
  • Students can go to an alternative service (It does not have to be the main Sunday AM service.)
  • Students must have a conversation with a member
  • Students must visit 2 of the 3 major divisions of the Christian faith (Eastern, Roman and/or Protestant)
  • Students cannot make visits to only 1 of the 3 divisions even though there are many choices with that
  • division
  • Students should check the web or ask friends and/or work colleagues about where to go.
  • Students should feel free to ask the instructor for any tips on the visit or with where to go.

Test Instructions:
There are no tests that need to be taken with proctors in this class.

Students must submit 2 of 3 offered essay tests in Modules 5, 8 and 13 by 11:59 pm CT. Each test is worth 150 points.

Test Requirements:
Provide a 350 word response per question using 12 size font double-spacing. Please submit your tests to the appropriate dropbox.

Research Paper Instructions:
Students are required to submit a 6-8 page term paper on an approved subject at the end of Module 14 by 11:59 pm CT. This paper is worth a maximum of 200 points.

Paper topics need to be approved by the end of Module 3 by 11:59 pm CT. Please submit your topic via the E-mail tool provided in this course.

Instructions for the Research Paper are as follows:

Students are required to submit a research paper based on an approved topic related to the overall course topic—Christianity. Some suggestions here are a particular Christian group, leader or issue. You may do something related to Christian history and/or a Christian theological idea.

This paper should be at least 6-8 pages in length, double-spaced, 12 size font.

Students may submit rough drafts at any time up to the end of Module 13 if they wish for my critique. This critique is not required and will not impact the student’s final grade.

Submit your research paper to the Research Paper dropbox.

Other Specifics:

You will need to include a bibliography of at least 6 sources. Your textbooks do not count towards this 6. Use MLA or APA format.

Your paper should include approximately 1 citation per page, either as endnotes, footnotes or as a simple source notation at the end of the citation, using the following format: the actual quote“ (author, title, page number). 

Class Participation:

It is assumed that students will participate actively in all discussions and they will turn in all assignments and discussion postings by their due dates. Online courses require at least the same amount or preparation and study time as traditional campus courses. As an example, for a three credit hour course you should expect to spend at least 45 hours over the semester accessing the course materials plus additional time for completing assignments, papers, and exams.

Late Policy:

Students may submit late written papers and tests if they receive the instructor's permission to do so prior to the due date of these assignments. Full credit will be given for approved late submissions. Unapproved late submissions will be docked points. They will be awarded on time grades and then points will be deducted as follows:

1 day late 10 points
1-2 weeks 15 points
2-4 weeks 20 points
5-15 weeks 30 points

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 April 28, 2017