Welcome to World Religions! I’m so glad you are here and I’m pleased to have you as a student. My name is Mr. Greg Soden, and I will be your guide through this course.
In this course, you will explore various religious traditions through the examination of history and traditions, literary analysis of religious texts, and cultural studies involving current events in religion.
This first module will introduce the major concepts and style for the course. Modules two through nine will follow a similar sequenced structure, each examining a different religion. Module ten will guide you through your final project.
You will begin each lesson by exploring a religion through a historical/traditions-based model, which provides a brief overview of some of the major concepts and historical people associated with that specific religion. As you study, keep in mind each of these traditions has a deep and complex history dating back centuries and examining the rich texture of this history in such an introductory course will often not be possible. As you study, think about things you know about these religions that the course does not cover. Additionally, we at Mizzou Academy encourage you to explore additional lines of inquiry related to the history, texts, and current events of religion.
The next section of each lesson will focus on analyzing a piece of literature associated with a particular religion. Some examples of texts you will read are The Bhagavad Gita, The Sermon at Benares, the Tao Te Ching, the Gospel of Mark, and more.
The final part of each lesson will be devoted to the exploration of two issues or current events showing how the religion is relevant, internally diverse (meaning views are different from person to person, even within a particular religious tradition), and changing in modern society. This approach is known as the cultural studies model.
The major goals of this course are to study religions and come to understand that:
- Religions are internally diverse
- Religions are dynamic and beliefs and practices can change throughout time
- Religions change with the culture in which it is practiced and cultures can also change to reflect the religions practiced
Let’s explore these in a bit more depth:
Outcome One: Religions are Internally Diverse. Within this course, you will likely be exposed to many ideas for the first time. When exploring ideas for the first time, it is important to remember these traditions are venerated and respected by people all over the world. For this reason, it is important to retain a climate of tolerance for the duration of this course. Given that all religions are internally diverse and changing at all times, we must move away from basic generalizations, such as saying “All Jewish people believe….” or “All Christians believe…,” and more towards asking questions that can be answered by different people in different ways. Answers to questions about people’s experiences practicing a religion vary for almost every person.
Outcome Two: Religions are Dynamic and Changing Throughout Time. Religions change with each passing year and century. For example, the King James Bible was written about 400 years ago and a lot of the language was relevant to early 1600’s English society. This version of the Bible was interpreted for its time and place, and is still being re-interpreted today.
Outcome Three: Religions Change with the Culture and Cultures Change with Religions. It is impossible to understand the complexity of a society’s culture without investigating religious participation within those trends. For example, Bible-themed cartoons regularly show up in The New Yorker magazine, the Bible is consistently cited on the floor of the US Senate or on election campaign trails, and groups such as the “Moral Majority” demonstrate how like-minded religious groups can make an impact on a nation’s social and political fabric.
With these goals in mind, let me say once again that I’m excited you’re here. Let’s investigate some religions of the world!
The objective of this course is that students will be able to:
- Describe the diverse perspectives of practitioners of specific religious traditions
- Analyze how religions change over time
- Examine religious traditions from an academic, nonsectarian perspective
- Discuss major world religions from social, political, and cultural perspectives
This course can be completed in as few as six weeks or take up to 6 months (180 calendar days). The six weeks are counted from the date of the first lesson submission and not the date of enrollment.
There are no required materials for this course.
The most up-to-date requirements can be found here:
- Computer Requirements
- Browser Requirements
- Proctoring Requirements
- Microphone (external or internal)
Additional requirements for the course are below:
- audio and video recording capabilities (e.g. smartphone, camera). You will be recording audio for some assignments.
Quizzes & Assignments
You should submit all assigned work in sequence (Lesson 1, then Lesson 2, etc.) Assignments for the course are listed at the bottom of this syllabus.
Quizzes are taken online. After you submit them, you’ll quickly receive a report on how you did. Unlike exams, you may use any assigned readings, your notes, and other course-related materials to complete graded quizzes and assignments. Please note that graded quizzes cannot be retaken.
Assignments may require you to submit your completed work in the form of a file (such as a text document, image, audio or video recording, or multimedia presentation) or a hyperlink for grading.
Reading and Using Feedback
After your work has been graded, you will receive a report that provides individualized feedback and comments on your work. Look carefully at what you missed and read any corresponding feedback. Then study the lesson materials to make certain that you can accomplish the associated learning objectives.
Each lesson provides step-by-step instructions on how to submit your work. Be sure to check submitted work carefully for errors (e.g. spelling, grammar, and punctuation) as they may result in points being deducted.
You are required to take two proctored exams for this course.
See the "About Exams" in the policies section for additional information on exams at Mizzou Academy.
Your final grade will be based on the number of points you earn on assignments and exams.
To pass the course, you must earn a minimum of 60 percent in the exams assignment group.
You will be able to see your exam percentage in the "Exams" column in your gradebook.
The following grading scale applies only to students who meet this standard:
After completing the course, unofficial transcripts will be available in the Tiger Portal. See this page for information on requesting official transcripts.
Getting Started Resources (Canvas and Other Resources)
View the content below to learn more about each of these elements and how they work in your Mizzou Academy Canvas course.
For more on navigating the Canvas interface, visit the Canvas Student Guide.
Here are some quick links to get you started:
- Canvas Student for Android
- Canvas Parent App for Android (All Users)
- Canvas Parent for iOS
- Canvas Student for iOS
- Canvas Help Resources (All Users)
- Conversations Overview (All Users)
- Notification Preferences (All Users)
- User Settings & Profile Picture (All Users)
- Assignments Overview
- How do I view Modules as a student?
- Where Are My Personal Files?
If you are on a mobile device, download the Canvas mobile apps. With the apps, you can access all your courses using the Canvas mobile app, "Canvas By Instructure." Go to Google Play to download the Android version and iTunes to download the iOS version.
Browser and Computer Requirements
Library, Writing, and Research Resources
Below are several useful library links. Click the images to go directly to the websites.
Citing Sources Interactive Module
The Citing Sources Interactive Tutorial to help you with learning how to cite your sources as well as inform you about what plagiarism is, what it isn't, and how to avoid it.
See the OWL Resource Website for additional help in citing sources and avoiding plagiarism.
Netiquette—short for "network etiquette" or "Internet etiquette"—is a set of guidelines for how to communicate appropriately on the web. As a Mizzou Academy student, you will be expected to follow these guidelines in your interactions with your instructor and fellow students.
- Be respectful. Online, as in life, the Golden Rule applies: Treat others as you would like to be treated. There are effective ways to disagree with someone without being insulting. Keep in mind that sarcasm can sometimes be misinterpreted.
- Use appropriate language. Avoid foul language and rude or vulgar comments.
- Use proper grammar and spelling. Typos and spelling mistakes are bound to happen, but excessive errors are distracting. Use a browser with a built-in spell checker if you need help!
- Respect others' privacy. Do not quote or forward personal messages or information without the original author's permission.
- Avoid plagiarism. It is never acceptable to copy and paste the work of others and call it your own. Be sure to cite your sources correctly.
For more about appropriate online behavior, view Show Me Respect: Tips for Thwarting Cyberbullying, Cyber-Harassment, and Cyberstalking from the University of Missouri's Equity Office.
In this video, you will learn more about assignments: what they are and how to submit them through Canvas.
For more on uploading and viewing assignments, visit Assignments in the Canvas Student Guide.
~~How to Submit Assignments as a File Upload
Your video must be one of the accepted file types and file size:
- FLV – Flash Video
- ASF – Windows Media
- QT – Apple QuickTime
- MOV – Apple QuickTime
- MPG – Digital Video Format
- MPEG – Digital Video Format
- AVI – Digital Video Format
- M4V – Digital Video Format
- WMV – Windows Media
- MP4 – Digital Video Format
- 3GP – Multimedia Mobile Forma
Canvas does not support media uploads larger than 500 MB.
~~How to Submit Assignments from Mizzou Academy Google Workspace
You may submit assignments using our Mizzou Academy Google Suite. Once you submit an assignment through Google docs, you can no longer make any changes to the document. Therefore, submit work after you have read the assignment directions and scoring information carefully, used the writing process to develop your work, and completed the final version.
For all written assignments, if your instructor has allowed Google doc submissions, please submit the entire document. Do not submit a link.
For media files (such as audio and video), links are acceptable.
In Google Drive Assignments, you can only submit one file for your submission. If the assignment requires more than one file, consider downloading the files and uploading each individually.
1. From within your Canvas course, navigate to the assignment you'd like to submit. Click on Start Assignments
2. Select the Google Drive tab
3. Before the first use, you will be prompted to sign into your Mizzou Academy Google account to authorize the integration. Click Authorize
4. Enter your Google username. Click Next
5. Enter your Google password. This will be the password that you set up when confirming your Mizzou Academy Google account. Click Next
6. Click Allow when prompted to allow Google Drive LTI by Canvas to access your Mizzou Academy Google Account
7. You are now ready to submit your assignment from Mizzou Academy Google Drive.
Select the file you wish to upload by clicking on the title > click Submit. This creates a Word document (.docx) version of your Google Doc.
8. Before you submit, make sure you have selected the correct file. To select a different file, click the change button . To leave an assignment comment to ask questions or provide additional feedback for your teacher, enter text in the Additional comments field . Otherwise, check to agree to End-User License Agreement  > click Submit Assignment 
~~How to Convert Word files to Google Docs
Some assignments will provide templates for you to complete, and the templates may be available as a Word file (.docx, .doc). Even though these .docx or .doc files are native to Word, it is possible to open them without owning the program. You can still work with Microsoft Office files even if you don't have Office installed by using Google Docs.
Open with Google Docs
- Navigate to in your Web browser. Log in with your Mizzou Academy Google account.
- Click +New > File Upload
- Navigate to the location of the Word document on your computer and select the file. Alternatively, you can drag and drop a file from your computer directly into the web browser for an easy upload.
- Once your file uploads, double-click to open the file in Google docs. Alternatively, you can right-click on the file, point to Open With on the context menu, and then select Google Docs.
- Select File > Save As Google Docs
- Google then converts the Word file into a Google doc and you can begin editing.
~~How to Convert Google Docs to Word or PDF
After you've finished editing your file, download and export your document back into a Microsoft Word or PDF Document format by selecting File > Download > select the Microsoft Word I.docx) or PDF Document (.pdf) option.
~~How to Print Files to PDF using Acrobat
View Print to PDF for instructions on how to print a file to PDF using Adobe Acrobat.
~~Submitting Assignments that use Turnitin
Turnitin is a plagiarism detection service that is integrated with Canvas. It allows instructors and students to view an Originality Report of written work or other homework assignments. The system is designed to facilitate feedback between instructors and students on written work.
The University of Missouri has a license agreement with Turnitin.com, a service that helps detect plagiarism by comparing student papers with Turnitin's database and Internet sources. Students who take this course agree that all required papers may be submitted to Turnitin.com.
Students who submit papers to Turnitin retain the copyright to the work they created. A copy of submitted papers is retained in a Turnitin database archive to be compared with future submissions—a practice that helps protect and strengthen copyright ownership. Use of the Turnitin service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on Turnitin's website at https://help.turnitin.com/Privacy_and_Security/Privacy_and_Security.htm.
Mizzou Academy uses Turnitin, which provides tools for assignments. One of these tools is the "originality check." Note that it is not called a "plagiarism detector." That is because ONLY an instructor can determine plagiarism.
For example, it could be that you get a 100% match (in red) on your submission. However, perhaps you are working in a group or your instructor had you submit something multiple times to different assignments within the same course. Or perhaps your class is filling out a worksheet, so all of the worksheet components would be "not original" but your content would be.
If you are concerned about any results that you are confused about, feel free to discuss this with your teacher.
Turnitin Guide - Accepted File Types and Size
Turnitin has restrictions on file types and size. The Turnitin Guide will outline things to consider before submitting a file, such as its size, word count, and format.
How to Submit a Turnitin Assignment in Canvas
There is no difference in how to submit an assignment with or without Turnitin enabled. You may choose to submit your assignment as a file upload or a file from the Mizzou Academy Google Workspace.
~~How to Record and Submit Audio and Video
Recording and Submitting
There are many ways you can submit audio and video recordings for a Mizzou Academy course in Canvas. Your course content may refer to Audacity. (Links to an external site.)However, you don't need to use Audacity to make an mp3 recording for your course. After all, there are many programs and apps on computers and mobile devices that will do just that!
View How do I submit a media file as an assignment submission for more information on how to submit media files.
Note: You can also submit assignments using files stored on third-party apps (e.g. Dropbox) on your mobile apps.
View the following Canvas Guides for additional information on how to record and submit audio and video files
- Android - record and submit audio, video or other attachments
- iOS: record and submit audio, video, or other attachments
- Desktop: record and submit audio or video file (Advanced editing can be done with Audacity.)
- Submit a file upload
- Submit via Website URL with YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, or other available Link
We do NOT allow you to submit .wav files.
~~How to Shoot Quality Audio and Video
The only way for you to present quality speeches (and other multimedia) to your Mizzou teacher is by uploading a video of yourself. Therefore, it's incredibly important that the audio and video quality is good enough that your instructor can see and hear everything clearly. You might all be in different environments using various types of cameras, so rather than attempting to teach you about specific cameras, we're going to concentrate on things like lighting, background, setup and stabilization, and audio.
Lighting and Background
Setup and Stabilization
Setting Up Your YouTube (Or Other Video) Account
Uploading a Video
- Click Upload in the upper right-hand corner of the screen
- Either drag & drop the video file into the box or click on the gray arrow to select it from your files. You will notice that the privacy box will already be set to unlisted based on your privacy settings
- This will automatically begin the upload once the file is selected, taking you to a new window:
- Make sure the title box is correctly filled out
- Descriptions and tags are usually left blank unless the video is public
- Thumbnails This is what viewers will see when they first pull up your video. You can choose from a few automatic image selections, or you can upload your image
- Once the video finishes uploading, processing, and you selected the titles/thumbnails, click "Done
- The link to share your video will appear. Copy and paste this link to turn in your video.
Getting Your Videos Into the Course: Uploading
If you are comfortable with recording video, transferring the file to your computer, and then uploading, this is the preferred method because some assignments (such as video journals) will have you recording multiple videos for one assignment. One problem you may run into is a camera that creates an incredibly large file. In such cases, you may need to convert the file to make it smaller.
Some cameras record videos that create very large file sizes. Depending on your internet connection, these larger files might have problems uploading. In these cases, you might need to convert the video to a smaller version. Look for a free video converter like Any Video Converter or Format Factory to help you.
Getting Your Videos Into the Course: Direct Recording
Canvas does allow you to record via webcam directly into Canvas. However, this will not be available when multiple videos are required. Another reason to shy away from this method is that if you have a hiccup in your internet connection or your computer freezes, your video will be lost, and you will have to rerecord everything. Just to save the hassle, it's better to either upload a file or provide a link to an unpublished YouTube video.
~~How to Scan and Upload Your Work
Some assignments may require you to scan your work and upload it to Canvas. Click on How to Scan and Upload Your Work to download a PDF file of this tutorial.
~~How to Configure Mac OS to Open .RTF Files in Word
Images may not appear if you open an .RTF file on a Mac using Pages or other text-editing software. The following image shows you how to configure your Mac so that it will automatically open .RTF files in Microsoft Word.
Quizzes and Exams
In this video, we'll show you how to take a quiz/exam in Canvas.
For more on taking quizzes and exams, visit Quizzes in the Canvas Student Guide.
NOTE: Read your Syllabus and the Quiz and Exam instructions for your course so that you are aware of the policies and how a quiz and exam is setup. The Quizzes link may not be in the course navigation menu in your course and only accessible by clicking on Modules and clicking on the pertinent lesson.
~~Suggestions for Taking Objective Examinations
What is an "objective examination?" Objective means that there IS a right answer (or answers), and you either get things right or wrong. An example is a multiple-choice quiz or exam. This section is here to provide you with tips on how to take objective examinations, or "exams."
Many people worry about how to do well when taking objective examinations. What does What follows are some simple suggestions that should help you to do your best.
What do you do when you know the answer? Silly question, right? You mark it!
What do you do when you don’t know the answer? This is what you want to hear!
- First, you need to remember that our quizzes and exams are based on the number of right answers out of the total possible. So you should answer every question, even if it’s a guess. There are four answer choices, so your odds when you guess are 1 in 4. That is, on average, you should get 1 out of every 4 guesses correct.
- How do you narrow the odds, to make them more in your favor? If you are able to eliminate one or more of the answers as definitely wrong, you have done just that. When you are guessing which answer is correct out of 3, then you could get one-third of your guesses correct. When you are guessing between two, you could get half of them right.
- What if you see an answer choice that you absolutely have never seen before? There is a very good chance it is a wrong answer, and you can eliminate it. Remember, you’ve read over and studied the material. Most of the time you will know if something doesn’t belong.
- Does the answer make sense? A correct answer always makes sense. Incorrect choices may, or may not. So if a choice does not make sense in relation to the question, it is probably a wrong answer.
- Do not spend a lot of time on a question that is giving you trouble. Move on, and come back to it later. Many times, you will find something in a later question or answer choice that helps you to select the answer to a question you skipped over. This is known as making the test work FOR YOU.
- Above all, relax! You have been over the material. It is all in your head. Just take a deep breath and go at it. YOU CAN DO IT!
Many students develop their own tricks to help themselves on objective tests. What you see above can assist you. But you may also rely on whatever works for you.
~~Suggestions for Taking Essay Exams
What!? I’m going to have to write!?
It is not unusual for people to be nervous about taking an essay exam. You will have to decide what the question means, search through the memory banks of your brain, recall information that relates to the question, and then write something that is well organized and clear. What follows are some tips that just might make this process a little less scary.
Let’s start with an essay question.
An essay question may be fairly short, perhaps only one paragraph. They may also be longer, requiring several paragraphs to answer. No matter how short, or long, the essay needs to be, the process is the same. As an example, we’ll use a topic that is “medium.”
The framers of the Constitution of the United States established the Electoral College system, which provides an indirect method of electing the President. This system should be changed to permit the direct election of the President, so the candidate who receives the greatest number of the popular vote to win election. Agree or disagree.
Great! Now what?
This may seem pretty long. But you need to remember that you do not have to deal with everything in the statement. The first thing you need to do is identify what you have to answer, and what you can ignore. The question statement is reproduced below, with the parts you have to consider highlighted.
The framers of the Constitution of the United States established the Electoral College system, which provides an indirect method of electing the President. This system should be changed to permit the direct election of the President, so the candidate who receives the greatest number of the popular vote to win the election. Agree or disagree.
While everything else in the question is relevant to the topic, you are being asked to support the Electoral College system (indirect election) or the popular vote (direct election).
Write down a brief outline of what you need to do. It would be best if you did this in order.
- Introduction: State your position. Do you agree or disagree. Give a preview of why you have chosen your position.
- Body Paragraph: Explain your first reason for your position. You might also want to state why the method you did NOT choose falls short.
- Body Paragraph: Explain your second reason for your position. Again, you could state why the method you did NOT choose falls short.
- Body Paragraph: Explain your third reason, if you have one, along with why the method you did NOT choose falls short.
- Conclusion: Restate your reasons for your position. This is when you drive your arguments home.
What are we saying here?
There is a very simple way to look at essay writing. No matter if the essay is one paragraph, or five, or ten. You do the same three things.
- Tell the readers what you are going to tell them (introduction).
- Tell them (body).
- Tell the readers what you told them (conclusion).
And in conclusion….
This process can be very helpful. You need to remember: you are probably not going to be expected to respond to every word in the essay topic. That’s why it’s important to identify what you need to consider. While essays from different classes will look different, the approach to them is pretty much the same. You can even practice this skill on your own, creating topics on things with which you are familiar. The more you practice, the easier it becomes.
One of the options that is now available to you is to use Examity (Links to an external site.), a 100% online proctoring service. This means that instead of finding someone in-person that can proctor your test, you can instead choose Examity.
Examity does charge a fee. The Examity link located at the end of the Online Proctoring Resources module allows you to be automatically logged in to schedule your exam and pay for proctoring. If you scheduled to have your test proctored with Examity, you will also use that link to log in to Examity to begin your exam.
Next, you will need to read the detailed directions and requirements before using Examity. Examity use is not mandatory; it is only an option.
The calendar video introduces you to the Canvas Calendar and shows you how you can stay organized by scheduling your own events.
Our academic integrity policy at Mizzou Academy is based on our values of ethical behavior, learning, and giving all stakeholders the benefit of the doubt. Collaboration, research, and technical literacy are vital 21st-century skills when combined with academic integrity.
Mizzou Academy's academic integrity policy is aligned with the University of Missouri’s academic integrity policy. The definitions of what constitutes "cheating" and "plagiarism"are posted on the Provost’s Advising Council’s webpage which can be found here: https://advising.missouri.edu/policies/academic-integrity.
Issues Involving Violations of Academic Integrity
If, when completing any of your assignments or exams for this course, you are found to have demonstrated cheating or plagiarism as defined above, this is a violation of academic integrity. At your teacher's discretion, violations of academic integrity may be subject to either or both of the following actions:
- receiving a zero for the assignment or exam
- receiving an F for the course
If you anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please let Mizzou Academy know as soon as possible. If disability-related accommodations are necessary (for example, a scribe, reader, extended time on exams, captioning), please contact Mizzou Academy.
About Exams at Mizzou Academy*
*This section describes the policies of exams at Mizzou Academy. This section only applies if you have exams in your course. See the section above to see if you have exams.
Your exams are online. It is your responsibility to schedule your exams.
During exams, unless otherwise noted, you are not allowed to navigate away from the exam or use any other resources. If you deviate from the exam guidelines without proper prior permission, it is considered cheating on an exam.
First, request approval for your proctor. Allow enough time (2 weeks) for our office to receive your request and communicate with your chosen exam site and proctor. Mizzou Academy has approved exam sites throughout the United States and around the world.
- Choose a proctor and make arrangements for taking the exam.
- At least 2 weeks prior to taking your exam, submit your proctor information to Mizzou Academy
- You will be sent an email notice indicating if your chosen proctor has been approved or denied.
- Arrive at your proctor’s testing site at the scheduled time with a photo ID. At testing time, you will log into your Mizzou Academy account and select the exam for your proctor to access and administer.
You can also schedule with an online proctor using Examity. Review the information in the "Getting Started Resources (Canvas and Other Resources)" section under the "Examity" panel. in the course syllabus.
Global Classroom Courses
If you are taking a global classroom course, work with your local teacher to identify your date of the exam and how you will be proctored. You do not need to request an exam date with the above form.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR EXAMS
- Complete and review all assignments.
- Review the learning objectives; make sure you can accomplish them.
- Be prepared to explain any key terms and concepts.
- Review all the lessons, exercises, and study questions.
- Review any feedback and/or comments on your assignments and previous exams; look up answers to any questions you missed.
Canvas and Technical Support
Canvas is where course content, grades, and communication will reside for this course.
- This course is mobile-friendly. Download the mobile apps on your iOS, Android device.
- Getting Started with Canvas
- View the Getting Started Canvas Guides.
- For Canvas, Passwords, or any other computer-related technical support create a ticket in Canvas or contact Mizzou Academy Support.
- How to Get Help in Canvas
- Mizzou AcademySupport Phone: +1 855 256-4975
- Tiger Portal login - https://education.missouri.edu/mizzou-academy/
- Mizzou Academy Email - MizzouAcademy@missouri.edu
The syllabus page shows a table-oriented view of the course schedule, and the basics of course grading. You can add any other comments, notes, or thoughts you have about the course structure, course policies or anything else.
To add some comments, click the "Edit" link at the top.