Philosophy 103 - World Religions - Late Start Fall 2017

Taught over the World Wide Web!!!!

PHL 103 begins on September 11th
PHL 103 web class ends December 17th
Nothing can be submitted after 10 PM on December 17th

No on-campus orientation, and no on-campus tests

Dr. Michael Fuller - Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
Office - Humanities Building, room 140 at Flo. Valley
Office Phone: (314) 513-4375 [secretary’s phone!!]


You will submit homework and take tests in this class through the Blackboard Website

St. Louis Community College Blackboard Help Desk for Blackboard related issues. * Toll Free: 1-866-822-8748

Students in this courses absolutely must use their new email account. Failure to do so will result in students not receiving important information about the course and official communication about add/drop dates, financial aid information etc. from the college. Go to this website for further instructions:

Email address:

Office Hours: Friday afternoon 3 to 4 pm BUT definitely email for an appointment as I am often doing fieldwork.

Purpose of the Course:
An orientation course, examining the nature and function of religion in human experience and culture, and an introduction to the history, content, and present status of selected world religions, such as Traditional African religions, Traditional Native American religions, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and New Age religions.

Purpose of this class:
To think, reason, analyze, decide, discern and evaluate. These are the goals a liberal arts education.


"Required" Purchases? Zero...Nothing to buy in the bookstore!


On-line readings (think of it as a free Textbook):

All readings for the class are embedded within blackboard. You can read them on-line, download them to an electronic reader device such as the iPad, or you can print them out if you want a hardcopy. They can not be printed at the college.

You will be reading selections from these books:

Abdul Rauf, Imam Feisal
2004 What's right with Islam : a new vision for Muslims and the West. Harper, SanFrancisco.

Fuller, Michael and Neathery Fuller
2007 Greek and Roman Religion. in Religion and Culture: An Anthropological Focus. Second Edition. Edited by Ray Scupin. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Grayling, A. C.
2010 "Religion" in Ideas that Matter: The concepts that shape the 21st century. Basic Books, New York.

Hiltebeitel, Alf
2005 "Hinduism" in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Second edition. Edited by Lindsay Jones. McMillan Reference, Detroit.

Hockings, Paul
1968 On Giving Salt to Buffaloes: ritual as communication. Ethnology 7:411-426.

Hockings, Paul and John Beierle
2004 "Badaga" in Electronic Human Relations Area Files. New Haven, Yale University.

Östör, Akos
1980 The play of the gods: locality, ideology, structure, and time in the festivals of a Bengali town. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Prothero, Stephen
2010 "Judaism: The Way of Exile and Return" in God is Not One. HarperCollins Publishers, New York.

Raudvere, Catharina
2011 Popular Religion in The Viking World. in the Viking World. Edited by Stefan Brink. Routledge Press, London.

Smart, Ninian
1998 "Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union" in The World's Religions. 2nd edition. Cambridge University.

Tinker, Tim
2010 "Indians of the Plains" in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition. Edited by Lindsay Jones. Thomson - Gale Publishers, New York.

Turnbull, Colin
1962 The Forest People. Simon and Schuster, New York.

Young, Wlliam A.
1995 "Theravada Buddhism: The Middle Way" in Worldviews and Contemporary Issues. Prentice-Hall Inc.

YOU WILL do significant reading, but not from a paper textbook.

Streaming Videos and Audio that you will be required to study:

Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World (1985) - films on demand

WPA Film Library: Hopi Indians Ritual Dance (1932) - films on demand

Torn - Recovering California’s Stolen Cultural Heritage - PBS (2014)

Religion in Hindu India (2002)- films on demand

The Life of Buddha (2003) - films on demand

The Vikings (1996) - films on demand

Jewish Law: in the Community (2004) - films on demand

Beliefs and Culture: Faces of Islam (2010) - films on demand


1. We will use textbook readings, web resources, podcasts and streaming videos to study religion's impact on humankind's socio-political, historical, economic, and spiritual quest.

2. Understand how religions are formed and respond to change.

3. Recognize the beliefs and rituals of the world's major religions.

Equipment Requirements:

Specific hardware and software requirements are a functional PC or Mac and FIREFOX web brower to access the class. Why? Simply, other browsers give false results on the assignments! The computer can be at home, work or in the college library. The class includes approximately a dozen streaming videos.

Be aware that you must use the college provided student email account. It is the only way that I send you an email to you.

VERY IMPORTANT...Sign your name to every email that you send me. Even if sending it through blackboard! Always fill-in the subject heading of your email or the college spam filter will eat it.

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT....All discussion board submissions must be before the specific deadlines. Dicussion board comments must be intelligent and relevant.

CRITICALLY IMPORTANT....BE PREPARED before you take the 3 graded quizzes. Once you start a quiz, then you are taking it and can not back out or start again. BE SURE to click SUBMIT after you have taking a quiz or it will be voided by the computer system.

Calendar of Learning:

Dates Assignments

Sept 14 - 10 PM

Complete "Can I Pass This Class" Quiz to prove you did the START HERE assignment by 10 PM on September 14th

DO Essays 1a and 1b by September 17th

DO Tribal Discussion Board by September 24
DO Hindu Discussion Board by October 1st

DO Buddhism Dicussion Board by October 8th

Be sure and check the Blackboard website for the quiz 1 study guide.

OCT. 15

10 PM

Take Quiz No. 1 (40 questions).


Please submit your quiz BEFORE the deadline so if you have trouble with a submission you can do it again. Do not expect sympathy from me if you wait until the last moment and have a problem

DO Roman/Vikings Discussion Board by October 22nd
DO Judaism Discussion Board by October 29th

Nov. 5th

10 PM

Take Quiz 2 (20 questions)


Please submit Quiz 2 BEFORE the deadline so if you have trouble with a submission you can do it again. Do not expect sympathy from me if you wait until the last moment and have a problem

DO Chinese Religious TraditionsDiscussion Board by November 12th

- The last date to withdraw from this class is November 10th. Do not drop if you have a passing grade. Do drop if you did not take Quiz 1 or have skipped half of the discussion board assignments!

DO Christianity Discussion Board by November 19th

DO Orthodox Christianity Discussion Board by December 3rd

DO Islam Discussion Board 10 by December 10th

Be sure and check the Blackboard website for the quiz 3 study guide.

Dec 17

10 PM

Take Quiz No. 3 (40 questions)

Quiz 3 must be turned in by 10 PM. Grades are submitted immediately after 10 PM .

Please submit Quiz 3 BEFORE the deadline so if you have trouble with a submission you can do it again. Do not expect sympathy from me if you wait until the last moment and have a problem

The class has a total of 210 points possible.
100 points from Quiz 1 (40 pts) + Quiz 2 (20 pts) + Quiz 3 (40 pts)
- 100 points from 2 essays and 9 Discussion Board assignments
- 10 points from "Can I pass this Class" exam

Here is the grade scale:

190 to 210 points equals "A"
170 to 189 points equals "B"
150 to 169 points equals "C"
130 to 149 points equals "D"
below 130 points is Failing..

There are 3 Quizzes during the semester. You will have precisely 80 minutes to take a quiz in the Blackboard computer system. You get one chance to take a quiz. Don't goof it up!!!

Yes, each quiz is open notes. Not fair to have your mother take the quiz (mainly because she won't know the answers!!!).

Beware, if you go surfing for the answers, then that often crashes Blackboard and voids your test. That is very, very bad, because you will have to take an essay makeup examination. You do not want to take the makeup test!!! Makeup tests are far more challenging.

How can you prepare for a quiz? There will be reviews for each quiz posted in blackboard!!!!

Several assignments are discussion boards. Full credit for every Discussion Board will require you to make a main post and serious responses to two student posts. One sentence response posts are inadequate; they will receive a score of zero.

PS. The homework assignments calling for essays MUST reflect your thoughts. I run your essays through TURNITIN which will alert me to the unacceptable practice of Plagiarism. When you write an essay you will probably find supporting material for your ideas from works by others. It's okay to use the ideas of other people, but you do need to correctly credit them. If you cut and paste large quantities of their text, even if in quotes, that still reflects very little concern for your grade (which will be rock bottom).

ALSO.... I do not give incomplete or PR grades in my classes. Your grade options are A, B, C, D and F. I can not withdraw or drop you from this class. You must contact the Admissions/Registration office to withdraw or drop from this class. The college can require you to come to campus to drop the class. Late drops can only be done with a doctor's note or hospital report. Here is the information on campus admission/registration:

Florissant Valley
3400 Pershall Road
1st Floor Admin Bldg.
St. Louis, MO 63135-1408

Phone: 314-513-4244
Fax: 314-513-4724
M-Th: 8 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Expected Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

a. Students will learn about the evolution of religion over time. Students will learn about the founders, the core beliefs, and the development of religious institutions.

b. Students will learn about the specific historical, social, cultural context in which the major religions originated. Students will learn how the specific context affected the development of core doctrines.

c. Students will learn to understand beliefs that are common to religions and concepts that are different among religions. Students will develop an appreciation for alternative ways that people seek spiritual development and guidance. Students will discover the many elements that are common among religions of the world and also the ones that are unique.

d. Students will learn that freedom to practice one’s religions is protected under the constitution of the United States and Missouri.

e. Students will learn to appreciate the diversities and complexities of the cultural and social world, past and present, and come to an informed sense of self and others. Students will evaluate their ideas of self against those offered by other cultures.

f. Students will learn the cultural, social, and historical causes that resulted in the adoption of certain religious doctrines.

g. Students will understand how the teachings of the various world religions are relevant to contemporary social and ethical issues related to poverty, equality, justice, discrimination, and power.

h. Students will learn about the alternative scenarios of life and afterlife depicted in each religion, and understand how such depictions motive individuals and communities to behave in particular ways.

Academic Integrity
The College is a community of learning that requires an environment of mutual trust and integrity. As members of this community, students, faculty, and staff members share the responsibility to maintain this environment. Academic dishonesty violates it. Although not all forms of academic dishonesty can be listed here, it can be said in general that soliciting, receiving, or providing any unauthorized assistance in the completion of any work submitted toward academic credit is dishonest. Plagiarism falls into this category. Plagiarism results when you copy someone else’s work (whether or not it has been published) and submit it as your own without crediting the author. Any plagiarized assignment in this course will receive a ZERO for that assignment.

Keep track of your grades and ask me before doing anything rash about dropping the class.

HOSE ME DOWN AND I WILL FAIL YOU. Translation: you will be given a failing grade if you cheat on an homework, cheat on a quiz, or hack into any of the computer system

Here are rules for on-line ettiquette:

A. Avoid language that may come across as strong or offensive. Language can be easily misinterpreted in written communication. If a point must be stressed, review the statement to make sure that an outsider reading it would not be offended, then post the statement. Humor and sarcasm may easily be misinterpreted as well, so try to be as matter-of-fact and professional as possible.

B. Keep writing to a point and stay on topic. Online courses require alot of reading. When writing, keep sentences poignant and brief so that readers do not get lost in wordy paragraphs and miss the point of the statement. Also, do not introduce new topics; it may just confuse the readers.

C. Read first, write later. It is important to read all posts or comments of students and instructors within the course discussion before personally commenting to prevent repeating commentary or asking questions that have already been answered.

D. Review, review, then send. There’s no taking back a comment that has already been sent, so it is important to double-check all writing to make sure that it clearly conveys the exact intended message.

E. An online classroom is still a classroom. Though the courses may be online, appropriate classroom behavior is still mandatory. Respect for fellow classmates and the instructors is as important as ever.

F. The language of the Internet. Though still a fairly young type of communication, certain aspects of this form of communication are becoming conventional. For example, do not write using all capital letters, because it will appear as shouting. Also, the use of emoticons can be helpful when used to convey nonverbal feelings (example: :-) or :-( ), but avoid overusing them.

G. No inappropriate material. Do not forward virus warnings, chain letters, jokes, etc. to classmates or instructors. The sharing of pornographic material is forbidden.

Watch Video
Watch Video
Mind Your Manners: Etiquette for Web Courses
Duration: (3:59)
User: wtb2010gmail - Added: 5/10/10


In this class you can talk loudly and make funny noises. Be careful NOT TO spill food and drink on your keyboard. You can even wear inappropriate clothing when taking this class!!! I can't see you. What happens if your computer is old, slow or dead? Use a college computer in the college library! You need to wear appropriate clothing in the library, by the way.