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Introduction to Religious Studies


Introduction to Religious Studies Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D. Professor of Biblical Studies & Early Christianity John Carroll University * Introducing Religious Studies ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Religious Studies

Introduction toReligious Studies
  • Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D.
  • Professor of Biblical Studies Early
  • John Carroll University

Course Overview
  • Whos Who
  • Course Goals Pedagogical Philosophy
  • Anticipated Learning Outcomes
  • Course Resources
  • Course Policies
  • Assessments Grading
  • Required Assignments
  • Summary

Whos Who
  • Sheila E. McGinn, Ph.D.
  • Instructor
  • Tel. 216-397-3087
  • Office Admin B250e
  • Office Hours
  • See the course Blackboard or follow the
    Instructor link (above) for details
  • Teaching Assistant
  • See the course Blackboard for details

Philosophical Assumptions
  • Truth exists
  • The search for Truth is the purpose of education
  • The search for Truth is the search for God
  • The Truth can be known through human inquiry,
    asymptotically, by degrees
  • The Spirit of God aids those who seek the Truth
  • Meaning is not given it is constructed
  • Religious traditions are systems of meaning
    constructed by their participants under the
    influence of the Sacred
  • Every religious tradition claims to be a vehicle
    for coming to know the Truth
  • The Truth transcends any religious tradition

Pedagogical Assumptions
  1. Knowledge is not a given it is dynamic
  2. Banking data is not the same as learning
  3. People learn when they are actively involved
  4. People learn what they value
  5. Learners construct new knowledge in dialogue with
    what was previously known
  6. The job of the teacher is to help students
    learn the skills to enable them to build upon
    their existing knowledge (i.e., to be active

Course Goals
  • Students will learn how to
  • Dialogue with various religious traditions in
    light of contemporary issues
  • Find resources for research on religious
    traditions questions
  • Students will recognize that ALL meaningwith
    respect to ANY subject matter is constructed
  • Students will be able to explain the significance
    of this fact

Learning Strategies
  • Assignments that take advantage of many learning
  • Book learning
  • Field observations
  • Personal interviews
  • Various kinds of writing (analytical, creative,
    expository, reflective, research)
  • Group individual work
  • Class presentations podcasts

Course Policies
  • Attendance is mandatory
  • Civility, decorum, politeness is expected
  • E.g., dress code, eating, phone policies
  • Students are expected to
  • READ critically
  • Prepare daily discussions (These are GRADED.)
  • Follow The Chicago Manual of Style in all written
  • Give proper attribution to all sources
  • Help each other learn

Required Assignments
  • Preliminary Assessments (due immediately)
  • PreTest
  • Student Learning Goals Worksheet
  • Individualized Learning Contract
  • Learning Contract meeting with Instructor
  • Schedule a fifteen-minute appointment for
    sometime before our third class meeting
  • Decide what resources and strategies will help
    you accomplish your learning goals
  • Come ready to explain why you made these choices
    and how the specific strategies will enable you
    to achieve your learning goals
  • Monthly formal essay assignments
  • Term project
  • Occasional in-class writing
  • Occasional quizzes two exams
  • Summative Assessments
  • PostTest
  • Student Instructor evaluation of Individualized
    Learning Contract
  • Students course evaluation

Assessments Grading
  • Types of Assessments
  • Discussion sets
  • Instructor evaluation of written work (see
    Grading Protocols)
  • Peer evaluation of group work
  • Quizzes examinations
  • Instructor and student self-evaluation of class
  • Feedback for Instructor
  • Purpose of Assessments
  • Gather feedback for improvement of Student and
    Instructor performance
  • Reality testing of self-evaluation v.
    Instructor perception
  • Facilitate group process provide early warning
    system for problems
  • Frequency and timing of reviews
  • Daily (discussions)
  • Bi-weekly (quizzes/exams)
  • Monthly (Instructor feedback peer group
  • Twice/semester (class participation
  • Assessment process
  • Assessment forms

Course Resources
  • Syllabus Course Schedule
  • JCU Bible Web (http//
  • RL101 Web Blackboard site
  • Grasselli Library reference librarians Grading
    Protocols for each assignment
  • Writing Resources JCU Writing Center (OC207)

  • This course is an introduction to the academic
    study of theology and religion. As a course in
    methodology, it is not primarily intended to
    convey content but rather to teach you how
    scholars work in these two fields of study.
    Essential to this learning goal is the students
    active (hands-on) implementation of the
    different methods of study that are introduced in
    the course.
  • The course will prepare you to engage in further
    study in the fields of theology and religious
    studies, in subject-area courses where you will
    be using these methods to create knowledge in the
  • At least two contemporary world religions are
    used as examples for how such academic work is
    done, but this is not a course to teach
    everything you always wanted to know about
    world religions.