Religious Studies 112

RELN 112
Survey of World Religions


1. Catalog Entry

RELN 112
Survey of World Religions

Credit hours (3)

This introductory course presents the classical expressions of the world’s most widespread and historically significant religions. Students will learn about the origins, foundational figures, scriptures, beliefs, and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Note(s): This course has been approved for Core Curriculum credit in Humanities or Global Perspectives.

2. Detailed Description of Course

This course introduces students to the world’s most widespread and historically significant religions, including but not limited to Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although several different instructors teach this course and may emphasize a variety of approaches to the subject matter, all instructors will cover the historical development, beliefs, scriptures, and practices of the major religions of the world. Such a course is inevitably cross-cultural and encourages students to develop a comparative perspective regarding religion both diachronically within a religion and comparatively across religions.

3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Though primarily a lecture course, this course will also involve students in small group and open class discussion and in a variety of formal and informal writing activities. Because this course is taught by several instructors, the specific format may vary, but in every case the course will involve a plurality of instructional strategies designed to engage students in doing philosophy not just learning about philosophers. Whether or not a formal research paper is assigned in the class, students will be expected to employ basic research skills, including the use of computer technology, to investigate and gather information on various topics and figures discussed in class. Among the teaching activities students can expect in this course are the following:
    1) Lecture and discussion led by instructor
    2) Small-group discussion
    3) In-class formal and informal debates
    4) Individual and group oral presentations
    5) Informal in-class and out-of-class writing assignments
    6) Journals
    7) Individual and collaborative research activities involving library and Internet searches
    8) Written and oral analysis of texts
    9) Written summaries/evaluations of out-of-class events
    10)Videos, slides, and multimedia presentations

4. Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students should be able to:
    1) Identify the major religious traditions in the world both past and present
    2) Trace the historical development of the beliefs and practices of these religious traditions
    3) Show an awareness of the geographical spread of these religions and the impact of diverse cultures upon their beliefs and practices
    4) Apply their knowledge and skills in order to understand religious traditions or expressions which were not covered in their formal
        study
    5) Demonstrate a comparative perspective with regard to the beliefs and practices of these religions
    6) Understand the relationship of religious and cultural differences to contemporary events
    7) Appreciate the importance of Religious Studies as a means to understanding humans as individuals and members of communities
    8) Appreciate the importance of Religious Studies as a means to understanding diverse cultures

CORE Curriculum Learning Goals
Students who complete RELN 112: Survey of World Religion in the University CORE Curriculum will also demonstrate competency in the following CORE Curriculum Goals:

Goal 7
Radford University students will understand that human experience has given rise to significant questions and be aware of the nature and methods of inquiry in the humanities.

Radford University students will:
    1) Identify principles, concepts, or developments crucial to inquiry in a humanities discipline;
    2) Recognize how a method of inquiry in the humanities can be applied to a disciplinary question.

Goal 11
Radford University students will understand how social and cultural (for example, political, historical, economic, environmental, religious, or geographic) forces shape experiences in the global setting.

Radford University students will be able to:
    1) Identify how different perspectives shape human life around the world.
    2) Recognize social and cultural forces that affect relationships between cultures in the world.

5. Assessment Measures

Student progress in achieving the course-specific objectives and the General Education goals established for this course will be measured in a variety of ways. Because this course is taught by several instructors, the specific assessment instruments employed may vary, but in every case the instructor will employ a number of the following methods to evaluate aspects of student learning:
    1) Graded and ungraded homework assignments may be used to measure the student's ability to read texts carefully, to identify
        underlying values and assumptions, to articulate central concepts, to analyze and construct logical arguments, and to employ
        basic research methods.
    2) Journals may be used to measure the development of self-reflection and progress in critical and creative thinking about the ideas,
        issues, and texts of the course.
     3) Class discussions, debates, and small group discussion may be used to measure the student's logical reasoning and oral
        communication skills as well as the student's ability to work with others in a shared process of inquiry.
    4) Individual and group oral presentations may be used to measure the student's understanding of particular philosophical positions or
        issues as well as the student's ability to present logical and persuasive arguments.
    5) Quizzes and objective tests may be used to measure the student's basic knowledge of the course material and the student's ability to
        read carefully and think with clarity.
    6) Essay exams may be used to measure the student's understanding of the nature and methods of philosophy, knowledge of the
        course material, ability to analyze and construct arguments, and ability to think and to write with clarity.
    7) Research reports may be used to measure the student's ability to employ appropriate research methods and technologies.
    8) Term papers may be used to measure the student's understanding of the nature of philosophical inquiry and knowledge of specific
        figures or issues addressed in the course, as well as to measure the student's ability to develop a sustained and persuasive
        argument, to think and write with clarity, and to demonstrate an appreciation of the significance of philosophy to his or her own
        life and concerns.

6. Other Course Information

None

Review and Approval
July 1991
May 1994
May 1995
January 27, 1997
April 17, 1998
March 31, 1999
September 18, 2001
June 20, 2015