Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Course Syllabus

Be up-to-date with this reading and study schedule and you will be ahead of lecture, and thus certain to get good grades. Do not stay up-to-date and the opposite will be true. The Mid-Term and Final Examinations will exclusively test weekly lecture material: the Examinations are designed to reward fidelity to this schedule and class punctuality and attendance.


May 28th       Introductory
June 4th        Buddhism--Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
June 11th      Buddhism--Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
June 18th      Islam--Monica Ali, Brick Lane. Group Project Proposal due.
June 25th      Islam--Monica Ali, Brick Lane
July 2nd        Mid-Term Examination
July 9th         Class Selection of Religion
July 16th       Atheism--Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code
July 23rd       Atheism--Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code
July 30th       Christianity--Douglas Copeland, Hey Nostradamus!
August 6th    Christianity--Douglas Copeland, Hey Nostradamus!
August 13th  Final Examination

Nb: “For purposes of the Class Participation Grade, attendance and punctuality in seminar and at lecture, as well as contributions to discussion, and ongoing Twitter participation, are necessary conditions.

The course format will include lecture, discussion, and both individual and group activities.

20% Productive participation
20% Mid-term Examination
25% Group Online Project
35% Final Examination

n   Course Learning Outcomes & Competencies
Upon successful completion, the student will be able to do the following:
  • Define the term “religion” and understand its relation or non-relation to the concept of “God.” 
  • Display working understanding of classical dialectic and functionally apply dialectics to accrue dispassionate knowledge. 
  • Comprehend the unique place of literature in the range of human intellectual capabilities; appreciate the special quality of art, and the essential human cognitive function of imagination. 
  • Understand First Principles and their fundamental influence on civilizations and religions. 
  • Write a proper and effective essay using plain language and proper argument.
  • Articulate and defend a thesis about a specific topic, text or set of texts. Use various media to express a coherent argument.
n   Course Goals
The goal of this course is working knowledge of religion: its meaning, its history, its influences, and its significance. The student will learn the academic method of study: thesis, proof, and argument under the dialectical model. The ability to read, enjoy, and understand fiction will also be taught, and the unique quality of literature in the range of human knowledge will be learned and appreciated. While acceptance of other belief systems is not a course goal—or even a presumed advantaged—understanding and the possibility of charitable inter-religious communication is a plausible and laudable goal. “Honorable disagreement” sums up the direction of study. The course is also designed to significantly improve written communication skills and powers of analysis.

Nb: Should changes be required to the content of this course outline, students will be given reasonable notice.

n   Information for Students
·         Academic Honesty: As stated in BCIT Student Regulations Policy #5104, “academic honesty is expected and required by all students. This included ethical conduct, academic integrity, adherence to the facts, and trustworthiness.” You are required to be familiar with the plagiarism definitions and provision of this policy. Assignments will be checked for plagiarism. Anti-plagiarism software, Turnitin.com will be used. Incidents of cheating or plagiarism can result in a grade of zero for the assignment, quiz, test, exam, or project for all parties involved and/or expulsion from the course.
·         Accommodation: Any student who may require accommodation from BCIT because of a physical or mental disability should refer to BCIT’s Policy on Accommodation for Students with Disabilities (Policy #4501), and contact BCIT’s Disability Resource Centre at the earliest possible time.  Requests for accommodation must be made to the Disability Resource Centre, and should not be made to a course instructor or Program area. Any student who needs special assistance in the event of a medical emergency or building evacuation (either because of a disability or for any other reason) should also promptly inform their course instructor(s) and the Disability Resource Centre of their personal circumstances 
·         Attempts: Students must successfully complete a course within a maximum of three attempts at the course. Students with two attempts in a single course will be allowed to repeat the course only upon special written permission from the Associate Dean. Students who have not successfully completed a course within three attempts will not be eligible to graduate from the appropriate program.
·         Attendance: The attendance policy as outlined in the current BCIT Calendar will be enforced. Attendance will be taken on calculated weeks. Students not present at that time will be recorded as absent.
·         Conduct: Consideration of others as reflected by language and demeanour that encourage reasoned discussion is expected. Negative, inconsiderate, disruptive behaviour and non-professional, offensive language are inappropriate and unacceptable; see BCIT policies covering harassment, discrimination, and conduct.
 n   Assignment Details
·         Assignments must be done individually unless otherwise specified by the Instructor. Hard copies of take-home assignments are required and are due at the beginning of the class specified. They should be neatly word-processed on 8.5 x 11" unlined white paper. Take-home assignments should follow APA or MLA format guidelines.
·         Assignments received after the deadline will receive a grade of 0% unless accompanied by written documentation of medical incapacity or personal bereavement. For bereavement exemption, a scanned copy of the Order of Service or published notice of death accompanied by proof of relation is required. For medical exemption, a signed letter, on letterhead, (i.e. not a doctor's note) is required from a physician or surgeon stipulating that a medical condition prevented work on the assignment over the full period in which the assignment was active.
·         There will be no makeup tests, exams or quizzes. You must complete all assignments to be eligible to pass the course. If corrections are required, you must make them and resubmit the assignment in order for the grade to be recorded. Keep a hard copy of all take-home assignments. Under no circumstances can you submit the same assignment twice or submit an assignment you have prepared for another class.
n   Meaning of Grades
For students, the grade on an assignment is sometimes disappointing. For Instructors, determining the appropriate grade is often challenging. The central fact about assignment grading to keep in mind is that the Instructor can only grade what is there on the page: an Instructor cannot grade what was is the student's head at the time that the assignment was written. What the student thought, or wanted to write, intended to write, understood to be writing, and connected and assumed while writing (all the italicised words here are purely internal states of the mind) are simply not available to the Instructor to grade. Thus your grade is a reflection of the assignment that you hand in, not a grade of your intellectual quality, capacity, or potentiality. A grade is, to repeat, merely and entirely a grade of the assignment.
Assignments are seldom all good or all bad, so the virtues of a particular assignment must be balanced against its defects to determine the final grade. This process involves more than counting up the number of red marks and subtracting the total from 100. The following explanation will help you understand the meaning of your grades in this course for papers or essay-type quiz or exam questions (Edited from Judy Brown, Writing Effective Essays. Vancouver: Office of Distance Education and Technology, University of British Columbia.)

·         80-100% — Outstanding: This paper must be fully focused on the topic and consistently strong in its structure, content, expression, mechanics, and presentation. The paper should contain an original and credible argument in response to the assigned topic, and, if applicable, full documentation. Any significant errors of expression that detract from the paper's effectiveness would mean that the paper could not earn an “outstanding” mark.

·    68-79% — Competent: This paper must be well focused on the topic: its thesis must be well supported by convincing evidence, explanations, and, if applicable, full documentation. The paper's organization must be strong and clear; its thesis specific and significant. If the paper contains errors of expression, they must be occasional rather than chronic, and must not obscure meaning. The "competent" paper differs from the "outstanding" paper in the quality and level of argument, and may rely more heavily on materials and arguments raised in lectures and discussions.

·         50-67% — Adequate: A paper at this level is generally clear in its expression, but weaker in content than a paper at the “competent” level. Its thesis may be vague (but still on topic); its transitions may be inconsistent; its evidence may be occasionally unconvincing or incomplete. Language errors will be more frequent than those at the “competent” level, but will not be so serious or so chronic that they make a paper difficult or impossible to understand.

·    0-49% — Inadequate: A paper at this level will suffer from one or more of the following serious flaws: it may be off topic; it may lack a thesis; it may lack clear and adequate development and paragraphing; it may be deficient in the presentation of evidence; it may contain serious and repeated errors in sentence structure, diction, and grammar — errors that obscure meaning.

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