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Survey of World Religions

1 Carnegie Unit

Instructor Information:

Thomas Herrington

Instructor: Thomas Herrington

Instructor Information:

I love to learn; I love life and enjoy exploring the wonder all around.

I recieved my bachelor's degree at Ole Miss in history (which meant I was either unemployed or headed to grad school), a Master's from the University of Southern Mississppi in TESOL, a Specialist's degree from Arkansas State University, a Certificate of Chinese Studies from Peking University, and a sailing certificate to captain a 35' sailboat. I still regret not living on a houseboat, but that is my only regret.

I have a wife (Marni), two kids (Bryson and Carter), and a VW van (Milo).

I am older and fatter than the stock photo implies.

Contact Information:

  • Office: Online
  • Office Hours: 4:30 p.m. to midnight
  • Phone: 662-202-4911 (call or text)
  • E-mail:

During the course, feel free to use the message tool within Blackboard, email, and/or text to communicate. If you are unclear of an assignment, it is much better to ask for clarification on the front end rather than you spend time and effort to complete an assignment allthewhile doing it incorrectly. Although online instuction may seem a little disconnected from the instructor, it is my job to help you and instruct you as you make your way through this course.

If you have questions concerning the content of the course, you may contact the instructor directly using the email link in the "Email Your Instructor" tab. NOTE: Whenever sending email, please be sure to indicate your Course title and number in the subject line (ie, German 1.). Replies to your emails will go to your email account, so be sure to check it frequently.

For technical problems, lesson or test administration issues, please contact the UMHS office:

University of Mississippi High School
P. O. Box 1848
University, MS 38677-0729

Phone: 662-915-1296
Fax: (662) 915-5138

Course Description:

This course is a critical survey of the worldís major religions, including, but not limited to, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Both the philosophical and socio-cultural manifestations of these religions will be studied. Particular attention will be given to the basic tenets, history, values, and impact of each religion on the development of the major world civilizations. This course will ask fundamental questions about the role religion plays in the human experience. It also asks the same fundamental questions about each religion covered, centering on the way religions respond to basic human needs and abstractions concerning purpose, morality, justice, and fulfillment.

Textbook Information:

Optional Textbook:

Image of text book that is optional

Optional Textbook: This textbook is not required, but if you would like supplemental reading for the course it is helpful.

Molloy, Michael. Experiencing the World's Religions: Tradition, challenge, and change. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2010. Print ISBN 0-07-340750- or 978-0-07-340-750-0.

It is your responsibility as a student to order your textbook. Online textbook retailers such as,, or usually provide used textbooks at economical prices.

You must make sure you are ordering the exact book required in this syllabus.

Course Objectives:

Objectives include (but are not limited to):

Course Outline:

This course will be delivered through presentations, articles, and videos in order to tap into student independent discovery and study. Students are encouraged to approach this subject with an interest to discover new things about different ideas, cultures, people, and places.

Since this course deals with systems of belief that are held in high regard and these beliefs are different from each other, it is highly probable that each student will find information that they agree with and disagree with. As a result, the course is designed that all students will be able to respectfully discuss the different religions in an academic manner. That does not mean students cannot disagree - of course they can - but if and when a student disagrees, it is necessary that the student present ideas in an academic manner and not in a manner that belittles or attacks.

Throughout the course, students will read articles, books, watch course related videos/video clips, and participate in class discussions. Each student is required to complete each assignment or the assignment will not be accepted and will receive a zero on it.

LESSONVideo and Reading Assignments
Due for Grades

Start Here

Syllabus and Orientation folder. NOTE: Once you complete the syllabus and orientation quiz, the rest of the lessons will become available to you.
Quiz, Pretest, Introduce Yourself discussion board

Defining Religion

How to study religion & Why study religion folders
Quizzes and Assignment

Similarities in Religion

Video-Similarities before differences & Philosophy, religion, and science; Reading-The world at our doorstep & Architecture in world religion folders
Quiz and Assignments

Indigenous Religions

Video-Indigenous religions - Common components, and World tour; Lesson Presentation; Reading-The Dakota Pipeline & Environmental Protest and Religious Revival
Quiz and Assignment


Videos-Intro to Hinduism & Discovery Education Video; Lesson Presentation; Readings-Web Crawl folder, PDF on beliefs, FYI:Swastikas, & PDF on Hindu concepts about God
Quizzes and Assignments


Videos-Intro to Buddhism (3 videos) & Discovery Education Video; Lesson Presentation; Readings-Web Search Buddhism folder, Mandala Project folder, & The spread of Buddhism
Quizzes and Assignment


Videos-Intro to Jainism; Lesson Presentations (3 ppt/mp4s); Readings-Web Search on Jainism folder & Description of Jainism


Videos-Intro to Sikhism; Lesson Presentation; Readings-Web Search on Sikhism


Videos-Daoism Part 1 & 2; Lesson Presentations; Readings-Web Search on Daoism


Videos-Intro to Confucianism; Lesson Presentation; Readings-Web Search on Confucianism folder & Confucius mini-biography
Quiz and Assignment


Videos-Shinto & Shintoism Documentary; Lesson Presentation; Readings-Web Search on Shintoism folder


Study and prepare for your first proctored exam
Proctored test


Videos-Intro to Christianity & Discovery Education & St. Peter's Basilica Architecture; Readings-Web Search on Christianity folder & Apostles Creed
Quiz and Assignments


Videos-Intro to Jainism; Lesson Presentations (3 ppt/mp4s); Readings-Web Search on Jainism folder & Description of Jainism


Videos-Crash Course Islam & Sunni and Shia (2) & Discovery Education; Readings-Sects within Islam & Web Search on Islam
Quizzes and Assignments

Literature & Art in Religion

Videos-Folktales & Laila Majnu; Readings-Book Review Samples folder & Additional Readings folder

Religion and Governments

Videos-Religion and Government; George's Legacy folder
Quizzes, Assignments, and Journal

Non-Religious Religions

Video-Non-Religious Religions

Religion and Science: Friend or Foe?

Videos-Neil DeGrasse Tyson & Science and Religion; Readings-Stanford Article & Useful Links folder

Final Project

Videos-Five Religions. This final project is comprehensive and is worth 20% of your total grade.

Post-Test/Exit Survey

Please take the post-test before continuing on to the final exam.

Final Project and Exam

Proctored exam covering the state recognized religions of Indonesia and Judaism. You get two attempts at this exam and the two attempts will be averaged, should you choose to utilize both attempts. Complete all previous assignments before taking this exam. Any assignments not completed before the exam is taken will receive a grade of zero.
Proctored test



93 - 100% = A
85 - 92% = B
75 - 84% = C
70 - 74% = D
Below 69% = F


The grading format is as follows:

Lesson Assignments: 50%
Proctored Course Exams: 30%
Final Project: 20%


In an Independent Study course, a student's reading comprehension and written communication skills become even more important than in traditional lecture courses because they are the student's primary means of receiving knowledge and demonstrating mastery of that knowledge. Accordingly, reading comprehension and written communication skills are necessary for success in this course.

Internet Access - You must have access to the Internet, preferably high speed, for the duration of this course. You'll need speakers or headphones and the download capacity to watch short videos. For the final project, you must be able to create and edit a short video.

Discovery Education Website: You'll need to create a free account on Discovery Ed to view some of the course videos. All you need for the Discovery Ed website is the school passcode number: 12FB-9DBB as you create your own login.

Start Here: You must get at least 80% on the Syllabus and Orientation Quiz for your lesson materials to appear.

Lessons: All of the course work will appear on the Lessons page as soon as you have achieved 80% or higher on the syllabus quiz in the Start Here area. You must complete the assignments in the order they appear. You may not skip quizzes, tests, or projects.

Quizzes: You have two tries at the quizzes and the highest grade counts. You can see your attempt(s) by accessing the quiz as you did while taking it, then clicking the attempt and then the score.

Lesson Assignments: Essays and projects will be uploaded to Blackboard dropboxes. To submit your assignment, click on the title of the dropbox and choose the Browse My Computer button to navigate to your saved file and select it.

Final Project: For this project, you will have to create a video that provides a short introduction about the five religions and details some differences and similarities between them.

Proctored Exams: there are two closed-book assignments to be completed in the school office or in the presence of your proctor. You will need to study to prepare for the exams. You may not use your textbook or any other resource during the exam. The exam on the Lessons page is a locked assignment. Your proctor will be given the access code to allow you to enter the exam.

To take an exam, please contact your proctor or our staff in the school office. You can email for any questions about scheduling an exam. Our staff will help you set up exam times, will help you arrange a proctor for your exams, and will give your proctor the codes for the exams.

ADA and Student Disability Services:

The University of Mississippi is committed to the creation of inclusive learning environments for all students. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your full inclusion and participation or to accurate assessment of your achievement, please contact the course instructor as soon as possible. Barriers may include, but are not necessarily limited to, timed exams and in-class assignments, difficulty with the acquisition of lecture content, inaccessible web content or the use of non-captioned or non-transcribed video and audio files. Students must also contact Student Disability Services at 662-915-7128 so that office can:

  1. provide you with an Instructor Notification form
  2. facilitate the removal of barriers
  3. ensure you have equal access to the same opportunities for success that are available to all students

For more information, please visit their website at

M Book: Academic Dishonesty / Plagiarism:

Academic Dishonesty is expressly prohibited by The University of Mississippi. See The University of Mississippi's M Book. This includes plagiarism and self-plagiarism. Plagiarism is not only prohibited by the university but it could also be a legal offense (ex: copyright, infringement, fraud, etc.).

  • Self-plagiarism is defined as re-using a paper written for another class and submitting it in whole or part for credit in another class, without obtaining permission from the instructor prior to the submission of the paper.
  • Plagiarism is harder to define, but it boils down to representing someone else's ideas as your own.

To be absolutely clear, copying from the Internet or your textbook or working with another person to answer questions is unacceptable. If it is determined that any student has violated this policy, the instructor will take the appropriate steps under The University of Mississippi's Academic Dishonesty policy. These range from failing the course to being suspended from The University of Mississippi High School.

If you have any questions about plagiarism please consult the web links below or contact the UMHS office.

Suggestions For Online Students:

Set aside a regular time for studying and preparing your lessons.

  • Submit the lessons at regular intervals.
  • Review constantly. Do not merely submit new material and permit the old to stagnate.
  • Note carefully the comments and corrected errors on the assignments that are returned to you. If you have difficulty understanding the corrections, never hesitate to ask for help.
  • Do not hesitate to contact your instructor about any difficulties you may have or any phase of the work you may not understand.

You can contact your instructor in one of these ways:

  • Contact your instructor directly via the Email Your Instructor link in the top left of the page and on the Lessons page.
  • Contact your instructor indirectly by sending a written message or email message to for the instructor. Your message will be promptly forwarded to the instructor.

Do not let unanswered questions keep you from getting the maximum out of each lesson.

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