My Assumptions about Teaching, About World Religions, And About The Course
That you are interested in Religious Studies and eager to learn as much about it as possible in this course.
That it will be impossible to learn all that you would like to learn given the massive amount of relevant material and the time constraints involved.
That my job as instructor is to strike an appropriate balance between providing a common core curriculum and setting up structures that also allow you to study materials of personal interest.
That this course should help to set you up for future formal or informal study of world religion rather than being a survey that teaches you "all that you need to know."
That you appreciate that it is deeply unfair and indeed academically and ethically harmful to your classmates to engage in any cutting-and-pasting or other forms of plagiarism. I want to focus my limited time on helping students to learn rather than to detecting possible cheating, but will take appropriate steps if plagiarism or outsourcing is detected.
That digital learning presents both opportunities and challenges. In the case of the former, students are often provided not just with more flexibility than is the case with face-to-face delivery, but with the invitation to become more active co-designers of the curriculum. In the case of the latter, students are faced with the challenge of both establishing and then following their own disciplinary rhythms, while students and instructor alike often struggle to create a learning community. There needs to be sustained effort by all involved to promote the sense of connection.