An ONLINE Course





  1. Tests of Preparedness for Online Courses

  2. Course Description

  3. Sample Weekly Schedule

  4. Contact Information

  5. The 10 Myths About Online Education.

  6. Student Reviews

Spring 2002  

1.Tests of Preparedness for taking Online Courses

You might want to go to the sites below and read about online courses and take the tests to determine how prepared you are to take online courses.


2. Course Description

SS 620 Philosophy of Religion   

Central concepts in religious thought, such as God, faith, and immortality; problems of religious knowledge and revelation. Problems connected with the relation of theology and philosophy discussed with reference to selected medieval, modern, and contemporary texts.   

All work in this course is conducted online through computers and the internet.  There are NO class meetings with the professor..



 To enable a student to: 

  1. Become familiar with a variety of the worlds living religions and be able to compare and contrast some of their features

  2. Have some understanding of the findings and theories of the sciences concerning religion and the current status of the relationship of science to religion

  3. Have an understanding of the traditional arguments based upon reasoning for the existence of a deity, a supreme being and the weaknesses and values of those arguments

  4. Have an understanding of the traditional arguments based upon experience for the existence of a deity, a supreme being and the weaknesses and values of those arguments

  5. Have an understanding of arguments for the existence of a soul and theories of the after life along with an understanding of their weaknesses

  6. Have a critical understanding for the nature of religious language

  7. Have a critical understanding of the relationship of reason to faith

  8. Have an understanding of the relationship of Religion to ethics, the foundations of the moral order for any society

  9. Have a critical understanding of what the essence of religion might be

  10. Develop skills of critical analysis and dialectical thinking.

  11. Analyze and respond to the comments of other students regarding philosophical issues.


The course is divided into 8 Modules, and each module contains 2 or more chapters from the textbook. Modules may last from one to three weeks.

The following learning activities apply to each module:

1. Read the assigned textbook material.

2. Respond to discussion questions submitted by the instructor. At least to 4 questions in each module.

3. Create and submit a discussion question about the material. At least one in each module.

4. Respond publicly to some or all of the questions submitted by other students.

5. Reply to students who respond to your question and responses. 

Virtual Seminars/Discussions

In every module you will find a "Virtual Seminar." A virtual seminar is like a class discussion. Here, for each module and topic, you are expected to reply to questions from the instructor, you will ask a "critical thinking" question about some topic in the chapter, get responses from other students, and reply to those responses. Here too, you will answer the questions posed by other students, and they will reply to your answers. You are welcome to keep up this "virtual discussion" as long as you wish. The idea here is for each student to join in and to lead a discussion with the other students about some important issue introduced in the chapter.

This is the heart of this course as far as your instructor is concerned. It is here that the process of philosophy will be in evidence. It is here that you get an opportunity to DO PHILOSOPHY. This is the component of this online course that fosters the dialectical process of inquiry that is the heart of Philosophy. 


Upon completion of each module there is an essay question. These questions are my way of testing your understanding of the texts and Virtual Seminar/Discussions for that module. You will know what the questions or topics are at the start of each module. You should post your essays during the 2-day "window" that is established for submissions, not before. Unlike your responses to the discussion questions posed by me and the other students, you will submit your essays just to me, not to the whole class. You need to consider these essays as "take-home, open-book essay exams", which require well-organized, thorough responses. 

Talk with the Professor

In each module there is a "Talk with the Professor" area. Here I will ask questions which each student should respond to. Also, you may ask me questions, which I will respond to. Most often, I expect these questions (mine and yours) will be related to the discussions or the textbook - but nothing is "off-limits." 

Ask a Question

Most documents you will be reading On-Line have a "Ask a Question" button at the bottom of the page. When you use this button, it creates a discussion thread that the professor and other students can participate in. It is the equivalent of "raising your hand" in the classroom. 


1. Class Participation & Discussion: 16%

2. Critical Analysis Essays (Papers) : 52%

3. The Quality of Your Discussion Threads: 32% 


There is a great deal of material presented in an online textbook. All of the assignments can be completed by reading the materials on the internet.  However, if a learner prefers to have a printed paper text in addition to or instead of the online material,  the two texts below are very good.  The Philosophy text by Pojman would be good for everyone in the course to have.
Schmidt, Roger, et al;   Patterns of ReligionBelmont, CA.:Wadsworth, 1999.       ISBN 0534 506 496
Patterns of Religion
by Roger Schmidt, Gene C. Sager, Gerald Carney, Julius J. Jackson, Kenneth Zanca, Albert Muller, Julius Jackson

Our Price: $67.95     
Used Price: $43.75

Availability: This title is currently on back order. We expect to be able to ship it to you within 3-5 weeks.

       Click here to order from


Pojman, Louis P. Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology.     3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1998.

ISBN 0-534-52956-9

Philosophy of Religion: An Anthology
by Louis P. Pojman (Editor)
                     Our Price: $75.95  Used Price: $42.50

Availability: This title usually ships within 4-6 weeks. Please note that titles occasionally go out of print or publishers run out of stock. We will notify you within 2-3 weeks if we have trouble obtaining this title.

                          Click here to order from

Try also these sites for the lowest prices available                              

d. The other readings are the lessons and students contributions to the class in the discussion areas and the professor's contributions to those discussions. 


In a fifteen-week semester (Spring and Fall) the workload for this course would be 12 to 15 hours per week.  This includes all the reading, writing, and dialogue with your instructor and fellow students. 

In the SUMMER SESSION with only 8 weeks from May 29th to July 23rd the workload in effect is double that of the regular 15-week semester.  It requires 24 to 30 hours per week to successfully complete this online course. 

This requires a serious commitment on the part of the learner.  You can access the course at any time from any computer with an Internet connection.  However, you must put in the effort, the labor, the work needed to meet the course requirements and obtain a passing grade. 

The course can prove to be a lot of fun for those who take it seriously and keep up with the workload.  For those who are unable to put in the time and fall behind the course could prove to be quite horrible. 

PLEASE consider carefully what time you have available for this course.  If you decide to continue on in the course, I look forward to “seeing” you online.