World Religions: Exploring Diversity

Course Description:

Throughout the ages, religions from around the world have shaped the political, social, and cultural aspects of societies. This course focuses on the major religions that have played a role in human history, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shintoism, and Taoism. Students will trace the major developments in these religions and explore their relationships with social institutions and culture. The course will also discuss some of the similarities among the major religions and examine the connections and influences they have.

Course Details:

Course Title (District): World Religions: Exploring Diversity
Course Title (NCES SCED) : Comparative Religion
Course Provider : Michigan Virtual
Content Provided By : Florida Virtual School
Online Instructor Provided By : Michigan Virtual
Standards Addressed : National Collegiate Athletic Association
Alignment Document :
Academic Terms : Accelerated, Semester, Trimester
Subject Area : Religious Education and Theology
Course Identifier : Comparative Religion
Course Level : High School (Secondary)
Available Credit : 0.5
Sequence : 1 of 1

How To Enroll:

Enrollment Website :
Email : [email protected]
Phone : (888) 889-2840

Students and Parents: It is important to work closely with your local school counselor or registrar to follow the school's enrollment procedures. By clicking the "Start Registration Request" button below, you will be able to notify the school of your interest in registering for the online course. However, it is the responsibility of the district or school to review the registration request and approve or deny the request. Please make a note to follow up with your school after submitting a registration request.

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Additional Course Information:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe the definitions and characteristics of religion.
  • Analyze the roles religion plays in politics, diplomacy, social policy, culture, and artistic expression.
  • Evaluate, compare, and contrast the origins, beliefs systems, and impacts of major world religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Confucianism, Shintoism, and Taoism.
  • Examine the challenges the modern world poses to religion.
  • Make predictions about the future of religious practices.

iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Courses

Academic Content Standards and Assessments Rating Comments
The goals and objectives clearly state what the participants will know or be able to do at the end of the course. The goals and objectives are measurable in multiple ways. Partially Met Some of the objectives are not measurable. For instance, you cannot measure "consider" or "discovery."
The course content and assignments are aligned with the state’s content standards, Common Core curriculum, or other accepted content standards set for Advanced Placement® courses, technology, computer science, or other courses whose content is not included in the state standards. Fully Met Meets Social Studies standards
The course content and assignments are of sufficient rigor, depth and breadth to teach the standards being addressed. Partially Met There is a ton of content, but the assessments are mostly recall and lower level thinking questions.
Information literacy and communication skills are incorporated and taught as an integral part of the curriculum. Partially Met Discussion boards and critical thinking questions are present. However, most of the questions (Text and Critical thinking questions) do ask the student to synthesize sources, but basically just restating what is provided in the reading. The Critical thinking questions are related asking the students opinions and not evidence-based conclusions. The assignments seem to only ask the student to read and answer, generally, lower-level questions.
Multiple learning resources and materials to increase student success are available to students before the course begins. Partially Met Podcasts are provided for students, but there is not much variety in resources.
Course Overview and Introduction Rating Comments
Clear, complete course overview and syllabus are included in the course. Fully Met The course provides a syllabus and overview of the course and units. (Screenshot in folder)
Course requirements are consistent with course goals, are representative of the scope of the course and are clearly stated. Fully Met
Information is provided to students, parents and mentors on how to communicate with the online instructor and course provider. Fully Met Provided in the Michigan Virtual School (MVS) Blackboard learning management system (LMS).
Legal and Acceptable Use Policies Rating Comments
The course reflects multi-cultural education, and the content is accurate, current and free of bias or advertising. Partially Met Accurate and credible information and resources apparent, but lacks variety in multicultural sensitivity.
Expectations for academic integrity, use of copyrighted materials, plagiarism and netiquette (Internet etiquette) regarding lesson activities, discussions, and e-mail communications are clearly stated. Fully Met Provided in the Michigan Virtual School (MVS) Blackboard learning management system (LMS).
Privacy policies are clearly stated. Fully Met
Instructor Resources Rating Comments
Online instructor resources and notes are included. Not Met
Assessment and assignment answers and explanations are included. Fully Met
Accessing Course Effectiveness Rating Comments
The course provider uses multiple ways of assessing course effectiveness. Fully Met Students have the ability to rate the lesson as completed, student evaluation at end of course. MVU also has access to additional data regarding student success and satisfaction with courses.
The course is evaluated using a continuous improvement cycle for effectiveness and the findings used as a basis for improvement. Fully Met MVU instructors track information in the course issue tracker if an improvement is needed.
Course Updates Rating Comments
The course is updated periodically to ensure that the content is current. Partially Met The vendor (content provider) states that all courses are updated annually, however, no record of course version dates or statements of updated revisions could be located within course information.
Certification Rating Comments
Course instructors, whether faceto-face or virtual, are certificated and “highly qualified.” The online course teacher possesses a teaching credential from a state-licensing agency and is “highly qualified” as defined under ESEA. Fully Met All MVS instructors are certified in the state of Michigan, endorsed within their assigned content areas and grade levels, and highly qualified under state and federal guidelines.
Instructor and Student Support Rating Comments
Professional development about the online course delivery system is offered by the provider to assure effective use of the courseware and various instructional media available. Fully Met MVS instructors complete an onboarding course prior to teaching, annual professional development and conference attendance, participate in monthly department meetings, and are provided online resources for various instructional media.
The course provider offers technical support and course management assistance to students, the course instructor, and the school coordinator. Fully Met MVS instructors have access to a knowledge base with tutorials to assist them. Students also have a customer care center that offers technical support and course management assistance.
Course instructors, whether face-to-face or virtual, have been provided professional development in the behavioral, social, and when necessary, emotional, aspects of the learning environment. Fully Met Online instructors are provided with a sufficient amount of PD in various aspects as listed through monthly meetings, professional development seminars/conferences, and an onboarding course.
Course instructors, whether face-to-face or virtual, receive instructor professional development, which includes the support and use of a variety of communication modes to stimulate student engagement online. Fully Met Professional development fully prepares the instructor to use multiple, varied means of communication with and stimulating engagement of online students via synchronous and asynchronous communication.
The provider assures that course instructors, whether face-to-face or virtual, are provided support, as needed, to ensure their effectiveness and success in meeting the needs of online students. Fully Met Instructors are provided ample support through the help desk, policies and guidelines, discussion of best practices, etc.
Students are offered an orientation for taking an online course before starting the coursework. Fully Met Students are offered an orientation, i.e., the Online Learning Orientation Tool (OLOT), for taking an online course before starting the coursework in the learning management system.
Instructional and Audience Analysis Rating Comments
Course design reflects a clear understanding of all students’ needs and incorporates varied ways to learn and master the curriculum. Partially Met Course provides audio versions and some videos in the Lab portions, but otherwise, text-related read/answer format is the most prominent pedagogical strategy used. Very little application is incorporated.
Course, Unit and Lesson Design Rating Comments
The course is organized by units and lessons that fall into a logical sequence. Each unit and lesson includes an overview describing objectives, activities, assignments, assessments, and resources to provide multiple learning opportunities for students to master the content. Fully Met Course is well organized by units and lessons. There is an overview at the beginning of each lesson that describes the objectives of the units. Each requirement is clearly marked within each unit.
Instructional Strategies and Activities Rating Comments
The course instruction includes activities that engage students in active learning. Partially Met The bulk of assessment and practice throughout the course is based on read/recall, very few other activities or variety of assessment approaches are apparent.
The course and course instructor provide students with multiple learning paths, based on student needs that engage students in a variety of ways. Partially Met Does not provide a wide variety of learning activities.
The course provides opportunities for students to engage in higher-order thinking, critical reasoning activities and thinking in increasingly complex ways. Partially Met Primarily lower-level questioning and mainly opinion-based "Critical Thinking" questions posed that do not ask students to examine, synthesise, or analyze any information.
The course provides options for the instructor to adapt learning activities to accommodate students’ needs. Not Met There are no listed accomodations, suggestions or opportunities to check student understanding. The content cannot be edited by the instructor, but the instructor can add additional materials if desired.
Readability levels, written language assignments and mathematical requirements are appropriate for the course content and grade-level expectations. Partially Met
Communication and Interaction Rating Comments
The course design provides opportunities for appropriate instructor-student interaction, including opportunities for timely and frequent feedback about student progress. Fully Met
The course design includes explicit communication/activities (both before and during the first week of the course) that confirms whether students are engaged and are progressing through the course. The instructor will follow program guidelines to address non-responsive students. Fully Met Michigan Virtual School (MVS) instructor guidelines ensure such interaction through welcome letters, instructor introductions, and regular progress reporting.
The course provides opportunities for appropriate instructor-student and student-student interaction to foster mastery and application of the material. Partially Met There are discussion board opportunties, but for the most part, students and instructor will need to communicate through the messaging systems and/or emails, as there is not room for much interaction in the course.
Resources and Materials Rating Comments
Students have access to resources that enrich the course content. Partially Met There are some links and videos in the lab section, but overall, not many opportunities available.
Evaluation Strategies Rating Comments
Student evaluation strategies are consistent with course goals and objectives, are representative of the scope of the course and are clearly stated. Partially Met The unit objectives are clearly stated but some are not measurable. It is not easy to determine how effectively a student "considered" (an objective from Unit 1) something, for example, on a multiple choice quiz.
The course structure includes adequate and appropriate methods and procedures to assess students’ mastery of content. Partially Met Most of the assessments are multiple choice quizzes and short answer questions. There is very little opportunity for students to apply anything they've learned, the questions mostly ask them to retrieve information from the lessons. The lab questions ask students to view a link and then answer questions about what they looked at, usually a video.
Feedback Rating Comments
Ongoing, varied, and frequent assessments are conducted throughout the course to inform instruction. Partially Met The assessments are not varied. Every unit is the same: reading, questions, lab questions, discussion board, and quiz.
Assessment strategies and tools make the student continuously aware of his/her progress in class and mastery of the content. Partially Met In Blackboard, students can view their grades at any time by clicking "My Grades." However, in the Brain Honey version, students really do not have much opportunity to check their understanding of a topic before they get to a quiz--they may have to read through several lessons worth of information before getting to the quiz. The "quiz review" is also the same for each unit.
Assessment Resources and Materials Rating Comments
Assessment materials provide the instructor with the flexibility to assess students in a variety of ways. Not Met The assessment materials are open ended or opinion based. The student gets no opportunity to apply what they have learned.
Grading rubrics are provided to the instructor and may be shared with students. Not Met I could not find any grading rubrics.
The grading policy and practices are easy to understand. Partially Met In Blackboard, grading policies would be outlined. The course contains a "how you will be graded" module, but it does not contain any concrete information. It gives some basic suggestions of what a student might include at each grading level.
Course Architecture Rating Comments
The course architecture permits the online instructor to add content, activities and assessments to extend learning opportunities. Partially Met Instructors cannot alter content provided by the course vendor, but MVS instructors are permitted to add supplemental materials as needed via the Blackboard LMS.
The course accommodates multiple school calendars; e.g., block, 4X4 and traditional schedules. Fully Met The calendar within the learning management system permits adjustments to the pacing guides, though MVS has established start and end dates for fall, spring, summer, and trimester enrollment terms.
User Interface Rating Comments
Clear and consistent navigation is present throughout the course. Fully Met The layout of the course and the set up of assignments/assessments are consistent in the course.
Rich media are provided in multiple formats for ease of use and access in order to address diverse student needs. Partially Met There is some audio avaialble, but otherwise, there are few media platforms being used outside of text.
Technology Requirements and Interoperability Rating Comments
All technology requirements (including hardware, browser, software, etc...) are specified. Fully Met Communicated in the syllabus, the MVU website, and the Blackboard LMS.
Prerequisite skills in the use of technology are identified. Fully Met Communicated in the syllabus, the MVU website, and the Blackboard LMS.
The course uses content-specific tools and software appropriately. Partially Met Not many content-specific technology tools used; however, those that are used are used somewhat appropriately. Further utilization of multisensory materials and approaches would be helpful.
The course is designed to meet internationally recognized interoperability standards. Fully Met LMS design allows for interoperability.
Copyright and licensing status, including permission to share where applicable, is clearly stated and easily found. Fully Met Communicated within the MVU Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) through the website and the LMS.
Accessibility Rating Comments
Course materials and activities are designed to provide appropriate access to all students. The course, developed with universal design principles in mind, conforms to the U.S. Section 504 and Section 508 provisions for electronic and information technology as well as the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility guidelines (WCAg 2.0). Fully Met No alt tags on images. However, clear text could be easily read by a screen reader.
Data Security Rating Comments
Student information remains confidential, as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Fully Met Course is password protected; the privacy policy is communicated in the Blackboard LMS.

Review Conducted By: Michigan Virtual
Date of Review: 07/28/2016

  Unit 1: The Study of World Religions

  Unit 2: Hinduism

  Unit 3: Buddhism

  Unit 4: Judaism

  Unit 5: Christianity

  Unit 6: Islam

  Unit 7: Confucianism

  Unit 8: Shintoism

  Unit 9: Taoism

  Unit 10: Religion in the Twenty-First Century
Term Type Enrollment Opens Enrollment Ends Random Draw Date Enrollment Drop Date Course Starts Course Ends # of Seats Course Fee Potential Additional Costs
Trimester 04/01/2020 01/04/2021 06/01/2020 10/23/2020 04/02/2021 100 $325 $0
Trimester 04/01/2020 04/12/2021 06/01/2020 01/08/2021 06/18/2021 100 $325 $0
Semester 04/01/2020 03/29/2021 06/01/2020 11/27/2020 06/18/2021 300 $325 $0
Accelerated 01/26/2021 07/06/2021 04/30/2021 08/13/2021 100 $325 $0
Drop Policy Completion Policy Term Type Enrollment Opens Enrollment Ends
Students may access their course from their enrollment Start Date to their enrollment End Date. For reporting purposes, a completion is a 60% final score or higher. Trimester 04/01/2020 01/04/2021
Students may access their course from their enrollment Start Date to their enrollment End Date. For reporting purposes, a completion is a 60% final score or higher. Trimester 04/01/2020 04/12/2021
Students may access their course from their enrollment Start Date to their enrollment End Date. For reporting purposes, a completion is a 60% final score or higher. Semester 04/01/2020 03/29/2021
Students may access their course from their enrollment Start Date to their enrollment End Date. For reporting purposes, a completion is a 60% final score or higher. Accelerated 01/26/2021 07/06/2021
Students can use chat, email or private message system within the course to access highly qualified teachers when they need instructor assistance.
School Year Enrollment Count Pass Count Completion Rate Notes
15-16 76 70 92.11% None
16-17 90 78 86.67% Enrollment data include all enrollments (21f and non-21f) for the 2016-17 school year.
17-18 111 97 87.39% Enrollment data includes all enrollments (21f and non-21f) for the 2017-18 school year.
18-19 131 122 93.13%
19-20 110 91 82.73%