Syllabus for SAM-502



Sense of Community II - Faith and Reason examines art and morality through the unique perspective that "reading" artifacts can give to a true understanding of the development of communities in time. The course explores how art gives us access to commune with those here before us as well as those who exist with us, thus enhancing our senses of community and communications. Through this phenomenological approach, the course raises questions about the nature of what we create as both an expression of who we are and an influence that transforms us as new values (including morals and ethics) and realms of experience are created.

The course defines "culture" as the interactive growth that brings out and develops uniquely human possibilities and develops sensitivity to the development of ideas and institutions as creative projects. You will explore selected cultures that coexist with us in time as well as those that may have existed before us and are no more. The course emphasizes how this approach allows us to nurture our own possibilities out of the limitless depths of imagination and expressions as well as the magic power of art to produce understanding. You will be prepared to incorporate your own imaginative abilities in the creation of individualized projects.

This course relates to the MALS program in the following ways:

  1. The student will be better prepared to plan a meaningful Capstone Project.
  2. The students experience a philosophical overview which complements areas covered in the other core courses.
  3. The student practices applying ideas from other fields, cultures and times to their own life situations.  


After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Determine their own systems of values.
  2. Acquire a deeper sense of being part of the global community.
  3. Compare and contrast philosophies concerning faiths from several cultures.
  4. Describe the development of reason, as represented by Western philosophers, from Heraclitus to the present.

After successfully completing this course, you should be able to critique or evaluate:

  1. Your own cultural biases and perceptions.
  2. The policies of your organization as relates to the beliefs of others.
  3. Government laws relating to the practicing of one's faith.
  4. One's actions in relation to one's values.


You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the college's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  • Henry M. Sayre, Discovering the Humanities, 2nd ed. (Pearson, 2013)

ISBN-13: 978-0205219640

  • Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World, (Random House, 1993).

ISBN-13: 978-0345368096


Sense of Community II - Faith and Reason is a three-credit online course, consisting of twelve (12) modules. Modules include a study materials and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums and complete written assignments, short papers and a final project.  See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

You are required to participate in twelve (12) graded discussion forums. Discussion forums are on a variety of topics associated with the courses modules.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the online discussion forum rubric used to aid in the grading of all online discussion assignments.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete a total of five (5) written assignments.  See Modules 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 for specific details.

These written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the courses material.  

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the written assignment rubric used to aid in the grading of all written assignments

Final Project: Term Paper

You are required to complete a final project in the form of a term paper of 15 pages in length.  See the Final Project: Term Paper area of the course website for more details.

Located within the Evaluation Rubrics section of the course Web site is the final project: term paper rubric used to aid in the grading of the final project for this course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:
























Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.


Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at




Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin


Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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