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How to Succeed

Course Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the requirements for this course should be able to:

  1. increase their testimony of God and His work among the children of men.
  2. know the history, doctrine, and practices of various religions of the world.
  3. recognize God's universal love and willingness to speak to all of His children, regardless of their religious affiliation.
  4. identify the significant portion of religious and moral truths God has given the world's great faiths.
  5. be able to interact with those of other faith traditions in an informed and understanding way.
  6. describe how the origins, doctrines, and practices of various faiths relate to the same elements in your own tradition.

Keep in mind that these same learning outcomes could be included on every lesson page in the course. For the sake of avoiding repetition, you will not see the outcomes posted on each page, but it is intended that the individual lessons and your careful engagement with each of them will contribute to the achievement of these six learning outcomes for each of the faiths we study.

Course Materials

Religions of the World: A Latter-day Saint View (revised and enlarged edition) by Spencer J. Palmer, Roger R. Keller, Dong Sull Choi, and James A. Toronto (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University, 1997).

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There will be reading assignments from the textbook in each lesson. Note that the textbook does not present a chronological approach to the world’s major faiths. We, however, will examine the various religions in chronological order. Thus, you will need to read your textbook in the chronological order suggested in the lessons. Since you will not be able to refer to your textbook or any notes for the two exams, it is strongly recommended that you not try to take any shortcuts while reading and completing the study guides. A thorough study of the readings and lesson material will not only help you complete the study guides, but will ultimately help prepare you for those exams that count so much more toward your final grade. More importantly, and as with most university courses, the more you thoughtfully engage in the course requirements, like the readings, the more you will gain from the experience of taking this course.

Study Guides (12)

You will be expected to complete a Study Guide quiz in the middle of each lesson. They are open book activities, and will consist of Multiple Choice, True/False, and Mark All That Apply questions. You must score 100% on each of these study guides in order to proceed to the next section.

Journal (2 submissions)

In this assignment, you will carefully articulate what you have learned from the twelve lessons in the course. Complete this assignment through careful study of the readings, viewing the video segments, and answering the journal questions that are presented at various points in the lessons. Please use [ LINK REMOVED ] this file and follow its instructions for formatting your entries. You will be invited to submit everything you have written in the document to that point before the midcourse and final exams.

Worship Service Paper

You are required to attend the worship service of another faith and then write a 5-7 page double-spaced reflection paper on your experience. This assignment requires all of the following:

This paper must be submitted before requesting the final exam.

Second Worship Service Paper or Book Report

You have your choice of attending an additional worship service and writing its corresponding report, or you can read the book presented below and write a paper on it. If you choose the former option, please refer to the requirements from the first worship service assignment. If you'd like to go the book route, though, please note the following requirements:

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Exams (2)

The course has a proctored midcourse exam and a proctored final exam. The midcourse exam will consist of thirty questions covering the content presented in the first six lessons. The final exam will consist of thirty-six questions focused primarily on the second half of the course, but also containing some comprehensive elements. For each of these exams, you are strongly encouraged to carefully review the lesson material.

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How to Succeed

To receive full credit on the assignments, you must complete each part of the assignment. Most points that are missed on assignments are because students only do some of the several things they are asked to do. For instance, many students miss points because they only provide one example when more than one is asked for.

The best answers will answer every portion of the question in a cogent way. They will demonstrate that the student understands the concept being asked about and has sufficient knowledge of specifics from the text. They will also demonstrate an ability to apply those specific things to the general concepts, and to synthesize that knowledge into formulations of thought that apply to our world today.

Students who are successful in this course typically do the following:

  1. Read carefully, writing down questions they have as they go.
  2. Look for symbolic meaning and principles that can be applied to life as they do the reading.
  3. Go out of their way to really work hard and thoughtfully on the assignments.

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The grading for this course is as follows:

Assignment Percent
Study Guides (12) 6%
Journal (2 submissions) 30%
Worship Service Paper 1 15%
Worship Service Paper 2 (or book report) 15%
Midcourse Exam 14%
Final Exam (must pass) 20%

Grade Scale

Your letter grade is calculated according to these percentages.

A 93–100
A− 90–92
B+ 87–89
B 83–86
B− 80–82
C+ 77–79
C 73–76
C− 70–72
D+ 67–69
D 63–66
D− 60–62
E (fail) 0–59

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


12 computer-graded, open-book, open-notes study guide quizzes. 2 instructor-graded journal submissions. 1 instructor-graded worship service paper. 1 additional instructor-graded worship service paper or 1 instructor-graded book report. There will not be an option to resubmit the instructor-graded assignments.


1 proctored, computer-graded midcourse exam and 1 proctored, computer-graded final exam. All assignments up to that point must be submitted and graded before requesting an exam. Students must pass the final exam to pass the course. There will not be an option to retake exams.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514