World Religions/Religious Worlds - Online religious studies courses | Arts and Science ONLINE

World Religions/Religious Worlds

RELS 131/6.0

Introduces religion in India, China and Japan; also the movements of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Humanism.

Please note: This course is typically offered every term

Learning Outcomes

**Subject to Change**

After completing RELS 131, students will be able to:

  • Develop a definition of religion that recognizes the diversity of religious traditions.
  • Compare and contrast the components of the major world religions.
  • Identify the world’s religious traditions within their global and cultural context.
  •  Situate contemporary religious issues in their historical roots.



Welcome to Religion 131, World Religions/Religious Worlds. In this introductory online religious studies course, I will present some of the global world religions to you, with the expectation that you will use these building blocks as the foundation for later, more specialized research into religions, philosophy, anthropology, science, politics--really, the list is endless!

There are certain things that this course isn’t, so let’s get that out of the way first. This course is not a complete and thorough history of all world religions. This is only one course and we must work within the limits of time and space. I will present to you a sampling of religious traditions, all of which contribute to that larger category of world religions, and hope that by introducing the history, beliefs, and practices of some of these traditions that you will be prepared to study the global world in a more critical and expanded way.

This course is also not a place for personal religious reflection. While I encourage you to take the material from the lecture notes, readings, or discussion groups and apply it to other areas of your life (because isn’t that in part what an education is supposed to do?), the goal of this course is to introduce the academic study of world religions. To this end I request that you do not use your assignments or discussion groups as a place to engage in personal religious dialogue.

So what is this course? It is a way for you to become familiar with Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You will be introduced to each of these religions through their history, literature, world views, and ritual lives. You will gather information on each religion’s past and present, as we consider each of these traditions as histories and as lived traditions (which means that religions are made up of more than the ancient texts that we sometimes find at their centre). We take this time to encounter these world religions, because we live in a global world populated by millions of people whose world views are often informed by these very religions. We engage in the study of religion because we want to see the world with bigger eyes.


Fall-Winter 2022-23
Course Dates: 
Sept. 6, 2022 - April 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
April 14 - 28, 2023


Mandatory formative assessment - Discussion (x5; best 5 out of 6)
25% - Critical reflection (x5; best 5 out of 6)
10% - Quiz MC questions (x5; best 5 out of 6)

10% - Build MC questions (x5; best 5 out of 6)
5% - Essay outline
20% - Research essay

30% - Final take-home exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**


Professor Danielle LaGrone (

Instructor message

Hello! Welcome to Rels 131: World Religions/Religious Worlds. My name is Danielle LaGrone, and I will be your instructor for this year.

Because this is an online class, your experience will be different than the traditional classroom courses you might have already experienced at Queen’s. One of the wonderful things about this course is that no matter where we find ourselves in the world, we can share in this class together. I encourage you to participate in the “Course Questions” and “Community” forums, places where we can get to know one another and ask questions that come up through the course. I will post announcements in the “Course News” forum with weekly updates and tips and suggestions for assignments.

To get things started, here is a little bit about myself: I have been teaching this course at Queen’s University since 2005. Originally I taught the traditional, in-person version of the class, but then in 2007 I developed the course for online learning. I love the opportunities that online learning affords students and I am eager to develop new ways of both presenting course material and supporting an interactive online community. In my courses I emphasize the value of learning to think critically about religion and using these critical perspectives as a springboard from which to engage with the world. I’m excited to work with you this year.

I completed my undergraduate degree in religion at Queen’s (2000) and then continued with M.A. in religion at the University of Alberta (2003). I am a PhD Candidate in Religion (University of Toronto), though I’m on a break from my doctoral studies while I pursue my studies as a student midwife at Ryerson University. As a researcher I am most interested in how religions redefine their boundaries and reinterpret themselves in the face of contemporary challenges, such as feminism and globalization. My particular areas of research include gender and religion, motherhood, and birth. I have published research on gender and Buddhism and co-edited a large volume of essays on women and religion.

I live in Toronto with my partner and two daughters. When I’m not working on the course, you’ll most likely find me running after my children, baking, reading, knitting, or drinking one of many cups of coffee. You are always welcome to contact me at any time throughout the course with questions, comments, and suggestions. I really look forward to working together!

All the best for a wonderful course,


Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend, on average, about 10-12 hours per week (228 hours total) on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


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Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

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Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

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Non-Queen’s Students

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Academic Integrity

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