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REL 123: Foundations of Christian Faith: Assignments

Grading Rubric

The following is the grading criteria rubric for the Research Papers: 

Format 5% Format includes the proper use of inline citations, paper formatting, and Works Cited formatting. 
Acceptable Resources 20%
  • Students will receive 5 points for every acceptable resource. 
    * These are research papers so good sources are a must. 
  • Acceptable resources (Students must have all four to qualify for the full 20%)
    * One from the text (Mueller, Tkacik, or Vatican II text)
                   * Lumen Gentium
                  *  Gadium et Spes
                  * Dignitatis Humanae
                  * Nostra Aetate
    Letter 28 - St. Leo's Tome
    * Another Book, such as:
                   * Bible Dictionary or Encyclopedia (print or electronic). If the book is online, it is a book, not a website.
    Standard print book. 
    * Website: 
                   * .edu only (In Google, put the following after the search criteria: site: edu. )
                   * Non- .edu site if it is reached from an .edu
                                  Students will need to put a footnote in the paper to show the original .edu site. 
    * Students must be careful to check the author to make sure it is not another undergradute student. 
                   * The URL is required for this class. Students should be specific and copy the full URL the way it appears on the page he or she is using. 
    * Peer-reviewed article
                   * This is a journal found on EBSCO. 
                                  Instructions for EBSCO are under the Doc Sharing Tab. 
    * This does not qualify as a website; it is a journal. 
    * Unacceptable Resources
                   * Any Wiki, standard dictionaries, or encyclopedias
                   * Use only bible/theological dictionaries or encyclopedias
                   * Any non .edu site such as .org or .com
Content 75% 
  • Grading of content is based on the way research is used in the paper. 
  • The best option is to summarize and recap the research material. Students must not use a lot of quotes. 
  • If students do use wuotes, they must make good use of them. 

Word Count: 1500-2000

  • Word count does not include the headings or Works Cited page. 


Guidelines: Discussions provide the best opportunity of the three assessment elements (papers, quizzes, and discussions) to interact within teh class. The interaction is based primarily on students' reading and research. While it is fun and easy to just "give your opinion", this is not the design of the Discussion Boards. Discussions are an academic activity designed to exchange information disc overed by reading the text(s) and research. 

NOTE: When students post the primary response, they should put only  their last name in the Subject Box. This expedites grading. 

Discussion Requirements: Discussion Boards require reading (text) and outside (of the text) research. While students' opinions are respected and valued, the discussion is designed for students to find scholarly support for their opinion. This is mandatory for the student who wants the "A". See grading criteria below. 

  • Post a minimum of one substantive reply to at least two other learners per discussion question per week. The instructor will, at time, post a response to a student. If so, students must respond to the instructor's posting. This will count as one of the two posts.
  • Participate actively in the weekly discussions. Students' initial postings to discussion questions are expected to be substantive in nature and to reference the assigned readings or other theoretical, empirical, or professional literature as appropriate. 
  • Discussion responses should be posted by Sunday, 11:59 PM EST/EDT. Students should use the REPLY button to respond to all postings by other learners. Regarding the responses to your classmates, "I agree" or "I really don't have anything to add" are NOT acceptable responses. 
  • The following questions may be used as guidance for a good response: Do you agree/disagree? Why? What new insight(s) can you add to their point? Are there external materials (beyond the reading) that will contribute insight?

Discussion Sources: As with the research papers, certain sources can assist students in research, but do not qualify for Works-Cited. Therefore, students will not receive credit for the following: 

  • Wikipedia
  • Standard Dictionary (use only a biblical or theological dictionary)
  • Encyclopedia (use only a biblical or theological encyclopedia)
  • Any website not .edu (unless the site is accessed via a .edu; if the site is accessed via a .edu, students will need to add a footnote giving the link from the .edu)

Discussion Board Grading Criteria: Grades are earned! Ask the instructo if you don't understand the guidelines. 

Discussion Board Percentages: The primary response is worth 65% of the module grade and the secondary responses are worth 35%. This is to encourage a more substantive primary response but still put weight on the discussions (secondary response). These grades include the possibility of a + or - within the category. 

  • Below Average (D): Non-substantive response. 
  • Average (C): Response that lacks substance and/or any indication of knowledge of the text. 
  • Above Average (B): Substantive response that uses the text in a beneficial manner and advances the discussion well. This can be a quote or a summary of the text. Inline citations and Works Cited are required. 
  • Superior (A): Substantive response that uses the text and outside resource (research using books/journals/websites other than assigned reading) in a beneficial manner and advances the discussion well. This can be a quote or a summary of the text. Inline citations and Works Cited are required. 

Description of Assignments

The student is responsible to meet all reading and writing assignment according to the schedule given below. Every module will have a discussion assignment and an exam. In addition, there will be two research papers. 


All modules have an exam covering the required reading in the textbook and other assigned readings. The purpose of these questions is to help students assess how well they have done the reading assignments and understand the material. Once the student begins the quiz, he or she will have two hours to answer three essay questions. 

Research Paper Guidelines

When preparing and writing the research papers, students must be attentive to the following basic requirements. It is imperative that students read and follow these guidelines to ensure a good grade.

Research Papers

Students will write a research paper in Module 3 and 7. Before starting the paper, students should carefully read all of the following information regarding the requirements. 

When preparing and writing research paper, students must be attentive to the following basic requirements. There is a Research Paper Guidelines link in the Course Home menu and on the research paper assignment page in the Modules 3 and 7. It is imperative that students read and follow these guidelines to ensure a good grade. Included in the guidelines is a Research Paper Self-Assessment Checklist to assist students in evaluating the quality of the paper before submitting it for grading. The Research Paper Self-Assessment Checklist items are also listed below. 

  1. A research paper involves both the gathering of information and developing a student's own interpretation of that information. The student must stay focused on his or her chosen topic and rely upon his or her sources for information about that topic. While a student's own opinions about a topic are an important part of any research process, teh student must be able to support his or her conclusions by direct reference to sources. 
  2. The writing must be clear and logical and as free of spelling and grammatical errors as possible. A student should never submit a paper without rereading and proofing it. It may even be necessary to get someone to assist in this process by having him or her read the paper and check for these mistakes. The student should not fail to run spell-check on his or her writing.  Please remember that easily correctable spelling and grammatical mistakes left uncorrected will result in significant loss of points. 
  3. This paper requires MLA formatting that includes:
    a.) 12-point font
    b.) double-spaced sentences
    c.) title and personal identification
    d.) a separate Works-Cited page properly formatted
    e.) specific bibliographical form for print and electronic sources in the Works-Cited
    f.) a specific form for parenthetical (in-text) citations of the sources listed in the Works-Cited
    The student will be graded on how well his or her style conforms to the above basic requirements in MLA. 
  4. The Works-Cited must include no less than four (4) sources. Those sources must be relevant to the topic and meet minimum academic qualifications. The acceptable types of sources include the following:
    a.) class text
    b.) print or electronic book
    c.) electronic peer-reviewed journal article
    d.) website with a .edu address
  5. Certain sources do not qualify for Works-Cited. You will be penalized if you use them. These are:
    a.) Wikipedia
    b.) standard dictionary or encyclopedia (web or paper)
    c.) any website not .edu
    The student should remember that any source listed in your Works-Cited that does not meet the above criteria will not count towards the minimum number of required sources. 
  6. For every soure listed in the Works-Cited a student must have at least one corresponding parenthetical (in-text) reference. This will demonstrate how a student has used the source.  
    The student should remember that any source not accompanied by at least one parenthetical reference (and any parenthetical reference not associated with a source in the Works-Cited) will not count towards the minimum number of required sources. 

While research is vital, so is the proper accounting for that research. All students must use MLA guidelines for the papers. For a sample of a correctly formatted paper, please see the following: