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Online Learning Modules

Rapid-Response Challenge Grant

The Foundation for Religious Literacy
c/o Berkshire Global Advisors
527 Madison Ave., 3rd Fl
New York, NY 10027

ReligionAndPublicLife.com to offer
online micro-courses and teaching tools
to help educators respond to the coronavirus.

New York, NY, March 27, 2020––The Foundation for Religious Literacy announces a rapid-response challenge grant to help launch ReligionAndPublicLife.com, a distance learning platform to help educators respond to the Corona Virus. Education institutions are helping to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by moving all in-person courses online. Although it is unclear how long the “social distancing” strategy will be necessary, high school and college educators are in need of online resources to use now and to later integrate into the classroom, if and when and if things return to normal.

To support educators during this pandemic, The Foundation for Religious Literacy, in partnership with 1791 Delegates, is preparing to launch ReligionAndPublicLife.com. This interactive website offers 90-minute micro-courses and teaching tools to advance the civic competencies of religious literacy and legal literacy. The site supports students, instructors, institutions, and leaders in the following ways. High school and college students advance their education and earn certificates for completing a series of micro courses. Instructors supplement their courses by assigning these modules in their online classes and later integrate the work into classroom exercises. High schools and colleges are invited into a partnership to offer academic credit for students who complete module sequences. Employee resource groups, campus groups, and interfaith groups can use the material to create a shared experience on a topic of relevance and use the civic education resources for online and later in-person dialogue sessions.

As noted in the pipeline, the development of the humanities content falls into three categories: (Stage A) leading scholars have created six micro-course sequences, in addition to (Stage B), four courses that are in the lesson-writing stage; and (Stage C) four courses are ready for onboarding. The lessons feature videos from the acclaimed education YouTube series Religion For Breakfast. The curriculum draws from peer-reviewed research published by Oxford University, Routledge, Palgrave McMillan, Pearson, the journal Religion & Education, and Smithsonian Books, as well as open-access research published by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, International Law and Development Organization, Pew Research Center, and Public Religion Research Institute.

To ensure the development of legally-sound resources to be taught in public schools, the curriculum builds upon a consensus statement endorsed by twenty-one national education, civil liberties and religious groups. The U.S. Department of Education disseminated this consensus in 2000 to every public school in the country. In 2017, this consensus statement was reaffirmed by the governing boards of the American Academy of Religion and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) when publishing a supplement to NCSS’s College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for the academic study of religion. The consensus statement reads as follows: 

  • Our approach to teaching about religion is academic, not devotional;
  • we strive for student awareness of religions, but do not press for student acceptance of any religion;
  • we sponsor the study about religion, not the practice of religion;
  • we expose students to a diversity of religious views, but do not impose any particular view;
  • we educate about all religions, we do not promote or denigrate any religion; and
  • we inform students about religious beliefs and practices, but do not seek to conform students to any particular belief or practice.

H. Bruce McEver, president of The Foundation for Religious Literacy, welcomes philanthropists and foundations to match his contributions to this project by making tax-deductible contributions to help ensure a successful launch. To schedule a demonstration, contact Dr. Nathan C. Walker, managing director of The Foundation for Religious Literacy and executive director of 1791 Delegates at (202) 286-8991 and [email protected].

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