PHIL 205 Welcome Page

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Welcome to Philosophy 205, Introduction to the Bible!


My name is Dr. Chris Gilbert, and I shall be your instructor in the online version of Introduction to the Bible (PHIL 205).

There are a number of things you should know about the course:

First, this course demands a great deal of self-motivation. It is the student’s responsibility to keep on top of the reading assignments, to take the weekly reading quiz, to submit the short essay assignments on time, etc. Thus, I recommend this course only to those who are both well-organized and self-disciplined.

Second, this course requires a large amount of reading. If you read quickly, and if you tend to retain the material that you have read, this fact should not pose much of a problem for you. On the other hand, if you are a slow reader, or if you tend not to retain what you read, then you may find this course very difficult for that reason.

Third, this course is writing-intensive; students hand in a two-page paper every other week, and those papers are graded for both content and form. If you dislike writing or if find writing difficult, then you are likely to find the course difficult for that reason.

Finally, please note that this document is not a course syllabus. The table below simply provides some information that may help you decide whether to register for the course. Students who do register for the course will gain access to the course syllabus once they enter the course web page.

~C. Gilbert




PHIL 205



Introduction to the Bible




FALL: 70377

SPRING: 30222

Course Description


Introduces the literature of the Hebrew scriptures and the Christian New Testament through their history, literary conventions, authors, and sources.

Student Learning Outcomes


Students who complete this course successfully will have demonstrated the ability to:

1. Distinguish between academic and devotional approaches to the Bible

2. Distinguish the various types of literature that constitute the Hebrew and Christian scriptures

3. Explain academic theories about the authorship of biblical works

4. Identify major historical personages and fictional characters in the Bible

5. Relate concepts and themes in biblical literature to historical circumstances



Dr. Christopher Gilbert




805.546.3100 x2676



SLO 6227

Office Hours


M/W 9:30-10:45
T/Th 11:00-12:00
and by appointment

M/W 8:30-10:00
T/Th 9:30-11:00
and by appointment

Instructor Contact Expectations


Since Cuesta College provides me with your college-generated e-mail address, this is the only e-mail address I will use when I need to contact you. Thus, you will need to do one of two things: either (a) check your Cuesta College e-mail account regularly, or (b) arrange for messages to be forwarded from your Cuesta College e-mail account to your personal e-mail account.  

The best to contact me is by email. I will typically respond within 24 hours to emails received between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. I do not check email after 4:00 p.m., or on weekends, or during academic breaks. I will typically send messages to the whole class or to individual students via their Cuesta College email addresses.

Course Environment


This online course will be using a Web-based Learning Management System called Canvas as the method to disseminate information. Canvas provides the framework for the course including quizzes and exams, discussion forums, study guides, and a grade book. Using the communication tools, you can communicate using e-mail, and you can share materials and ideas with other course participants via the discussion forums and groups

Week One Instructions


It is the responsibility of registered students to access the course web page during the first week of the semester and carefully read the following documents:

(1) Syllabus,

(2) Schedule/Reading Assignments,

(3) Navigating PHIL 205 Online, and

(4) Essay Grading Rubric.

To access the course web page during the first week of classes, follow these instructions:

1. To get to the host site: Go to the Cuesta College home page (www.cuesta.eduLinks to an external site.) and click on “Canvas” (in the upper left corner of the page)

2. Log in: Enter your Canvas username and password (same as for MyCuesta)

3. User Dashboard: Click on the link for Phil 205: Intro to Bible; this will take you to the course home page.

If you are not familiar with logging into canvas, please refer to the Canvas Quick Reference GuideLinks to an external site.. Once logged into Canvas you will be directed on where to get started. Be sure to read all the direction on the course home page.  

If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas after the first day of classes and need assistance, please seek technical support at this email address:

About Online Learning



If you have never taken an online class or this is your first experience with Canvas, please be patient with yourself. Online classes are not inherently easier, although they may be much more convenient for many students. You should probably expect to spend more time on this course than you would on a course that meets face-to-face.

Is it right for you?



Please go to Online Readiness ResourcesLinks to an external site. and take the self-assessment, which is designed to help you understand the basis for an online class and the skills necessary for success. If the tutorials there do not describe you, then taking this class online is not for you and I strongly suggest that you drop the online class and enroll in a traditional classroom section.

Regular and Effective Contact



We will keep in contact in a variety of ways:

1. Students are welcome to see me in person during my SLO campus office hours (listed above).

2. Students are welcome to contact me by telephone. (Note that I must give priority to any students who happen to be in my office when I receive a phone call.)

3. Students are welcome to contact me by email. I will typically respond within 24 hours to emails received between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. I do not check email after 4:00 p.m., or on weekends, or during academic breaks. I will typically send messages to the whole class or to individual students via their Cuesta College email addresses.

4. Some weeks will include a collaborative class discussion via an online discussion forum on the course Web page. At the end of each discussion, I will post a closing message to the forum, in which I will respond to the class’s postings and add any further points that I would like you to think about.

5. Some weeks will include a short essay assignment; students will submit their short essays to through a link on the course Web page. When I read your short essays on, I will respond by inserting comments on both their content and their form.

6. The “Ask Dr. G” discussion forum (in the first module of the course home page) is where you can post questions about the material. This forum is meant to simulate the spontaneous dialogue that typically occurs in a face-to-face class, from which all the students can benefit—even those who are not directly participating in that dialogue. I will check this forum and post answers to your questions roughly twice per week.

Text Books




(1)   The Bible. You may use any version, but I recommend—and have ordered for the bookstore—the New Revised Standard Version Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, current edition).

(2)   Gilbert, Christopher. A Complete Introduction to the Bible. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2009.


Hauer, Christian E. and William A. Young. An Introduction to the Bible: A Journey into Three Worlds. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, current edition.

Technical Support



Cuesta students are encouraged to direct all technical support inquiries to If you are having issues with Canvas, you should contact the Canvas Support Hotline at (877) 921-7680, or click on the help button on the Canvas Navigation to report a problem.

If you are having difficulty viewing the course or logging in, it may be because you are not using the correct url: or you are using your phone or using an unsupported browser.

Your learning environment is best accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, using Firefox or Chrome.   This may solve your problem!   Please review the browser requirements and minimum computer specificationsLinks to an external site..




This course is designed using an accessible Learning Management System, and course materials have been created with ADA compliance in mind. If you have a disability and might need accommodations in this class such as extended time on exams or other resources. Please contact the instructor as soon as possible so that you can receive appropriate accommodations in a timely manner. You should also contact DSPS (Disabled Student Programs & Services)Links to an external site. (805-546-3148).

Academic Honesty Policy


Plagiarism of any form, on any written assignment (including online discussions), will result in a failing grade on that assignment, and possibly failure in the class as well. Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s words or ideas as if they were your own. Thus, one commits plagiarism when one does any of the following:

a) borrows ideas from a text (a book, an article, a web site, another student’s paper, etc.) without crediting the author of that text (by means of properly formatted parenthetical citations, footnotes, or endnotes), or

b) uses direct quotations without punctuating them as such and crediting the author (as specified above), or

c) paraphrases an author’s words in a way that relies too heavily on the author’s own wording.

In addition to my course policy, please note all students attending San Luis Obispo County Community College District at any district site and when representing Cuesta College in any off-campus activity, assume an obligation to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner compatible with the Student Code of conduct. Please review the Cuesta College Student Code of ConductLinks to an external site..

Other Policies



Please review the following Cuesta College policies:
·        Add PolicyLinks to an external site.
·        Drop PolicyLinks to an external site.
·        Waitlist Procedure and InstructionsLinks to an external site.


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