Week 1: Introduction and navigation

Welcome to week 1 of the course “HST 137: People and their stuff in Chinese history”!

This week we will set up the course so you have almost all the tools set up for the entire semester. You can run ahead and set up everything even before our first meeting on Tuesday, or you can chip away at the tasks on a daily basis. You will help each other out in class to overcome tech trouble, and that will be the number one way you will learn in this course: by trying things, making mistakes, asking each other and me, and trusting the process: if you keep engaging with the course materials and doing the assignments, you will learn about China and the history of its material culture.

Including attending the weekly classes, count on 6 to 8 hours per week on average for this course. That includes reading, reflecting, and writing about what you learned in Chinese history every week. Not every week will be equally heavy. You are able to work a bit ahead if you anticipate a heavy week from other courses coming up.

For the weekly tasks and extra-credit assignments, you fill out a Declaration Quiz on Canvas. These are linked in this weekly schedule, or on the dedicated webpage if there is one. You can also find them in the weekly Module on Canvas. [If you have worked with me before, this is a departure from previous years.] This week, the quizzes stay open for the entire week. Next week, that changes: there will be a 12hr automatic extension period, and extra credit assignments so you can make up points any missed deadlines, but I expect you to work within or ahead of the course rhythm. The Declaration Quizzes are simple true/false quizzes. You can go back and adjust your answer, and there is no time limit while you are inside the quiz.

If something about the process is not clear, let me know! Remember that for technical stuff you can contact the Digital Learning team. Just check out the “Where to get assistance?” section at the bottom of the page.

Table of Contents



Meeting in Ettinger 212

For Thursday:

  • Miodownik, Mark. Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World. New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
    • Introduction (ix – xviii)
    • ebook in Trexler
    • Time estimate: 10 pages/ 30 mins.
  • Crone, Patricia. Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Pre-Modern World. London: Oneworld, 2015.
    • (ebook Trexler: https://muhlenberg.on.worldcat.org/oclc/961882718)
    • Read “Introduction: What is a complex society?” (pp. 10-24)
    • Pick one sentence/short passage that you find interesting, intriguing, or difficult to understand. You don’t have to agree with the author, we will just use it as a discussion starter.


1. Create your Bergbuilds Website

5 points, due Wed. Jan. 18, built-in extension until Sunday Jan. 22

  • Create your Bergbuilds Website and create your first post, using these instructions: https://tdh.bergbuilds.domains/first-post-2/
  • Remember to email me the link to your blog, or I don’t know where it lives. The internet is a big place!
  • Read the Declaration and fill it out on Canvas: Click “True” if you did all of the following, and get your points.
I created (or reactivated) a personal website on bergbuilds.domains.
I created the category hst137
I created my first post with a Growth Mindset Cat
TITLE of the post includes the word Cat
IMAGE: I included the image of the cat, a caption with the image credit/source, and the alt text.
CATEGORY: I added the post to category hst137
TAGS: I added the tag week1 to the post
I emailed a link to my website/blog to Dr. D’Haeseleer

2. (Re-)Activate Hypothes.is

3 points, due Jan. 19, built-in extension until Sunday Jan. 22

  • Time estimate: 45 mins
  • Set up or reactivate your Hypothes.is account, and join the group HST137
  • Annotate the course syllabus – ask questions or leave comments at specific points. If everything is clear, please just leave a page note indicating you read and agree with the syllabus.
    • remember you can use tags to draw our attention to questions that need to be answered by me (Dr. D) or our DLA (Rachel)
  • When you’re done, go to Canvas and fill out the Declaration Quiz
Declaration: fill it out on Canvas
– I created (or reactivated) an account on Hypothes.is
– I joined the Hypothes.is group HST137
– I commented in my group on the syllabus with questions and remarks, or added a page note stating I had read the syllabus and have no questions.

3. Join Discord

0 points task, due Jan. 20, built-in extension until Sunday Jan. 22

  • Add yourself to the Discord Server Dr. D’s classes Spring 2023. You may have received an email with an invitation link, but you don’t need to use that email address to register. Please follow these instructions. (<– Google doc)
  • I’ll add you to the right role as soon as I can, and you will see your additional course channels (text and voice) activate as soon as I do. If that does not happen within 24hrs of you joining the server: email me to remind me. (Thanks!)
  • In the Text channel #hst137, add an image that is meaningful to you, and that you’d like to share with the class (can be picture of you/family/holiday/pet, but also art work, object,…). Add your preferred name to address you in class. (I know nobody is Lord Buckethead, he’s in the UK and not signed up at the College!) Explain why the image is meaningful, and anything else you’d like us to know at the start of this semester.
  • Say hello to your new classmates! Pop back in on the channel later in the day/week, make yourself comfy and chat away 
  • Hop into the Tea Room anytime, it’s your space to hang out via video.
  • You can also visit and post in the #off-topic-chat room and share things with students from my other and past courses, such as upcoming games, performances, etc.

When you’re ready, check the Declaration Quiz on Canvas to check off the task as Done!

I joined Dr. D’s Discord Server using the instructions in the Google Doc
I added in the Text channel #hst137 an image that is meaningful to me, and explained why the image matters to me.
I added my preferred name so people know how to address me in class.
I read and gave a thumbs up/reaction to the introductions of at least two fellow students.

4. First regular blog post

5 points, due by Sunday, Jan. 22, 11.59pm.

Get your first regular blog post in, reflecting on the readings and class content of this week:

Write a blog post in the format of the “5-15 report” with a reading journal, exploring themes or ideas based on what we read this week and discussed in class. You do not need to have all the answers. In fact, learning to ask good analytical or research questions is a skill you can develop during the semester.

  • Length: approx. 400 words. excl. list of materials consulted.
  • Add the list of materials consulted at the end of the post, in Chicago notes and bibliography style.
    • TOP TIP: Just copy the bibliography information from the Reading list here.
  • Add the words “Week 1” in the title
  • Including an image, and make sure to add Alt Text and a caption with the source/credit.
  • Post on your website, and add to the category hst137.

When you’re done, read this declaration carefully and then fill out the Declaration quiz to collect your points.

– I wrote a post of approximately 400 words in response to the readings.
– I included the bibliographic references for the materials I used for my post.
– I included an image, added Alt Text, and I provided a caption and credit (source) for the image.
– I use the words Week 1 in the title, and added the post to category hst137

Extra credit exercises

No extra credit tasks this week, there will be plenty of opportunities starting next week!

On to week 2 (coming soon)

Where to get assistance?

  • Tea Room on Discord:
    • open anytime for you
    • I will be hosting Tue 2PM-3PM; Wed. 1-2PM, or at other times by appointment via Google Calendar (usually a 15-20min appointment is enough). You can also find me in my office during Tea Room times.
    • Private room for confidential chat available on request.
  • Discord Text Channel #hst137
  • DLAs: Digital Learning Assistants: check the schedule!
  • Writing Center: Schedule coming soon!
  • Trexler Library Course Subject Guide: our own dedicated subject guide for the course 
  • Safety on/around campusreport an incident