Week 14: The last pieces

This is the last week, and you have only a few pieces (some of them bigger than others!) to wrap up the course and call it a day.

The heavy lifting has already happened: learning to look at objects, and how you use them to look at different aspects of history, whether that is in China or other parts of the world. The final project is more a victory lap to demonstrate that you've learned how to do that, and to share with the world something you find cool, or fascinating about Chinese history, by starting out with an object to "interrogate".

This means that this week's schedule looks a bit different from previous weeks: no readings, and some different assignments.

  • If you have any questions, please reach out. Just because it's clear in my mind, doesn't mean it's clear on this webpage.
  • If you need extensions on due dates, please contact me. However, bear in mind that with the approach of the due date for ME to submit grades to the registrar, I don't have an infinite amount of time to give to you.
    • Incomplete Grades exist to help you with this: all of you have created enough work to feel confident that you should NOT go for a W (withdraw) in this course. Instead, consider an Incomplete Grade. You get some extra time to finish up the semester's work, you get a grade, and only a small asterisk (like this *) behind your grade indicates that you got a bit of extra time. Considering this is 2020, I doubt anybody will ever frown at this; I never notice it when I look at a student's transcript. Also, grades cease to be important shortly after you graduate and start having jobs or have other degrees.
  • I am around on email during the Thanksgiving break, and we can arrange a video chat should you prefer, but please understand my need for some quality time with my sofa. It's feeling abandoned. (I may not be immediately available on the same day, that's all.)

Table of Contents

Where to ask questions?

Remember that it is highly likely that you are not the only one with that question. Save me time, and help your fellow students by asking questions where others can see them. If you know the answer to a question, jump in! I can’t be everywhere all the time.

Missing link? Wrong information? Typos? Email me!

"See something? Say something!"


Feedback on reflections Week 13

Final one! Just admit it, you'll miss these! (a teensy little bit? No?)

2 points, due by Tuesday Dec. 1, 11.59PM

You know the drill 😀  Read more and become a better reader and writer, as you learn from others' insights and feedback. Here are two students' Reflection posts on Western collectors and museums, please comment on both:

  • Post 1:
  • Post 2:
  • Comment using Hypothes.is group HST137
  • Content: example: draw the writer's attention to something they missed, or point out how they highlight something you weren't aware of.
  • Style: do you have tips how the writer can make their reflection pack a tighter punch? Does the writer have great sentences or choice of words? What would you like to emulate? Share it!
    • Note: Spelling and phrasing are not the most important, but if you notice a pattern, it is helpful to point it out.

When you're ready, head over to Canvas and fill out the Declaration Quiz to claim your points.

- I commented on two fellow students' end of week reflections on readings about Western museums and collectors, using the Hypothes.is group HST137.
- I made sure to leave substantial comments that help the writer to improve the post, or to identify their strengths.
- I left comments that I would like to receive myself: thoughtful, helpful, kind, but also pointing out errors so they can be fixed.

Full draft

Tuesday, Dec. 1, submit on Canvas a link to your blog post.

Full draft of project, on blog, with images and attributions, notes for references etc. The closer you make this to the final version, the less work you'll have for finals week!

Find all the details on the dedicated webpage.

Test drive the SPLOT

Due Thursday Dec. 3, 11.59PM

You will submit your final project not just on Canvas (for grading) but also on a website where we collect them all together, and it's called a "SPLOT" (Smallest Possible Learning Online Tool" is one of the possibly acronyms). To make sure you get how it works, I created a test-site. Please try it out. Follow the instructions, check the video if necessary, and get in touch with me if you run into trouble having your test contribution show up.

How to "Add to the Pool" on the SPLOT

To help you remember to do this, I have created a 0 points assignment in Canvas.

Peer review of final project drafts

Due before Sunday, Dec. 6

Look through a minimum of 3 projects to help your colleagues identify where they can improve their project. Projects are listed on this spreadsheet.

  • In Column A you find the name of the student, and if it is blue, it's linked to their full draft. I will update these as I see the projects roll in.
  • When you are ready to start reviewing a project, claim your spot:
    • add your name in the column "Reviewer 1" , review the project using Hypothes.is (group hst137)
  • Pick a second project to review, add your name to column "Reviewer 2", review the project using Hypothes.is (group hst137)
  • Repeat a third time.
    • Don't claim a project "for future review": we are limited in time, and stuff can com up that means that students misses out on feedback. You can just give your friend feedback because… you're their friend, not because it's an assignment!

How to do peer review to be useful? Maybe a bit different from the blog post, because these projects will be rewritten:

  • If something is not clear, say so! Often we think as a reader "It's probably just me", but frequently it isn't, and the writer can be clearer. Make concrete suggestions if possible. Should they add a date, or a brief explanation, or an image?
  • Is the structure the most logical?
    • Maybe the conclusion is lacking some "bite", can you help identify what would round things off nicely?
    • Are there logical connections between the paragraphs? Even if connecting words are not used, the ideas must connect.
  • Are there proper references (footnotes, bibliography) for statements that are not common knowledge, that appear to be a scholar's interpretation of facts?
  • ... Whatever you can think of to make this a better project!

I created a 0-points Canvas Declaration quiz for those of you who like a Canvas reminder (and like to check things of your to-do list).

Extra Credit Tasks

Last chance to pick up a few extra points towards your "Feeding the Sourdough Starter" weekly tasks!

EC 14-1: Rewrite a post

2 points, due by Sunday, Dec 6, 11.59pm

Unhappy about a post you wrote? Feeling you can do better now than a few weeks ago? Had a bad week and rushed to get it in but now you're ready to do something you can be proud of? Now you can rewrite that post and get some extra credit for it!

  • Pick one post from a previous week and use the comments you received, and your new insights, to rewrite it.
  • Add a brief paragraph at the end explaining how you rewrote the post: which comments did you address, how did you go about the process (e.g. starting from new blank page vs. tinkering; focusing on structure or word choice or adding/correcting facts,...), and what you learned through the process of rewriting.
  • tag the post with extra, and add "rewrite" to the title
    • (Note: it should already be in the category hst137)

Read the following Declaration carefully, and then head on over to Canvas to collect your points in the Declaration Quiz:

I selected a post from a previous week and rewrote it, using feedback and insights I gained since writing it.
I added a brief paragraph at the end explaining what I did to rewrite the post, and what I learned about rewriting
I added the tag extra to the post, and added the word rewrite to the title.
I made sure the post is still in the category hst137.

EC 14-2: "Down the Rabbit Hole"

3 points, due by Sunday Dec. 6, 11.59pm

Are you curious? Can you spend hours on internet following one link after another trying to get to the bottom of something? Did you know you can now also get some extra credit for this?

Pick a topic, place name, object, book or person connected to our readings from anytime this semester or connected to your final project (e.g. something cool that doesn't fit in but you still want to share), and follow your curiosity "down the rabbit hole", like Alice in Wonderland. Then share in a blog post with us where you went, and what you found. Your post does not have to be very long: 250 words should work; more is fine if you went on a deep dive, of course. Here's what to include:

  • What in the course materials got you inspired to go down the rabbit hole?
  • Include as hyperlinked text the websites you visited, and what you learned there.
  • Include an image, with caption giving credit for the image.
  • You may also critique the sources you find, in particular if you have your doubts about their reliability, or you come across conflicting interpretations. Which one did you side with, and why?
  • Add the post to category hst137, use the title template "Down the rabbit hole: [insert subject]", and add the tag extra.

Read the following Declaration carefully, and then head on over to Canvas to collect your points in the Declaration Quiz:

I wrote a post about additional materials on the internet I found, starting from a topic connected to course materials from this week.
I included the sites I visited as hyperlinked text, and explained what I learned on these pages.
I included an image, with a caption and credit for the image.
I added the post to the category hst137, used the tag extra, and used the title template "Down the rabbit hole:[topicxx]" for my post.

Assignments for Finals Week

IDEA Course Evaluation

Due by Dec. 7, 11.59PM

This is the official anonymous end of semester evaluation. It is important for me, and for my future here at Muhlenberg: my colleagues in the department and beyond will use this to help determine if I'm doing a good enough job to stay on. (as "tenure track" faculty, I'm essentially on a 6 year probation period, read more about that system in this article in the Weekly.) As a teaching-oriented College, your feedback on my performance really makes a difference! It's fully anonymous, and I don't get to see the results until after you get your grades, so there is no influence either way.

If you have not yet filled out the IDEA evaluation for the course, please take 20-25 minutes and do me a BIG favor and give me a review!

Survival Tips

Please add your survival tips for future students of this course on this website. It's anonymous, and you can have fun with images, links and you can like posts. What do you wish you'd known before you started this course? What do you want every student who starts this course to know? What was fun? Tell them!

Final version of the Final Project (woohoo!)

Due Monday Dec. 7, 11.59pm, but extensions available

All the steps (mainly admin-related) on this dedicated webpage. Please read through carefully so you get everything done right without me having to chase you!

Final (end of course) Reflection (Will be due on Dec. 8)

“Reading can teach you the best of what others already know. Reflection can teach you the best of what only you can know.” (James Clear)

WHEN: Submit by Tuesday Dec. 8, 11.59pm.

WHAT: We are now at the end of the semester (time flies when you're having fun?), and it's the perfect time to look back at what you've been up to in this course! Write a 500-800 word piece, engaging with at least two of the following sets of questions. This is one of the "Proofing the bread" (syllabus description) tasks.


You can now look back over many weeks of being exposed to a new culture, or seeing a familiar culture in a new way: through the lens of physical objects, and how people’s interactions with these objects (making, using, but also buying, selling, collecting or destroying them), is an integral part of how we understand history.

You learned much about Chinese culture, but you probably also learned to see the world around you a bit differently, and now wonder more about the history behind everyday objects around you.

Here are some questions to engage with, as you write your final reflection for this course. Remember to think not so much about the specifics of the course contents, but the bigger picture and the connections between the materials, the themes and recurring ideas you picked up across the weeks.

  1. Every end-of-week reflection included “Three Things I learned this week”. As you look back on these now, what pattern do you see emerging in the “Things you learned”? Can you make connections between the weeks? What surprises you as you look back at your list of three from each week?
  2. What have you learned about looking at objects as a way to learn history, or how to use objects as a “portal” into other aspects of history? Has this changed your idea about history? About China?
  3. This course carries a DE General Academic Requirement. Do you think you earned it? Why (not)?
    • To help you answer that question, here’s the description from the Course Catalog: “HDGE courses across the curriculum aim to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of human difference and to develop the intellectual and civic skills students require for participation in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.”

WHY: This reflection helps me understand how you learned during this semester, and how I can improve the course in future. I also hope you use this as a moment to think about your original goals for the course, if you achieved them, and above all, I want to encourage you to use this moment to celebrate how far you've come across the past 14 weeks of instruction!

You have sharpened your metacognitive skills (knowing what you know) throughout the semester with these reflections.


After December 14:

You will receive your grade shortly after December 14.

From December 15 onwards, you can share the SPLOT link with friends, parents, fellow students outside the course, as I weed out the links to projects from people who have decided not to opt in.

You can clean up your blog or personal website and either spruce it up, or delete the entire course if you feel like it. You can also delete all the annotations you made in Hypothes.is for this course if you want.

You can always drop in to my tutorials, be they virtual or in-person once I'm brave enough to go back to teaching in person on campus. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all of you through your bi-weekly blog posts and your projects, and the many interactions through Hypothes.is, email and occasionally through Zoom. I hope you enjoyed the course, despite the strange circumstances we found ourselves in, and it would be nice to see you IRL ("in real life"), once it's safe to do so.

Thank you for the wonderful experience of making this weird semester work, somehow, and against the odds. I really appreciate how much time, effort, and dedication you gave this course ☺️