bookmark_borderFriday, week 9 (Oct. 23)

Woohoo! Almost weekend!!

Please be careful when you enjoy various Halloween related activities! Dean Gulati shared with us the stern email she sent to students about risky behaviour and how it will be regarded and dealt with. Don't put yourself and others in the community at risk. You've done such a great job on and off campus of keeping the cases to a commendable minimum, let's not ruin our positive reputation!

"Pumpkin Carving" by LandBetweentheLakesKYTN is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Schedule for today

  • Comments on were due last night, so you can start looking through them, and look through posts from your peers to gear up for the End of Week reflection , which is due on Sunday night, Oct. 25. (But you can of course submit earlier). Collect your points in the Canvas Declaration Quiz!
  • The Show and Tell project for Module 3 is due tonight! Submit the link to your blogpost in Canvas.
  • In the morning I will add the posts for Week 9 to the randomizer and load that to the webpage, and then you can begin to comment on the blog posts using (group HST271). Feedback on four blogs, please, and don't forget to collect your points in the Canvas Declaration Quiz.
HST439 Your Book Review is due tonight, unless you requested an extension. I have no problem granting extensions, just make sure it doesn't get you in trouble further down the line with work for other courses.

Weekend Long Read

(not the long read): In case you're soul-searching what your liberal arts education is doing for you, it's actually giving you a lot. See for instance how one of the big names in the gaming industry (or so I've been told) sees the importance of Humanities:

(Here's the longer read): A different take on combining computer science and an interest in Humanities (Chinese culture and language):

If you’re learning Chinese, you’ve probably heard of Pleco, the dictionary app (not the fish). Here’s an interview with the creator, Michael Love. It’s interesting to read how he created this as an 18 year old, and is still going with it, moving from Palm to iOS along the way. There are now dozens of dictionaries you can buy as add-ons, and books to help you study Chinese.


If you're still with me: one of the most useful add-ons for me is the digital edition of the most amazing research guide:

  • Wilkinson, Endymion Porter. Chinese History: A New Manual. Fifth ed. Cambridge, MA: Endymion Wilkinson, c/o Harvard University Asia Center, 2018

I consult this all.the.time. when advising you on projects. Get the free Pleco app and then add on Wilkinson for $29.99 and never be bored as you read all about Chinese calendar systems, historical record keeping, the language, script and calligraphy, naming conventions, place names, organization of government, law, education, religion, literature, food and drink, “extremely small numbers” and “extremely large numbers”, weights and measurements and much much more, all within the context of the Chinese historical periods, and with references to other specialist books that have all the latest and greatest research and data. Everybody who works on Chinese history uses this book. (If they're not, they're either lying, or don't know what they're doing.)

If you are on campus, we have a copy in the library, check it out!

Wilkinson's book is the essential field guide to Chinese history. (image: Giphy)

bookmark_borderThursday, week 9 (Oct. 22)

Today is Thursday of week 9 (Oct. 22.)

I've had a few more visitors to drop-in tutorials than normal this week, and that's fun for me! Don't be shy, stop by for conversation about anything that's on your mind. You don't have to be in trouble! We can just geek out about history 😁

Schedule for today

Drop-in tutorials

Drop in tutorial: 11am-12pm, open to all.

  • Option 1: reserve a spot on this Google appointment page
  • Option 2: "drop in" anytime, but you may have to wait a bit in the waiting room.

Both are for a Zoom meeting, using the Green Link on your respective Canvas SECRETS pages (or find the info in your Canvas Calendar).

  • Get your Discussion Comments in before 11.59pm tonight, and don't forget to collect your points by filling out the Declaration Quiz on Canvas. Everything you need to know is available on that link: how to comment, and four blogs randomly loaded from our fine selection of student posts.
  • Remember to do the exercise to learn how to asses sources - this will help you with your final project. Please submit your answers by tonight! (instructions in the link)
  • Check out the Extra Credit tasks if you feel like picking up a few points.
  • Get your Weekly Blog Post in by 11.59pm tonight, and collect your points by filling out the Declaration Quiz. As always, everything you need to know is at that link.
  • Check out the Extra Credit tasks if you feel like picking up a few points.
  • Please remember that on Friday the third Show and Tell project is due! Find out more on the webpage with all the details 
  • You can also check out and provide feedback on the and Tell projects (or look around for inspiration).
HST439 How's it going with the book review and the Reading Light week?

Activities and events

  • 5 - 6.30pm: Inclusive Activism and the Black Lives Matter Movement: Conversations with Young Leaders
    • Please register by 2pm at this link:
    • Organized by Africana Studies and the Black Students Association
  • 5 - 6pm: Chinese Table: the topic is FOOD!!! Come and practice your Chinese (Mandarin and other Chinese languages welcome!) and meet new friends! Email me if you need a link to the Zoom session.

Take care!

Just like these grey squirrels in the UK, look out for each other!


bookmark_borderWednesday, week 9 (Oct. 21)

Today is Wednesday of week 9 (Oct. 21).

I don't know about you but I am rather confused about the weather. I took my carnivorous plants inside two weeks ago because I worried about the early morning being a touch too cold for them. The past two days I've been able to work outside on the back porch and watch the bumblebees on the cosmea (which finally started to flower!). Apparently outside air is good for your health and against the 'rona, but I also just try to see it as the silver lining, instead of moaning about not being with all of you in the classroom in person.

big pink flower with yellow center; in the background more buds of the same flower are about to bloom
Cosmea (without bumblebee)

Schedule for today

Drop-in tutorials

Drop in tutorial: 1-2 pm, open to all.

  • Option 1: reserve a spot on this Google appointment page
  • Option 2: "drop in" anytime, but you may have to wait a bit in the waiting room.

Both are for a Zoom meeting, using the Green Link on your respective Canvas SECRETS pages (or find the info in your Canvas Calendar).

  • In the morning I will add the initial blog posts to the randomizer and load that to the webpage, so you can start on the Discussion Comments. Comments are due by Thursday night.
  • Optional video conference chat/check in at 11.30am. New from this week onwards: central question and breakout rooms! This week we'll talk about the difference between learning by doing and learning by reading about something. Join us on the "Pink Link", which can be found on the SECRETS page on Canvas or in the Canvas Calendar for the course.
  • Keep on working on the readings.
  • I'll be going through the project pitches in the Cloud Lounge and leaving feedback there, maybe that will inspire some late starters for the third Show and Tell project? Remember that's due on Friday!
HST439 I've heard from many, but not yet all about the book review choices. Let me know what's brewing!

Activities for the Muhlenberg Community

  • One of the best place to keep up to date with what's going on is to follow the Muhlenberg Activities Council on Instagram - I only pass on here what I know about from emails sent to faculty (and that's a small amount of all the awesome stuff that happens in the community!)
  • History Club meets at 5pm on Zoom! Email me if you'd like to get in. (and give them a follow if you like a good history meme!)

For the knitters among us

Finally the Christmas ornament we've all been waiting for:

2020 as a knitted Christmas ornament. Why, it's a dumpster fire! What else did you expect?

Get the pattern from Kino knits on Ravelry. Half of the proceeds of the sales until the end of the year go to the designer's local foodbank. No personal connection with this project or designer, I just heard about it and had to share!

bookmark_borderTuesday, Week 9 (Oct. 20)

Today is Tuesday of Week 9 (Oct. 20)

A reminder that you have a chance to give feedback anonymously on your course in the Google Form I sent out over the weekend, either in the email announcing Week 9 is up and running, or in a separate email (that's HST439).

Schedule for today

Drop-in tutorials

Drop in tutorial: 2-3 pm, open to all.

  • Option 1: reserve a spot on this Google appointment page
  • Option 2: "drop in" anytime, but you may have to wait a bit in the waiting room.

Both are for a Zoom meeting, using the Green Link on your respective Canvas SECRETS pages (or find the info in your Canvas Calendar).

  • Add your comments for your colleagues' Week 8 Reflection posts on buildings, using by tonight, 11.59pm.
  • Your Initial Post for Week 9 is due at 11.59pm tonight.
  • Remember to collect your points in the Canvas declaration quizzes for both these tasks.
  • Start looking at the exercise to distinguish good, reliable sources from not so reliable or less useful sources. (It's also listed in the Weekly Schedule). Round one answers are due on Thursday night.
  • Optional video conference chat/check in at 4pm. Use the Pink Link from the SECRETS page on Canvas or follow your Canvas calendar. We have a central question to give you an entry point into the conversation, check it out on the top of the Week 9 page!
  • Pitch your idea for the third Show and Tell project in the Cloud Lounge discussion by tonight so I can give some help on feasibility.

Tuesday Tech tip: Back up!

Make sure that you have a backup of your work! If you work in Google Docs, or in Drop Box, they keep track of you so well that you have to worry more about privacy than about losing work.

But for your Domain, and your website content you want to make sure that you have a backup. If you did not set this up when you created your WordPress website, you can do it now.

  • Just go to the Dashboard, click on "My Apps".
  • In the list you will see your site. Click on the little "wrench" icon, and scroll down. There you can select how many back-ups you want.
    • If you work on your blog a lot, we recommend at least a weekly, or even a daily back up.
  • If you want to remove any older backups, go to the top of the page, where you see the tabs "My Applications", and next to it "My Backups". You can select and then delete backups there.
    • Always leave at least one backup to restore your site. It has saved me a few times when an update to WordPress or a plugin created a serious conflict, so I could go back into the old version of the site, disable the plugin, and then update without further problems.
  • There are also some instructions in the Help documentation (with screenshots) for Bergbuilds, but you need to scroll down a bit.
  • I have created a little video (without sound) if visuals help you to find your way in the Dashboard (be patient at the start, I needed to find the right window first 😝 ) :

I hope you find this tip useful!

bookmark_borderMonday, Week 9 (Oct. 19)

Today is Monday of week 9 (Oct. 10)

Phew- what a weekend! We had the commencement, extra bittersweet this year because of course it's supposed to be a happy celebration on campus, and this year it was a happy celebration, but not on campus. Not for lack of trying, but travel remains a high-risk activity.

I've sent out in emails a link to a simple google form survey, and I'd be much obliged if you could fill that out. I know this is a rough semester and we're heading into the worst part of it (as measured traditionally, who knows this time, it's 2020?!?) and I want to make sure I do what I can to support your learning and minimize your stress (while surviving it all myself). Let's do this, historians!

Schedule for today

  • Feedback on response posts is due on Tuesday, and the Randomizer will go up this morning.
  • Get started on your Readings for week 9. This week we look at the scholar's world. Lots of fun optional extras to pick from, if you have time and are curious!
  • Expect later today feedback the idea you pitched for your final project: either a thumbs up, or requests for more information, suggestions for fine-tuning, or how to make it more manageable. I will do this via email.
  • Discussion remarks and feedback on your colleagues' post from last week is due tonight.
  • Like last week, there are no exploration packs in the Readings for this week but in addition to the Basic Set, there is a small truckload of optional extras to pick from. I hope this gives you a bit of breathing space.
  • Remember to pitch your Third Show and Tell project in the Cloud Lounge, so everybody can get inspired!
  • Feedback on your colleagues' posts is due on Tuesday and the Randomizer is up and running!
  • Readings are kept ultra-light so you can focus on your book review.
  • Speaking of book reviews, if you haven't messaged me yet the book you're reviewing, I'm dying of curiosity here, so please put me out of my misery and email me! (Yes, curiosity killed the cat, so maybe I'm a cat after all. On the internet, nobody knows you're a cat...)

Mini Monday, fox edition:

My friend Laura Gibbs (of randomizer and Growth Mindset Cat fame) shared this with me, and I immediately knew this was the perfect Mini-Monday. Are these cute or what??