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Dates: February 11, March 18, April 8, May 1 – retakes during final exam period
Points: 20 (5 each for 4 tests)

Which is it?

Which is it?

You will take four tests on the information and ideas presented in my lectures. The tests will ask for objective responses, that is, data — names, dates, places — instead of the more subjective approaches asked for in the other written assignments for this course.

Geography Test

The first test will be on geography, testing your ability to memorize some of the most basic geographical information about the world we live in. You’ll get a blank outline map of the Asian land mass and another of the European land mass, both maps without the national borders. You need to add the following about each of the countries that we are studying:

  • roughly draw the general outline of the country, giving at least a sense of its magnitude in relation to its surroundings; in other words, get its size roughly correct if not its exact shape; does it touch any other country that we are studying?
  • locate the capital city more or less accurately within the country (esp. coast/inland) – use a star or dot to locate the city
  • the country – write the name where it is
  • the country’s capital city – write the name where it is
  • spell both correctly
India – New Delhi South Korea – Seoul
Indonesia – Jakarta North Korea – Pyongyang
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur Japan – Tokyo
Vietnam – Hanoi Thailand – Bangkok
Netherlands – Amsterdam China – Beijing
extra credit: Tibet (draw its boundaries) – Lhasa

Arts and Society Tests

The other three tests will cover the material linked to menus on the left-hand navigation area. If this course has a textbook, these pages are it.

The tests will have fill-in-the-blank, multiple-choice, and true/false questions that will be copied and pasted from these web pages. None of the questions will come from any pages linked to the course web pages. The will come directly from these course web pages and only from these course web pages. Don’t forget the images, by the way.

The tests will each have twenty or twenty-five questions, plus some extra credit questions. Thus, I am going to ask about only two or maybe three of the most important points on any page. I will not try to be picky or tricky in any way.

Where in the world?

Where in the world?

What these tests are encouraging you to learn

The short answer: Where and when you are. These tests will give a rough measure of the clarity and accuracy of your mental model of the world we live in.

A textbook for a course like this, if it existed, would be very thick (and expensive). These web pages try, in under 20,000 words (maybe 80 printed ink-on-paper pages), assisted by lots of images, to organize some of the information that I think a well-educated, sophisticated college graduate in the 21st century should know about the world. The tests distill that information even further.

You should know about time and place, that is, have a sense of the quantity of time that has passed. It matters that 99% of the time that humans have been a separate species was spent in what we now call the Stone Age (because only stone artifacts have survived). Who came first? What came first? It matters that the lyre was invented thousands of years before paper and that Mohammed lived six hundred years after Jesus, who lived about five hundred years after Siddhartha Gautama, the original Buddha.

You should have a basic grasp of place. You should be able to visualize the Earth from afar and from up close: the shape, size, and relative position of the continents and the countries are important, as well as the general distribution of humanity — those areas with lots of people and those with very few.

You should be able to experience art forms (music, dance, architecture, etc.) and cultural values that are very different from what you grew up with. In addition, you should have a basic vocabulary to discuss all of this at what I call the Blu Jaz Cafe on the page about the best you can get out of this course.

I used that same metaphor, Blu Jaz Cafe, when Ashlea Browning took this course in Spring 2011. Two years later, here she is at her own Blu Jaz Cafe. I got the picture below off her Facebook page. These are the other English teachers at her school: Aisha Tibasiima, Shan K Oris, Eloise Borgeaud Petzold, Tom Livesey, Ian Scholan, Amanda Harring, Eric Harring, and Eric Ehlers. Ashlea, second from the right, is the only American.

Ashlea at her Blu Jaz Cafe

Ashlea at her Blu Jaz Cafe

Could you participate in the conversation at that table? HUM 300 tries to give you a boost in that direction. Go for it! I’d be thrilled to put your picture here next.

Ashlea sent me an email in early April 2013 saying that she didn’t have time to post an entry to her blog. She went to the Songkran Festival and she and Stuart are at the Full Moon Festival. She sent me what she would have blogged:

I already know I’ve changed a lot since moving here and I am absolutely in love with it. I don’t want it to stop. I’m learning SO much it’s absolutely incredible. I’m learning new things about myself and what different influences have contributed to the person I am today… And I’m learning a whole helluva lot about the world from a perspective that simply isn’t possible to realize while living in the US. The emotions I go through in the learning processes are pretty neat too.

Sometimes I get so pissed off at the education I received in the public school system in America and how they don’t teach a lot about the world – mostly just about America. I feel stupid and ignorant about things that I think I SHOULD know but just don’t! But then sometimes I am overwhelmed with how lucky I am to be from America and to be able to have the freedom and liberty to do what I am doing now to even realize that there’s so much I don’t know!!!

The tests in HUM 300 encourage you to learn the kinds of information that Ashlea is saying she should know.