Module 2 Discussion: Virtual Field Trip to Mesopotamia & Egypt Museums

Purpose: This discussion assignment will build on and enhance the material you’ve been studying in this module.  Its purpose is to encourage discussion and interaction between you and other students in this course; provide you the opportunity to share your ideas and contribute to our learning community; and encourage you to engage in the course material presented in this module with your classmates.

Task: First, Go to the either the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago or the Smithsonian Institute and peruse the artifacts displayed and find something that looks interesting to you.  Before reading the item’s description, imagine what the item is and might have been used for in either ancient Mesopotamia or Egypt. Second, prepare your first post and when ready click on the blue “Start New Thread” button (remember, you can’t see anyone else’s posts until you make your own).  Be sure your first post does the following:

  1. Places the name of your artifact as the subject of the post
  2. Your original description of the artifact and hypothesis of the artifact’s purpose (in at least three or four sentences)
  3. Briefly (in about three sentences) tell us what the artifact actually is and its actual purpose (this may require additional research on your part)
  4. Discusses (in about three sentences) what this artifact tells us about the person or society that produced it
  5. Properly cites the artifact’s online location (example: Mummy Coffin Model of Wood, Smithsonian Institute,  You will need to include the link so other students can easily find and access your article when responding to your post.

Remember, your first post needs to be made Wednesday or Thursday.  Third, choose two posts made by other students.  Follow the links cited to the articles and read them (if he or she neglected to cite properly, kindly ask him or her to provide the link).  In your responses, you should do the following:

  1. Address your classmate by name (for example, “Barbara, I enjoyed reading your post on …”)
  2. Explain (in one to two sentences) what you learned from your classmate’s posts
  3. Discuss, positively and substantively, any critiques or differences of interpretation you have of your classmate’s interpretations of their subject’s importance or significance (try to think of something … it’s not sufficient to write “I agree with what you think” or “I disagree.” Try this: “Li, I agree with what you’ve written, but I’d like to make the following observations …”)

Remember, your second and third posts need to be made Friday or Saturday and Sunday or Monday (try not to wait until Tuesday).  If a classmate responds to your post, should you respond?  YES!  (If your professor comments you should definitely respond!) If there’s any disagreement courteously respond, and counter their critique with evidence from the article (and/or from the course materials in this module).  I will be monitoring the discussion and prompting interactions where necessary.

Criteria for Success:  This is the first time we’re doing this in this course, so it’s going to be awkward at first.  We will be working on making better posts and responses over the course of the semester.  Think of this as practice, so I won’t be grading this discussion as rigorously as the next.  Consider the following when making your posts:

  • Excellent posts and responses will receive 9-10 points: they include all the requirements listed above; offer reflective and thoughtful insights on the topics; engage two students’ posts, including everything required above; are posted on time and well written.
  • Adequate posts and responses will receive 5-8 posts: they only include some of the required information above; offer weak or no insightful comments; engage others poorly, or only engages one student; are posted late, sloppily written with grammar and spelling errors, no citation or link.
  • Inadequate posts and responses will receive 1-4 points: include little to none of the required information listed above; offer no comments other than “I agree” or “I disagree”; does not respond to any students’ posts; are posted late, sloppily written with grammar and spelling errors, no citation or link.

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