Confucius Institute at The University of Toledo

Hum 2980 Chinese Culture


 Instructor: Ling Hu                                       Email:

 Office Hours: Tuesday, Thursday 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

 Office Location: SM 1020 A

 Class Location/Times: FH 2250, 11:00 – 12:15 p.m. TU&TH

 Course Website:

 Office Phone:            419-530-8593



Chinese Culture is designed for students who are interested in Chinese way of thinking and behaviors, and who will potentially pursue China-related career or studies. Through a systematic discussion of Chinese values, habit of thoughts, and patterns of behaviors, this course aims to help students build a professional and effective understanding of Chinese people’s living experiences. Two paralleled questions serve as the guideline of the course construction:  

a. What are the Dos and Don’ts while interacting with Chinese people?

b. What are the key Mandarin vocabulary and phrases for basic communication with Chinese people?  

These two questions are most-concerned by western people, especially Americans. Therefore this course is consist of 14 themed lectures centering on these two questions, focus on familiarizing students with Chinese culture at both linguistic and practical levels.


Upon the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

Understand basic facts about China, including its demographic characteristics, geographic location/scope, brief ancient/modern history, socio-economic structures, and major cultural- specific events.

Comprehend fundamental Chinese values and beliefs, such as the concept of face, the   role of models, the adherence of harmonious relationships promoted by philosophical Yin and Yang, and the hierarchical leadership structure.

Familiarize with basic Chinese traditions and customs, such as how to address, greet, and converse with local Chinese people, how to initiate and maintain friendships, how to dine and drink in authentic Chinese way, and how to practically deal with the role of   gender, socio-economic status, educational background, and other personal features in interpersonal communication.

Demonstrate basic linguistic proficiency in Mandarin by appropriately using at least 50 most-used Chinese vocabulary/phrases.



Hu, W., Grove, C. L., & Zhuang, E. (2010). Encountering the Chinese: A modern country, an ancient culture. Boston: Intercultural Press. 

Additional readings will be provided and assigned by the instructor to meet specific class goals.


    Time                                         Contents                                        Due Dates/Deadlines

Week 1 (1)      Self introduction/ going over the syllabus/ assigning groups    & topic of group project

Section 1- A brief background to Chinese Way of Life

Week 1 (2)      China: its demographics and geography (1)

Week 2 (1)      China: its demographics and geography (2)

Week 2 (2)      A History of 5000 years       Ancient Chinese history (before 1911)

Week 3 (1)                                                 Modern Chinese history (1911-1949)

Week 3 (2)                                                 Contemporary Chinese history (1949-now)

                                                                 Reflective Journal #1 due

Week 4 (1)      Fundamental values of        Pillars of the Chinese belief System:

Week 4 (2)      the Chinese                        Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism

Week 5 (1)                                                The spirit of Martial Arts and its root in Chinese core values

Week 5 (2)                                                The promotion of harmonious relationships

                                                                Chinese modesty and humility        Assignment # 1 due

Section 2 –Advice for Westerners Interacting with the Chinese

Week 6 (1)      Daily Communication           Chinese titles and forms of address

Week 6 (2)      with the Chinese                   Greetings, conversations, and farewells

Week 7 (1)      Chinese-style dining/drinking & regional cuisines    Reflective Journal# 2 due

Week 7 (2)      A bite of China

Week 8 (1)      Symbols of Chinese            Important cultural events/festivals

Week 8 (2)      culture                               Herbal medicine

Week10 (1)                                               Chinaware

Week10 (2)                                               Architecture

                                                                Painting and calligraphy            Assignment #2 due

Week 11         Chinese education/training practices

Week 12         Making Chinese friends and maintenance of the friendship

Week 13         The Chinese views on gender, family, and foreigners          Reflective Journal# 3 due

Week 14         Business etiquette and culture

Week 15         Group project presentations                                                Group project due

Week 16         Final Week (no class)




All students taking this course are expected to:

  1. Hold a positive attitude towards Chinese culture learning. It is the instructor’s responsibility to provide necessary information for the successful completion of this course, yet it is the students’ responsibility to be accountable for your in-class performance as well as out-of- class project/assignment. A positive attitude is essential to realize this goal.
  2. Preview the assigned readings and learning materials according to the daily class schedule before each class day.
  3. Bring required classroom materials including text books, note books, pen/pencil/markers, and hard copy of completed homework to the class.
  4. Finish and hand in class assignment in a timing manner. The instructor will review your late submission, but no in-time feedback is guaranteed.

Your instructor will give you participation grade every week. If you do not agree with the participation grade, you should speak to your instructor immediately. Disputes over anticipation grades should not wait until the end of the semester since they are much more difficult to document and handle then.

Please note that the daily participation grade for any absence, excused or unexcused, is zero.

What follows is a description of the class performance of a typical A student:

Quantity: My participation was extremely active. Although not always called on, I volunteered to answer almost every question.

Effort: I was engaged to the learning process as much as I can at any time during class. I was a very active participant in group and partner activities. My presence made a positive impact on completing the assigned tasks during group/partner work.

Preparedness and Attitude:  I had all the necessary materials needed for class. I was prepared for class every day. I was attentive and had a positive attitude during the whole class period. I raised my learning-related questions in class for further clarification, and I met with the instructor during the office hours when I needed further help. 

Missed Class Policy

Attendance is mandatory. You cannot learn Chinese culture unless you are in class. Students are expected to attend every class meeting at UT. Only in specific, unavoidable situations does the

University excuse absences from class:

  1. Personal emergencies, including, but not limited to, illness of the student or of a dependent of the student (as defined by the Board of Trustees’ Policy on Family and Medical Leave), or death of a member of the immediate family;
  2. Religious observances that prevent the student from attending class;
  3. Participation in University-sponsored activities, approved by academic units, including artistic performances, R.O.T.C functions, academic field trips, and special events connected with coursework;
  4. Government-required activities, such as military assignments, jury duty, or court appearances;
  5. Any other absence that the professor approves.

You bear the responsibility to notifying your instructor in writing of any absences you anticipate. It is strongly recommended that you use email and writing to insure that the instructor is properly notified of the planned absence. In the event of an unavoidable short notice for a University-approved activity where you are eligible for an excused absence, you will notify instructors in writing as soon as possible upon learning of the activity. In the case of your illness or a family emergency, you should provide a written explanation for your absence immediately upon returning to class. It is the student’s responsibility to get absence excused if necessary. Documentation must be an official letter or note from a doctor with a contact phone number, letter on letterhead from place of employment, death notice/obituary, program from funeral, and so on.

Consistent late arrivals or early departures will affect your participation grade. Arriving late is impolite and disruptive. Make every effort to arrive on time. If you have a conflict that causes you to be constantly late to class or to have to leave early, you should resolve that conflict, or you will be considered as absent at your instructor’s discretion.

Late Work and Make-ups

Students will be expected to have read the assigned text material and completed the relevant assignments before attending class. Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the days indicated in the schedule.  No late work or make-up work will be considered without written documentation for your absence. If you are absent the day of an exam or quiz for an excusable reason, you should make an appointment to make up the exam with your instructor during the next scheduled office hours. However, you will not receive credit for the exam until your instructor has approved the absence. If you are absent on the day of an exam for an unexcused reason, you will receive a zero on the exam. Any missed assignment must be turned in the following class period, alone with above-mentioned documentation. Authorized absences do not relieve you of course responsibilities. You are still expected to have completed all the preparation for the class and the class that follows it. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Please read The University’s Policy Statement on Academic Dishonesty available at


Students are expected to complete two individual assignments, one group project, and three reflective journals for this course. The details for each assignment/project is as following. You may also find the instructions on the Blackboard.

Individual Assignment #1 & 2

Students will watch two assigned documentary movie/ video clips during the semester. The instructor will provide the web links of these videos in week 2 and week 8, and the assignments are due in week 3 and week10. Students are required to watch these   videos independently and complete an 8 page, double-spaced report for each video clip. The completed reports should be submitted to the blackboard.

The report should be in standard writing format and contains students’ reflection on the following questions:

  • What is the major theme of this video?
  • How many different aspects are addressed in this video centering on this theme? And what are they?
  • Is the information delivered in this video similar to your expectation of China on this theme? If not, what and why the differences exist?
  • What are the similarities and differences between China and the U.S. on this theme, based on personal experiences/ knowledge?

Individual Reflective Journals

Students will be assigned with reading materials either from the course textbook, or other supplementary resources. Periodic journals on summary and reflection on the readings are due three times during the semester.

Each journal should be at least 5 page in length (double-spaced), covering student’s summarization and reflective thoughts on the readings up to the journal due date.

Group Project on Chinese Culture

Students will be assigned in pairs (or three persons depending on course enrollment situation) in the first class   meeting.   Group   members   should   meet   each   other   regularly   during   the   semester   to   create   a 20-minute presentation on selected topics of Chinese culture. 8 topics are listed in the following paragraph for selection. In the first class meeting, students in each group need to name their group and determine which topic to work on.

Topic Pool for the group project

    1. Chinese wedding traditions
    2. Chinese transportation system
    3. Chinese shopping habits
    4. Chinese folk musical performance/ instruments
    5. Chinese historical relics/world heritage sites
    6. Chinese martial arts (wu shu)
    7. Chinese places of interests (natural/ humanistic landscape)
    8. Chinese endangered species
    9. Top 500 companies in China
    10. Entertainment for daily Chinese life


The grading scale for this course is as follows:

                                                                                            Final Grade %

                              Attendance                                                   10%

                              Class Participation                                        10%

                              Individual Assignments 1 & 2                       25%

                              Group Project                                               25%

                              Reflective Journals 1-3                                 30%

                              Total                                                           100%


            A    = 94 – 100     B+    = 87 – 89    C+    = 77 – 79      D+     = 67 – 69      F= < 60

            A-   = 90 – 93      B     = 84 – 86      C     = 74 – 76       D      = 64 – 66

                                        B-    = 80 – 83     C-    = 70 – 73      D-     = 60 – 63




Students are expected to check their UT email account frequently for important course information. This class is being taught for you, so if you are having trouble understanding any aspect of it, please let me know. I am here to help, and will do my best to respond to email within 24 to 48 hours.


Participation is vital to your success in this course, and your   active engagement during weekly discussion is crucial to learning. At   the beginning of the term, you will be assigned to a discussion group designed to help you understand assigned readings, learning activities, and course assignments.

Real-Time Communication:

A link to a real-time communication or chat tool has been added to the Course Menu. We will not be using this tool as part of our course assignments; however, the tool is available for you to use if and when you need it. To that end, I would be happy to arrange a time to meet with you in a chat room if you feel that you have questions that would best be answered in real-time. Conversely, you could also use the tool to meet with fellow students online in order to enhance your understanding of course concepts.


Students need to have access to a properly functioning computer throughout the semester. Students are also expected to complete recording assignments for individual/group project. Therefore, a smartphone with Microphone and video functions may work better for you. However, technological equipment is not required for any course participation. Other arrangement can be made if specific students do not meet such needs.


If you encounter technical difficulties with Blackboard, please contact the UT Online Help Desk at (419) 530-8835 or  The Help Desk offers extended hours in the evenings and on weekends to assist students with technical problems. When calling after hours, leave a detailed message, including your Rocket Number and phone number, and an Online Learning staff member will respond on the next business day. The UT Online Help Desk website is available at:

Technical questions related to on-campus Internet access, virtual labs, hardware, software, personal website hosting, and UTAD account management can be directed to UT’s IT Help Desk at (419) 530-2400 or The IT Help Desk website is available at


The University of Toledo offers a wide range of academic and student support services that can help you succeed:

eTutoring Services

The Ohio eTutoring Collaborative, in partnership with The University of Toledo, now provides online tutoring support for all UT students. eTutoring Services are offered in a wide array of subjects, including Writing, Math, Calculus, Statistics, Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy and Physiology.

Learn more at:

eLibrary Services Portal

The eLibrary is a customized gateway to UT Libraries for online students. It was designed to help you locate the best online library resources without leaving Blackboard.

Learn more at:

Office of Student Disability Services

The Office of Student Disability Services provides accommodations and support services to students with disabilities.

Learn more at:

Counseling Center

The Counseling Center is the university's primary facility for personal counseling, psychotherapy, and psychological outreach and consultation services. The Counseling Center staff provide counseling

(individual and group), mental health and wellness programming, and crisis intervention services to help students cope with the demands of college and to facilitate the development of life adjustment strategies.

Learn more at:


Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty by students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate courses and programs offered by the Department of Foreign Languages will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty includes but is not limited to:

  1. Obtaining assistance from another individual during an examination.
  2. Giving assistance to another individual during an examination.
  3. Unauthorized use of study material or books during an examination.
  4. Changing answers on an examination after it has been returned and then submitting it for regarding.
  5. Plagiarizing written assignments. Plagiarizing includes but is not limited to:
    1. copying course work from previous years
    2. copying or paraphrasing work prepared by other students
    3. unauthorized collaboration in the preparation of course work
    4. unauthorized input concerning grammar and/or content from another individual presented as one’s own work
    5. using another author’s materials without appropriate acknowledgement through quotation and citation.
  6. Attempting to bribe or otherwise induce an instructor to alter either a grade or an examination score.
  7. Obtaining or attempting to obtain a copy of an examination prior to its administration.

In accordance with policies stated in the current Student Handbook and University Catalog, instructors have the responsibility and right to report cases of alleged dishonesty to departmental, college, and university administrative units. Students involved in academic dishonesty may expect to receive a grade of F on specific assignments as well as in the course for which the assignment   was completed. In addition, disciplinary action may be recommended through appropriate college and university disciplinary committees. Please consult your instructor for instructions on the implementation of this policy.

Foreign Language Learning Center (410-530-5959, Field House 2330)

Students are expected to go to the Foreign Language Learning Center (FLLC) to complete the homework required to use the audio   CDs of the textbook or workbook. Be sure to bring your own headphones to the lab (FLLC) for reason of hygiene.

Placement Test

If you have taken one or more years of Chinese language at high schools, you may take a placement test in Chinese at 1080 Field House or at Confucius Institute. If you are placed higher than 1110, you will be recommended to take other classes this or next semester.  The test covers grammatical structures, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.  For more info, visit or call 419.530.1269.

Extra credit assignments will NOT be made to individuals; as such arrangements are inequitable if not offered to the entire class.

Midterm and Final Exams

All exams are the property of the Department of Foreign Languages and must be returned to the instructor upon his/her request.   If you wish to look over your midterm exams before final exam, you may make an appointment with your instructor.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning, and psychiatric disabilities. In accordance with the ADA and university policy, if you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course; please contact the instructor at the   beginning of the semester to discuss any necessary accommodations. Please contact the Office of Academic Access for verification of eligibility at 419-530-4981 (voice) or 419-530-2612 (TDD).

Last Updated: 2/19/20