Digital Resources

The incorporation of digital resources into Asian studies courses can greatly enhance students’ ability to think about–and with–the texts, works of art, and other materials they encounter. This is especially true for those students who have not visited Asia or worked directly with archival or other primary material. The following resources provide examples of innovative approaches to teaching with digital material, offer uniquely useful collections of primary material, and provide broadly applicable skill-building exercises. Some offer lesson plans or project ideas you may find directly applicable, and others may inspire you to create your own lesson plans using digital resources related to Asia.  

The online resources below are in alphabetical order and include both country-specific and regional collections.

About Japan: A Teacher’s Resource  Japan Society’s collection of educational resources, including articles, images, videos, and lesson plans. Created for K-12 teachers, but useful for college-level courses as well.

Asia for Educators  Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute publishes Asia for Educators, offering high school and undergraduate course and lesson plans on world history, culture, geography, art, and literature. 

Council on Foreign Relations An independent think tank and publisher that offers reports on trending news stories and other resources related to foreign policy. 

Education About Asia: Teaching Resource Journal An online resource by the Association of Asian Studies, providing essays, templates, and supplemental digital materials for experiential learning about Asia. 

Japan: Places, Images, Times, and Transformations (JapanPITT)  University of Pittsburgh’s Japan Studies program website offers a variety of resources including essays, images, video, audio, a timeline, and glossary exploring “the ways Japan has influenced and been influenced by Asia and the world culturally, socially, and politically.”

Korea Society Educational Resources Created for “the promotion of greater awareness, understanding, and cooperation between the people of the United States and Korea,” the website categorizes video lectures and podcasts on Korean history, arts, media, language, and culture. Some resources are dated, but new material continues to be added.

The Meiji at 150 Digital Teaching Resource  The site is a collaborative effort of the UBC Library, the Museum of Anthropology, the Center for Japanese Research, the Department of History, and the Department of Asian Studies to promote the study of Japanese history and culture using digital materials from UBC collections. Curated and edited by Tristan Grunow and Naoko Kato, the Meiji at 150 DTR is designed to present open-source scholarly content that will be useful for educators and academics looking for new images and topics to introduce into their classroom teaching, while highlighting the academic research possible using UBC’s digital materials. The Meiji at 150 Visual Essays pair digitized materials with historical narrative and interpretive analysis.  The companion Digital Resources page collates all of the Japan-related digital collections at UBC into one convenient location to facilitate accessibility for research purposes and for easy adoption in the Japanese studies classroom.”

Model Diplomacy  The site “offers free National Security Council (NSC) and UN Security Council (UNSC) simulations that present both historical and hypothetical scenarios based on real issues,with content informed by Council on Foreign Relations experts. Cases focus on topics that offer a balance of newsworthiness and evergreen educational value, and are accessible to both high school and college students.” Several hypothetical situations involve crises in Asia, including Cyber Clash with China, Dispute in the East China Sea, and Drones in Pakistan.

National Consortia for Teaching Asia (NCTA)  There are seven National Consortia for Teaching Asia (NCTA) in the US (University of Colorado Boulder, University of Washington,Indiana University Bloomington, Columbia University, the Five College Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pittsburgh, and University of Southern California’s US-China Institute), which seek to improve teaching on Asia at the elementary and secondary school levels. The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Asian Studies provides pedagogic resources on teaching Japan that may be useful to instructors in higher education through their Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA), including an Online Curriculum Project with complete lesson plans such as “Becoming Modern: Early 20th-Century Japan through Primary Sources,” “Cultural Encounters: Teaching Japan in World History,” “Imagining Japanese History,” “Texts and Contexts: Teaching Japan through Children’s Literature,” and “Visualizing Japan in Modern World History.”

Reacting to the Past  Reacting to the Past is an pedagogical consortium offering role-paying games for engaged learning. Paid membership is required. There are four games on Asia available. 

Silk Road Foundation’s History of the Silk Road   Maps, images, and short explanatory text on a variety of aspects of the Silk Road.

Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)  The program serves as a bridge between Stanford University and K–12 schools and community colleges by developing multidisciplinary curricular materials on international topics, conducting teacher professional development seminars, and teaching distance-learning courses.

Visualizing Cultures   Innovative lesson plans designed to encourage history students to examine modern and early-modern portrayals of contemporary Japan and China through visual images, including woodblock prints, photographs, and video. Though designed for high school classrooms, materials are easily adapted and broadly applicable to college-level work in the study of history, media, religion, gender, and more.