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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

About me... circa April 2015

I needed to write up a kind of bio to share with Howard Rheingold (we're going to Skype next week, whoo-hoo!), and I thought I would put that here so I could include some screenshots and such. :-)

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I finished a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley in 1999; my main area of interest was Aesop's fables and I basically lived in Doe Library. I am very lucky that in the years since I left Berkeley and my beloved library behind, most of the books I consulted there are online: old books! public domain! digital bliss!


As a graduate student, I taught Latin, and although I no longer teach Latin (alas...), I have a long-running Latin blog, the Bestiaria Latina, at BestLatin.net.


Aesop continues to be an obsession of mine, and I've published an English translation of Aesop's fables for the World's Classics series by Oxford University Press.


The book of which I am most proud, though, is a huge collection of Aesop's fables in Latin: Mille Fabulae et Una: 1001 Aesop's Fables in Latin. That book, along with the other books I have written for Latin students and teachers, can be downloaded as free PDFs here: PDF.BestLatin.net.

And, yes, my LatinLOLCats are probably my biggest Internet claim to fame: LOL.BestLatin.net.

After finishing at Berkeley, I joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma in 1999. Since 2002, I've been teaching fully online: one course I teach is Mythology and Folklore, and the other is Epics of Ancient India. You can find out all about the courses and my other projects at MythFolklore.net. I've been teaching the same courses every semester, but no two semesters are ever alike because student creativity drives the courses. It's such a great adventure every time!

In both of these classes, the students publish "Storybook" websites in which they retell traditional stories in fantastic new ways; you can see their projects at Storybooks.MythFolklore.net.


To take advantage of the wonderful public domain books available online for mythology and folklore, I recently (summer 2014) created an "UnTextbook" of folktales and myths for the Myth-Folklore class; you can see that here: UnTextbook.MythFolklore.net. The students have 100 reading units to choose from, with trillions of possible combinations: each student basically makes their own textbook.


My goal for the summer of 2015 is to create a similar UnTextbook for the Indian Epics class.

Meanwhile, you can find out about my other projects and interests at MythFolklore.net, which contains an "omnifeed" of my posts at various blogs, Google+ and also Twitter. I built the omnifeed using Inoreader, an RSS-aggregator and magical syndication machine which helps me manage my student blog networks. So, if you want to find out what I'm up to right now, you'll find it there in the feed:


In June 2015, I'll be at DML2015, talking about student blogs and RSS on a panel organized by Alan Levine. I'm excited about meeting virtual colleagues in person at last! :-)







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(I have limited this to Google accounts only, but no word verification; meanwhile, if you want to contact me directly, you can do that too! laura-gibbs@ou.edu.)