Laura Gibbs

Good Things Happen When You GO OPEN

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on May 17, 2018

Being able to create OPEN course sites is one of my favorite things about Canvas. Your students and their work stay private, but you can adjust the settings in a Canvas course to make your Pages and other course files public, and I wish more people would do that. Just think of the wealth of educational material that we could share with the world that way! Canvas even makes it easy to put a copyright or open CC license on your site. I keep all my course sites open; it's easy to do that in your Settings. Here's a screenshot of my course: open to the public.


screenshot of settings


As an example of wonderful things that can happen when you GO OPEN, I wanted to share what happened to me this week: I am so excited! As I wrote in an earlier post, through sharing my Aesop materials online, I had the pleasure of meeting Suniti Namjoshi and getting to read a hot-off-the-press copy of her book, Aesop the Fox. After getting acquainted thanks to Aesop, I decided to share with her the project I am working on this summer about chain-tales; I wrote about that here: My Fun Summer Project. I'm creating that project in the open; the whole purpose of that project is to share and share widely.


Well, not only was Suniti Namjoshi interested in the project, she wrote a chain-tale to contribute! How cool is that???! And she understands exactly the appeal of chain-tales as an improvisational experiment, so she included an invitation right there inside her own story for others to contribute. You can read the story here. It even stars... a cat! You can access the story with this link:




screenshot of blog post


So, thanks to this unexpected event, my project has suddenly advanced months ahead of schedule: I was going to work all summer on harvesting public domain texts to build up the site before inviting others to contribute... but Suniti Namjoshi intuited the whole idea without me even saying anything, and she then stepped up with this story. I am still amazed and honored to have one of her stories be part of the project.


And you can probably guess just why I am so excited about chain-tales as a genre: chain-tales are about the way that everything and everybody really is connected, with one event leading to another and to another and to another. Those might be happy events, or they might be unhappy events; there are stories about trading up or trading down, stories about giving thanks and stories about placing blame. All kinds of stories.


It's up to us to create the stories we want to read.


And then, on the Internet, we can share them.


In the OPEN.


Meanwhile, I have written to the painter J. Sharkey Thomas who created the image I included in the post for this story. If I were rich, I would so buy that painting: it is gorgeous! If the artist says she would rather not have that included here, I will replace it with a public domain image of the Indian goddess Shashthi and her cat. But I hope the artist will say yes (she is seriously into cats-as-art!)... and who knows; maybe somebody who does have money to spend on art will see the image there and buy this gorgeous painting featuring her cat Ludvig.


Carpet Cat by J. Sharkey Thomas