Laura Gibbs

Fall 2018: I'm going to take my own class!

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Aug 11, 2018

So, for lots of reasons (some selfish, some strategic, and also just for the sheer fun of it), I've decided to take my Myth-Folklore class this Fall. Yep. I'm not just going to do some of the assignments as a kind of quality control (which is what I usually do...). Instead, I am going to be a student in the class. I'll complete every assignment (and if I don't, I'll do extra credit to make up for it), and I'm going to put my blog and my class project into the randomizer along with everybody else's work, so students will be commenting on my stories and project and I'll be commenting on their stories and projects too, in addition to the kind of feedback I usually do.


Yeah, it's kind of weird. But I think it's going to be basically a very good kind of weird. If all goes well, I'll take my Indian Epics class in the Spring. (Which is actually the class I enjoy the most in terms of sheer learning... but for practical reasons, it makes sense to do Myth-Folklore first.)


If I understand how "Student View" works in Canvas, I'll be able to record my points in the Gradebook the same way that real students do. If not, I'll just make a quick Excel spreadsheet to do the same thing. This is going to be a really hard year for me because of my dad so, I'll be honest: if I get a C in the class, that is fine with me. Which is the same thing I say to my students who are juggling a lot of things in their lives.


School starts for me on Monday, so yesterday and today I did all my assignments for Week 1, repurposing an old blog to use for that. Here it all is: Myth-Folklore Course Diary: Week 1


For my Introduction post, I wrote about going to InstructureCon! That was really fun because the way my class works is that over the course of the semester, a couple of people read your Introduction post every week and leave you comments, which means a lot of students will end up seeing that post and getting to see the guy shot out of the cannon video. And seriously: that is just COOL. I can't embed the actual Twitter video here in Jive, but it is embedded as video in my blog post. :-)


screenshot of cannon video in Introduction post

So, I'll have lots to say about this experiment as the semester goes along. I'll use #TotalColearner as my hashtag for these posts. Is anybody else up for an experiment like this? In the classroom, you cannot exactly be a student at the same time, but for anybody who teaches , it really is possible, depending on your course design. If you do give it a try, even just for a couple of weeks, use #TotalColearner to label your blog post so we can connect and share experiences.


For now, here are 3 quick thoughts I have going into this:


1. Being a student together with my students feels totally right to me. I have always had the colearning spirit in mind, and I like the way this takes my philosophy and makes it more obvious to the students. When I say I want to learn together with them, I really mean it. And now they will see that more clearly. I think they will feel okay about that. I hope so anyway! I definitely don't want to make anybody feel uncomfortable.


2.  I NEED CREATIVE TIME. I put that in all-caps because that is a lesson I learned last semester. Trying to take care of my dad has been emotionally draining in ways I never imagined, and it means I don't have free time the way I used to. But if I am a student in my own class, hey, I can take some time to write some stories and tell myself I am doing that for my job. It's official. :-)


3. I will find problems in my class that need fixing. Doing the first week's assignments, I did not find anything huge that needed fixing as a result of doing the assignments myself, but I did find a lot of little things. And I also put myself more in the students' point of view, seeing each assignment from a new angle. As I do that week by week, I am sure I going to get a lot of insight I would not have otherwise.


Okay, now I am ready to move on to Week 2. I hope to finish Week 2 today and tomorrow, and then open my classes for students as of 12:01AM on Monday. I am ............. excited!!!!!!