Teaching The Humanities Online

So many online courses concentrate on hard sciences and practical skills. How about the humanities? Laura Gibbs, who teaches two purely online courses for the University of Oklahoma, most certainly qualifies as a humanities enthusiast: Dr. Gibbs, who I first met as “OnlineCrsLady” via Connected Courses, teaches purely online courses about mythology and folklore and epics of ancient India.  Dr. Gibbs blogs in Latin, translated Aesop’s Fables for Oxford University Press, and her LOLcats in Latin is probably her biggest Internet meme claim to fame. She is proudest of “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: PDF.BestLatin.net.”

In other words, you can’t get much more humanities than Dr. Gibbs. At the same time, she’s digitally adept enough to aggregate her multifarious online streams with Inoreader.

Gibbs doesn’t lecture — at all. She does provide resources, a course aggregator, and an assignment to blog, comment, and remix. The learning, reflection, and discourse all happens on the open web, and her learners publish “Storybook” websites in which “they retell traditional stories in fantastic new ways.” She found, qualified, and aggregated free online mythology and folklore resources for her students, publishing an “untextbook” of folktales and myths, from which “each student makes their own textbook” from the trillions of possible combinations of tales. At DML2015, she plans to join a panel talking about student blogs and RSS.

In this 10-minute video, Gibbs and I discuss teaching humanities online, public blogging in online learning, and the ways in which digital media enable e-portfolios and personal storybooks as ongoing learning instruments, which may one day replace traditional resumes.

Banner image credit: Quinn Dombrowski