Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 1 Introduction: Being in Two Places at Once

Hi, everybody! As you already know, I teach online courses at the University of Oklahoma... but what you might not know is that I am living in North Carolina, as I have been for the past several years. Here's how that happened: my husband retired early from the Meteorology School at OU in order to take care of his very elderly father (who was living here on his own in North Carolina), and, luckily for me, I was able to move here too and keep on teaching at OU. Which was great... because I love my job! So, like students who sometimes need the flexibility of online courses to manage complicated life situations, the same is true for me too.

Since I work full-time "in" Oklahoma while living here in North Carolina, I often have this strange sense of being in two places at once. When I say "here," sometimes I mean here in North Carolina... but sometimes I mean Oklahoma! I'm very lucky that online space works that way: even at a distance, I can feel very connected to things that are going on in Oklahoma and excited about the things happening at OU.

I've been at OU since 1999, and I've been teaching online courses since back in 2002... which is a long time ago in the world of online teaching. I really like teaching online because every semester there are new things to try, based on all the ideas and suggestions from students during the semester before! Last summer, I created an UnTextbook for the Myth-Folklore class, and next summer I hope to create an UnTextbook for the Indian Epics class. In fact, I'll be asking for your advice and suggestions about that this semester!

And yes, since my idea of fun during the summer is to read lots and lots of books, you have probably guessed that I am a book nerd. I love science fiction novels, and I also really like historical fiction. The best book I read last semester was this amazing novel about Watergate: Watergate, A Novel by Thomas Mallon. I was just a little kid when Watergate happened, so I the names of all the characters are familiar to me, but this novel really brought them to life (Pat Nixon especially). I had never thought about historical fiction set in the 1970s... but history is any time in the past, including the 1970s.

I'm also a huge fan of Doctor Who, and I'm actually reading through all the Doctor Who television scripts as part of this new "Doctor Who Quotes" project. Hey, it's an excuse to binge-watch Doctor Who whenever I want, ha ha. Here's a TARDIS quote from an episode with the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant):

So, books, television... and cats. We have two cats. One is a girl cat named Possum. She likes to go on walks, and she especially likes to play hide-and-seek! She came to us as a stray summer before last, all skin-and-bones after living out in the woods for who knows how long. She was glad to find us, and we were glad she found us too.

(Possum photo taken by my husband)

We have a boy cat too; here you can see him surveying his outdoor domain from our back porch. His name is Einstein... because he is seriously smart. Einstein was also a stray; he came to us a little over a year ago. We had been thinking we wanted to have a couple of cats, and we are very glad with the two strays who came our way.

(Einstein photo taken by my husband)

Anyway, 2014 was a great year for me, and I'm looking forward to great things in 2015 also. I hope you will have a fantastic year ahead too!!!


  1. Laura,

    Do you like foxes? Because your Google pictures on here are foxes, and foxes are my favorite animal!

  2. Hi Linzee, foxes are great!!! I always use a fox of some kind for social media. At Twitter for this class, I am Fox-in-Socks:

    I first started using the fox as my avatar because the fox is the most important animal in Aesop's fables, and I am obsessed with Aesop's fables.

    When that song went viral last year - "What Does the Fox Say?" - everybody I know online was teasing me about that! The people I know only online and not IRL definitely think I am a fox in some weird symbolic way, ha ha.

  3. What part of North Carolina are you? Most people think the coast or Raleigh when you talk about living there, but there is so much more to the state. I used to live just North of Mooresville, but it never felt like home.


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