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Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 7 years, 11 months ago


Laura Gibbs: Something about me


Hi! As you have probably figured out by now my name is Laura Gibbs - please just call me Laura. Okay, some students call me Dr. Laura. Go figure. But I'm not a professor (I'm an instructor), and you certainly don't need to call me "doctor" anything... :-)


I first joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma in 1999, and I've been teaching online at the University of Oklahoma since 2002 - so that makes me a veteran of online teaching. In the world of fully online courses, fourteen years is a long time! The first time my Mythology-Folklore Online course was offered online was back in Fall 2002. In addition to Mythology-Folklore, I also teach Epics of India: Ramayana and Mahabharata.


I used to teach in a regular classroom, but I don't think I could do that again - I like teaching online so much more than teaching in the classroom! Being online allows me to be a far better teacher, and I also think that it brings out the best in the students too. You can find out more about my work online at my website: MythFolklore.net.


In the course evaluations from past semesters, I was asked to provide something more like a biography profile on this page, so here it is if you want to know about my life offline...


  • Growing up. I was born in Austin and my dad lives there now (he's retired), but we moved all around when I was a kid - I lived the longest in Tucson and in Nashville. I graduated from high school in Nashville in 1980 - and yes, that means I had graduated from high school before most of the students in these classes now were even born. Life in olden times: no personal computers, no internet, no CDs or DVDs or VCRs, no cell phones. But somehow we survived...
  • B.A. from Berkeley. I got my B.A. in Classical Languages (Latin and Greek) and Slavic Languages (Polish and Russian) at the University of California in Berkeley. That was a really great time to be a student there, and one of the things I am most proud of is that during my senior year I was the director of an office called DECal: Democratic Education at Cal, which helped to students to create and offer their own classes, for regular university credit. And DECal is still going strong, 30 years later, as you can see at the DECal website!
  • M.Phil. from Oxford. After graduating from Berkeley, I did a Master's degree at Oxford University. My main interest then was Polish literature and folklore, and I wrote my master's thesis on a Polish Renaissance poet, Jan Kochanowski (1530-1584), who wrote poetry in both Polish and in Latin. At Oxford, you only had to be in school for 24 weeks during the year. So I was actually away traveling a lot of the time! Since Kochanowski had gotten his education at the University of Padova in Italy, I used that as an excuse to go to Italy as often as I could, while also spending a lot of time in Poland.
  • What to do? After finishing my degree at Oxford, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Bilingual Polish-Latin Renaissance poetry does not indicate a clear career path! I lived in Poland for a while, and I returned to the U.S. just before the communist government fell in 1989. For several years I lived in Nashville, working at various jobs (interesting jobs! I learned a lot about computers), while taking classes at Tennessee State University to get a high school teaching certificate in English. And then... I discovered Aesop! I started doing a lot of research on my own, trying to understand all the complicated connections between the fables of Aesop and storytelling traditions of India and the Middle East. As a result, I decided it was time to go to graduate school and get a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature.
  • Ph.D. from Berkeley. I ended up doing my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Berkeley, with an emphasis on Greek, Latin and Polish, but I also learned Sanskrit, plus I studied some Persian, Hebrew, and Arabic also. I wrote my dissertation on Aesop's fables and did research work with a professor at the University of Siena in Italy, which meant that I was able to spend a lot of time in Italy again. I also translated one of my professor's books into English: The Portrait of the Lover by Maurizio Bettini. Finally, in my very last semester of graduate school, I learned how to publish webpages!
  • Oklahoma. After finishing my degree at Berkeley, I came to the University of Oklahoma in 1999. I started out teaching in the Classics & Letters department, and then I went to work for OU's department of Information Technology so that I could gain the professional IT skills I needed to achieve my personal goal to become a designer of online courses. Now I am back teaching again full-time, but I'm teaching online, working with the Online Education program in the OU College of Arts and Sciences. 
  • North Carolina. In summer 2007, my husband retired from his job at the university and we moved to rural North Carolina in order to care for his elderly father. Like many students who opt for online classes, I am very pleased that teaching online allowed me to keep my job at OU (which I love!), while also allowing me to make family a priority too.
  • Books. See below. :-)


Brevissima: 1001 Tiny Latin Poems
Website - Lulu.com

Mille Fabulae et Una: 1001 Aesop's Fables in Latin
Website - Lulu.com

Aesop's Fables: A New Translation (Oxford World's Classics)

Aesop's Fables in Latin: Ancient Wit and Wisdom from the Animal Kingdom


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