tishaturk: (professional geek)
I know I normally use this account to post about research-y things, and I do actually have things to post about that! But this post is about the students in my fandom class, because they are hi-larious.

1) Earlier this week one of them said she'd been posting things I say in class to her Facebook page. Another one said "We should make a Google Doc!" They now have a shared Google Doc that they are using to compile things I say in class. They have even shared the link with me. Thus far I have been afraid to look.

2) When I posted about the Google Doc on Facebook, more than one alum commented to let me know that they did the same thing (though not on Google Docs). One of them even provided some of the quotes... from Fall 2008. WHAT.

3) One of this semester's assignments in the fandom class is to contribute to Fanlore. It's turning out to be a good assignment, generally speaking, though it has had some... unintended consequences. I suppose I should have anticipated that they would figure out how to make a Fanlore page about me. I need to go in and fix parts of it, but I am too busy crying with laughter.
tishaturk: (professional geek)
I just. WHAT.

Some of you no doubt remember what happened last year: One of my students tweeted Orlando Jones, he responded, epic hilarity ensued.

This year, I put readings by and about Mr. Jones on the syllabus: A Daily Dot piece from last fall about his interest in fic, an essay he wrote for HuffPo, and of course the Tumblr posts referenced above. I told them about his self-identification as a fangirl and linked them to the videos that Henry Jenkins posted in which Mr. Jones chatted with Henry about fandom and the future and visited one of Henry's graduate seminars. (And then in class one of my students asked me who Orlando Jones is. Pro tip for students: if you don't do the readings, please don't embarrass yourself by advertising that you didn't do the readings.)

Anyway! On Monday evening, one of this year's students tweeted him; once again, he responded. I tweeted to say that he should consider himself contacted and we'd love to talk to him during our Thusday afternoon class. There was some weirdness with DMs not going through; he asked me to email him, I did, I didn't hear anything for a couple of days... Until today, when I checked my email after my morning class finished up at noon and discovered that I had an email from Orlando Jones asking for my Skype address. WHY YES I WOULD BE HAPPY TO SEND THAT TO YOU. *dies* I emailed last year's students to invite them to join us, posted to Tumblr (which prompted this post--check the notes), and then staved off fangirl meltdown by grading papers for an hour.

I got to class early to reinstall Skype on the classroom computer and get the webcam set up; we balanced the webcam on a stack of student notebooks plus copies of Jameson's FIC and Jenkins' Textual Poachers. (SO META.) A few of last year's students showed up and waved at me from the back of the room. I was giving an overview of the plan for the day--I think I had just finished talking about final evaluations--when Skype pinged at us. (!!!) I had managed to screw up the sound settings in Skype, go figure; it's not like working with AV equipment is my hobby or anything. *facepalm* But we got it sorted, and then we Skyped with Orlando Jones for close to half an hour.

I'd heard from various people who've met him how nice he is, but you guys, there's hearing about it and then there's experiencing it. He's smart, obviously, and very funny, but also just so gracious and kind and so genuinely interested in talking to us, laughing with us, being goofy with us. He talked about his experiences in fandom and about what the term "fan" means to him, dodged a question about what Hogwarts house he'd be in (oh students, never change), offered some insights into the way that fan visibility is affecting the TV/film industry, articulated some key differences between the way that the money people at networks see fans and the way that he (and by extension other actors and the creative side of the industry) relates to fans, told us what he's fannish about right now (Orphan Black! Utopia!), broke my class by self-identifying as a Destiel shipper, and, at my request, told us a little bit about the book he's going to be working on.

Of course my students all wanted to take selfies with him, which he agreed to do on the condition that they tweet the selfies to him (which they have done, and he's been marking them as favorites--you guys, I can't even). We turned off the lights and I stood at the front of the classroom laughing in delight as my students all turned their backs to the projector screen and held up their glowing cell phones in the dark, a dense constellation of happy fans. Mr. Jones leaned in close to the camera and smiled hugely for them, and then I held up the webcam so they could all wave goodbye, and we signed off.

I will freely confess that the rest of class was not our most productive day ever, though we did manage to have some small-group conversations about what assignments I should keep and what I should do differently the next time I teach the course, and several of my students came up with really thoughtful suggestions that I need to figure out how to implement.

And that was the last day of class for Fan Cultures & Fan Creativity 2014.
tishaturk: (Default)


You guys, I have the best students. And also the best job.

ETA: Why yes, my student did put this on Tumblr. Feel free to reblog. :D
tishaturk: (professional geek)
So I was wandering around Tumblr avoiding the essay I'm supposed to be finishing, as one does, and I happened upon a photo of the required readings for a class. And then I said, Hey, that's my class.

Fourth wall, we hardly knew ye.

(Obviously this sort of thing goes on all the time and has for years. It just hasn't usually involved my classes in places where I can see it, is what I'm saying.)

UPDATE

Dec. 13th, 2013 08:01 am
tishaturk: (Default)
This morning I logged into the fandom class Tumblr to check the notes on the Tumblr version of yesterday's post.



How am I supposed to get work done today when I just keep thinking of this and laughing? HOW?
tishaturk: (Default)
I try to keep this journal focused on research-related stuff rather than teaching stories, but I think that once you read this story you will see why I am making an exception.

So last week in Fan Cultures & Fan Creativity we were talking about representations of fandom—we had groups looking at posts from [community profile] as_others_see_us and OTW’s news of note—and Orlando Jones came up in conversation, as he is wont to do.

One of my students decided to tweet him to let him know, and despite our classroom’s crappy WiFi, she prevailed! And then this happened:



WHUT.

But then she didn’t get a response! So today in class she tried again. I cannot adequately describe the hilarity of this scene—she's composing away on her laptop, reading out her hashtags as she types them, and everyone in the room is exhorting her "COME ON COME ON" "OMG" "HAS HE RESPONDED YET"...



#wecanthandlethis is a pretty accurate description of class at that point; we were essentially having a 25-person meltdown. There was actualfax shrieking, some of it from me. The collective sleep deprivation did not help (Dear students: GET SOME SLEEP), but I suspect that even if we’d all been well-rested we would have been LOSING OUR MINDS. And then, as we were sitting there, he favorited the tweet. At which point I dismissed class, because I could not top that. We were done.

BEST LAST CLASS EVER.

Of course I had to post.



And he favorited that tweet too. BRB DYING.

AND THEN when I logged into Tumblr I found that another one of my students had followed up on Tumblr:



Her tags: #I didn't make any shrill noises when I got this notification #oh no #not at all #orlando jones is my favorite

I just. I HAVE LOST THE ABILITY TO CAN, as the kids say these days. I still don't have the faintest idea how he found out about the class, but I do not fucking care, because this is the most surreal and hilarious thing that has happened to me in I don't know how long, and I LOVE IT. And the class was in absolute hysterics. AS YOU CAN PERHAPS IMAGINE.

I fucking love my job. BEST STUDENTS EVER. Also, ORLANDO JONES GETS HIS OWN TAG.
tishaturk: (TV: Buffy)
I keep coming across things I want to share with the students in my fandom class--bits of fandom history, fandom meta, stuff like that--so last night in a fit of... something... I made a Tumblr for our class. When I showed it to them this morning, the reactions ranged from "Whatever, dude" to "...wait, my teacher knows about Tumblr?" to "Awww, you're tracking tags and everything!" Most of them seemed proud, if perhaps slightly bemused.

This is an experiment, and its success will depend largely on what the students decide to do with it. But hey, three people are already following (and class let out less than an hour ago), so who knows? I think it could be fun.

Much of the class's online activity will take place in private online spaces, but the Tumblr is public, obviously--so if you're curious about what we're reading and discussing in the class, it will be a good way to eavesdrop.

And if you're on Tumblr and want to play: I will be tracking the tag #fandom ic. If you see something you think we'd be interested in, tag it when you reblog so I can take a look. :D
tishaturk: (professional geek)
I am super-embarrassed about the fact that I haven't responded to most of the comments on my last entry from over a month ago. *facepalm* The new semester is settling down now, so I should have a chance to get back to that... any day now...

Speaking of teaching: I'm teaching a class about fandom this semester! And it occurred to me that some of you might be interested in seeing what that class will entail (besides lots of classroom discussion, which sadly I cannot reproduce for you but which has thus far been pretty energetic and occasionally hilarious).

Syllabus: Fan Cultures and Fan Creativity

The class is exclusively for first-year students as part of UMM's Intellectual Community program, our version of the first-year seminar program that's common at many small liberal arts colleges. I have a really delightful group; as with any class, especially of first-year students, I have a mix of students who are reallyexcitedtotalkaboutthisstuffomg!, students who are visibly engaged but not as comfortable diving into the flow of discussion, and students who are clearly wishing that they could write down their thoughts and review them once or twice before hitting post. (Having been in the latter category for most of my college career, I empathize.) But we're working up to the first writing assignment, which I hope will give some of the hard-core introverts a better opportunity to show what they can do.

Thanks to everybody who suggested assignments, activities, and readings; I was unable to implement all the terrific ideas that people shared with me, largely because needing to stay focused on the book means I have to limit the number of things that require a lot of behind-the-scenes work for me. But I already have a list of things I want to do or try when teaching the course next time, and I welcome further input and suggestions!

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Tisha Turk

November 2016

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