Gender Through Comic Books week two progress report
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had signed up for Ball State's open-registration online class titled "Gender Through Comic Books". The class started up on April 2nd and it's met twice since then. I am, apparently, one of around 70,000 attendees, making this (if the number is accurate) akin to a giant comic convention in its own right.
I've never taken an online course before, so I'm trying to pay attention to the structure of the course as opposed to just going along with the flow of things. I'm taking down notes because if this is at all successful (and, heck, even if it's not) I might try to run my own massive online class one day. At this point in the course, I'd say that things are going well. If nothing else, I've had the opportunity to pick up some interesting comics as texts for the class:
Our first session centered around Terry Moore and the Strangers in Paradise series. We read the first issue of Rachel Rising and the first two volumes of the SiP trades. These trades were hard to find and I had to do some searching to come up with a copy for myself. The stores that I checked were all out of the volumes in question, but they all had all of the other volumes, which led me to believe that others in the area are also taking this course. New Dimension Comics at Century III mall came though for me in the end, though they were also out of stock of the "pocket" volume, which collects both of the larger format volumes into one book. For the other issues, eBay has been busy tallying up my transactions, but I haven't had too much of a problem.
During each week, we have a live video chat with a comic book creator about the topic of the course, gender identity. Terry Moore was on the docket last week, and this past Tuesday Mark Waid showed up. In all, the class has had its choppy moments, and there's a lot of reading to do - along with selected comics, there's also an academic article to read every week, videos to watch, surveys to take and posts to make on discussion boards. I can't imagine how much work this must be for the developers of this course. After the class ends in May, I plan on trying to bend the ear of the teacher to get some tips, and we'll see where it leads.
I'll post some more updates when we're further into the class. For now, I'm excited to be a part of this big event. I'll bet that the creators of the books we're all buying are also pretty excited. They must be getting a nice bump!