Space Opera Course Update

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A few months ago, I asked for input from folks interested in the online space opera course I planned to teach/run at some point during the summer. Many of you gave me some excellent feedback about the form the course should take, the readings, cost, and so on, and so I set out to try to put something together in time for summer 2017.

Well, it’s officially summer, and as should be obvious right now, things aren’t exactly put together. And there’s good reason for that.

Most of you know that I have been trying to complete a PhD in English literature since 2009 (some of those years for an M.A., so it’s not like I’ve literally spent almost an entire decade on just one degree). This summer is essentially the last one for me, so that means completing final edits, defending a dissertation, completing even more final edits, applying for graduation, doing my best to make ends meet during the summer, and trying to find a job. I’m teaching close to 5 classes between now and August, which is awesome and exhausting, and I lose roughly half of my annual income in August once I graduate. Add in two international semi-professional trips — one to NASFIC in San Juan, Puerto Rico and one to Worldcon in Helsinki, Finland — and I hope it’s clear that I have a lot to take in over the next few months.

What does that mean for the Space Opera course? Well, I’m moving it to the fall (after August). This will not only allow me to better prepare for such a thing, but also advertise the course to more people, get more input, and build something better than my limited time frame would have allowed.

Thing is, I have a very good reason for preferring not to rush something like this:  I just finished teaching a course that my department asked me to teach literally days before the course started, and while the course was great (my students were awesome), it definitely felt to me like a rushed effort. That wasn’t my fault, obviously, and it wasn’t exactly the department’s fault either, but it’s not the ideal situation for a teacher.

I don’t want that for this Space Opera course. I spent 2 straight months building the course I taught at the University of Florida, with basically no interference from anything else (no defense, no job applications, no interviews, just whatever work I had to do). The online version of that course has to be something *I* am satisfied with. It has to be something I know is great. Because I want it to be successful. If it’s not, it’ll impact whether I can try something like this again. And I want to do a lot of things like this in the future.

So, I’m moving the course back a bit. I’m going to finish up my dissertation, get a job, and put a little more love into the online Space Opera course so it is the best thing I can possibly offer.

Thanks for the support, as always, and expect more updates over the next few months!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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