UCO Students Skype with Award-Winning Author

UCO Students Skype with Award-Winning Author

Professor Diana Pardo and students of the African Caribbean Literature class greet Haitian Author Evelyne Trouillot over Skype on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. The students asked Trouillot questions regarding Haiti, her writing process, and characters in her book. Photo by Cara Johnson, The Vista.

With technology on the rise, you don’t have to travel to learn from somebody on another continent. A professor at the University of Central Oklahoma gave students a Skype lesson with the author of a book they read in class, allowing them to ask questions about the book, and learn from an international point of view.

UCO’s Spanish Professor and Department Chair of Modern Language, Diana Pardo, offered students with an interactive class and a Skype lesson from Haitian author Evelyne Trouillot.

“I think it’s important to bring somebody to our classroom, because we are bringing something that very few people in Oklahoma know anything about. By bringing it to them, it becomes alive. It becomes something that is more authentic and more original, as opposed to just reading the book,” Pardo said.

The award-winning Haitian author has several books and novels touching base in polemic topics. She is also known for writing from a woman’s point of view.

Several of her works have been translated into German, English, Spanish and Italian, and have also been published in magazines in Cuba, France, Mexico and Canada.

The usually typical class started a little differently on Tuesday, with Pardo welcoming the Haitian author to a classroom full of excited students.

“We want to welcome you to our university, our class, our state, our country and we are going to do our best to make this a pleasurable encounter,” said Pardo.

Students of the African-Caribbean Literature class were offered a Skype lesson where they could ask questions about a book they were required to read in class, “The Infamous Rosalie,” including questions about the characters in the book, the history of the Haiti, and well as her inspirations to write a novel over slavery.

Over 20 students attended the class, and said they were thankful for the opportunity to meet Trouillot.

“She really took me to a different world, and she inspired me to look at life in a different way,” said Jordan Moss, a UCO student.

A student in class, Kameron Ackerman, welcomed Trouillot with a Haitian flag, while another student welcomed the author in French, her native language. Students seemed well prepared and engaged to meet the author.

“Reading the novel was great, but when we bring that person into our classroom, somebody from Haiti, a country that we have a lot of misconceptions about, we are trying to dispel a lot of these misconceptions. It’s important that we bring that to Oklahoma, to keep up with global competency, and to make sure our students know about the world,” Pardo said.

The novel written by Trouillot, “The Infamous Rosalie,” displays the story of Lisette, a Creole-born slave living in Haiti, suffering struggles to maintain her dignity, while dealing with the fears and traumas among the plantation masters. The novel also focuses on the aspects of the Haitian Revolution.

“It was very eye-opening just to learn about slavery, but also what woman went through. A lot of times you don’t get to read that in just normal history books. It was really eye-opening,” said Azucena Yearby, a student at UCO.

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