My teaching philosophy views students as knowledge creators and not merely knowledge receptors. Consequently, it is my role to provide the scholarly resources for students to introspectively apply course concepts to their lives and communities. Central to this approach is the fact that students learn best when they are actively engaged in the classroom, when content is relevant to their lives, when they draw on their own ideas and experiences, and when they work towards social change around issues meaningful to them. My teaching strategies draw upon critical media literacy, experiential learning, and community engagement to implement a student-centered classroom.
Critical Media Literacy
I emphasize critical media literacy competencies that decode media messages and empower students to speak back to dominant ideologies using digital media technologies. Students learn the methods of textual and discourse analysis so they may make evidence-based claims about media. I began implementing digital writing skills components in my courses after I noticed that students were often dissatisfied with merely analyzing media and wanted practical strategies for confronting dominant media ideologies. I now teach students how to create and circulate blog posts, photo essays, video essays, wikis, and social media projects critiquing ideologies of race, gender, class, ability, and/or sexuality in the media. The benefits of teaching digital competencies are two fold: digital media technologies are useful skills for a variety of 21st century jobs, but I also teach them as a means for civic engagement online.
I design courses using experiential learning strategies that allow students to learn from the process of doing. I believe that students should be encouraged to learn from real life experience and need a forum to reflect on accomplishments and areas for improvement. For example, in an interviewing course, I required students to interview a professional mentor, reflect on their interviews after the experience, and summarize the professional insights gained. One student observed that “This wasn't my first informational interview, but I did feel significantly more confident and prepared for this one than ones in the past. What's more, I walked away with constructive advice and insight from an individual who has ‘made it’ in their political work. I hope to continue talking with professionals, expand my network, and someday provide the same service to someone else down the road.” The students in the interviewing course made a real connection in their career field that, in many cases, led to other professional opportunities. Students were also able to reflect on their interviewing practice in order to improve a useful professional skill.
My courses promote community engagement outside the university. In race and public scholarship course that I assisted, I mentored students as they interviewed artists and created podcasts to accompany an exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle. The students gained practical skills in interviewing and technical skills in podcasting that contributed to a community-based project. (View the video I created for a summary of the students’ engagement with race and public scholarship in Autumn 2013). Additionally, in a critical media literacy course, we collaborated with the Wikimedia Foundation to engage the Wikipedia community and improve entries relating to feminism and technology. The project understood online communities as cultural spaces where social change can and should occur.
Each of these teaching strategies illustrates the active, engaged, and media savvy pedagogies I employ in my courses. My formatting decisions are dictated by content, class size, and objectives, but are all predicated on the belief that students learn best when content is relevant, when they are prompted to apply theory to their lives, and when their contributions are valued and encouraged in the classroom and in their communities.
Recent Courses Taught
Media and Society (2017)
Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Sports Media (2017)
Screening Race (2017)
Sports Media Culture (2017)
Critical Media Literacy (2016)
Media Convergence (2015)
Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Media (2015)