I love teaching!  My larger teaching philosophy is below, but in a nutshell, I find it fun and fulfilling and I do my best to help my students find their coursework fun and fulfilling as well. I’ve won a few teaching awards, hopefully not only because of my classroom antics (riding my skateboard and rapping about academic topics), but also because my students actually learn something in my classes. Also, I started teaching in Virtual Reality in 2022 and I love how this approach complements my research interests and activities. My students seem to enjoy class in VR much more than traditional online teaching methods (e.g., Zoom class; asynchronous videos).

These are the main courses that I teach at MSU.

  • Understanding Media (large intro course for ~100-300 undergrads)
    • Introduction to various topics of research and history of media
  • Understanding Virtual Reality Experiences (taught in Virtual Reality)
  • Avatar Psychology (taught in Virtual Reality)
    • Theory and research on the psychological experience and effects of avatar use
  • Understanding Future Media: Reflections in the Black Mirror
    • Examination of relationship between themes in the series Black Mirror and our lives.
  • Media and Technology (PhD Seminar)
    • PhD seminar on theories of media and technology use.
  • Video Game Impacts: Play with Meaning (Honors Research Seminar)
    • Hand-on research course for honors undergraduate students to conduct research.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching brings me joy.  As a teacher, both formally and informally, I am able to guide the way others think and thus behave, which is an inherently powerful responsibility that I enjoy thoroughly. Pedagogically, I strive to help students understand phenomena by facilitating contemplation and interaction with topics of interest.

To this end, I envision my teaching role as someone who structures information, facilitates interactive learning, and elicits motivation. I structure information by organizing course subject matter into cohesive units that follow clear, cumulative themes, but also by incorporating student feedback to make course material as relevant to their interests as possible. I facilitate interactive learning by utilizing active learning strategies that encourage all students to participate in class discussions, both face-to-face and mediated (e.g., real-time text forums), as well as student-to-student interaction (e.g., think-pair-share).  I elicit motivation by showing my own exuberant enthusiasm for the content, encouraging students to recognize the value of their knowledge beyond grades, and aligning learning assessments to allow students to illustrate their mastery over the content.

 I also strive to promote a classroom climate of inclusivity and safety, especially for students who may have experienced personal bias toward them. In addition to promoting equality and respect for traditional minority groups, I have also become aware of a tension between domestic and international students here at MSU. In an attempt to break down some of these barriers, I regularly ask international students to give comparative accounts of the content we are discussing.  Further, I assign an essay for which students must interview someone from a different national and language background about media habits in their country (as related to an assigned research article). I am working to refine this assignment and finding other ways to promote positive interactions across such artificial barriers between students.

Outside of regular classes, I also greatly enjoy mentoring students in their research endeavors.  I teach an honors undergraduate research seminar in which Ph.D. and undergraduate students work together to conduct original research.  I also work with many Ph.D. students on their dissertation committees or informally on their projects of interest.  As most of my research is collaborative, students are regularly included as authors on articles and I believe that these experiences are enriching for their research careers.

 I have been teaching for a relatively short amount of time, so my philosophies are somewhat fresh and certainly evolving.  Still, I am certain that I truly love teaching, and while my highest priority is research, I will continue to invest myself deeply in students and the potential impact I may make in their lives.

man in suit sitting on top of sign for Communication Arts and Sciences Building