Teaching Interests and Philosophy

My teaching, like my research, experiments with disciplinary conventions to foster new ways of thinking. My students analyze a wide range of objects—from scientific articles on astrobiology to transcendentalist philosophies of living—with the critical lens of cultural studies. My goal is support the development of creative, innovative thinkers by linking seemingly disparate subjects and widen how we understand the scope of the humanities

Flowchart outing non-linear course design to be implemented in GradeCraft. Designed in LucidChart.

My current work focuses on the integration of gaming and game development into courses at the Duke Game Lab as a Bass Digital Education Fellow. I established and ran Duke University's first Global Game Jam site to be held January 31st-February 2nd, 2020. In preparation, I also hosted a series of introductory game development workshops in coordination with scholars in the region. In Spring 2020, I will be collaborating with Professors Shai Ginsburg and Leo Ching to convert an introductory seminar on game studies into a gamified syllabus using the GradeCraft platform.

I organize my own courses around broad themes that allow us to work across conventional boundaries. For example, I unite Transcendentalist philosophies of living with principles of UX under the rubric of "experience." Using Henry David Thoreau's Walden and its 2017 adaptation into Walden, a game students can use their experience as gamers to understand 19th century literary and philosophical trends. Creating new networks between familiar ideas allows students to imagine new approaches to old challenges.

Assignments focus on building critical thinking skills and communication skills. Prompts are broad, inviting students to bring their own interested and emergent expertise under the lens of the humanities. In a class on the history of space exploration and space race era SF, students organized a small conference, where they shared their research on topics from a comparative, global analysis of attitudes towards A.I. to a de-constructive reading of the music in the TV show Westworld. The conference model allows students to learn from their peers while practicing clear, concise communication in highly transferable models practiced by humanist scholars. Meanwhile, the open nature of assignments gives students agency to practice applying their analytical skills in contexts they find personally useful and meaningful.

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For a sampling of syllabi and course materials, see Materials.

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