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, encouraging students to see novel connections between them and apply them beyond the classroom.
Interdisciplinary study invites participation from diverse groups of students while expanding our how we understand the scope of the humanities. Approaching objects from broad themes allows us to work across conventional boundaries, leading students to imagine new approaches to old challenges. 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.
The tools provided by the humanities are as important as content knowledge. My approach allows students to develop a critical and creative understanding of their own diverse interests. In a class on the history of space exploration and space race era SF, students organized a small conference, presenting papers as diverse as a comparative analysis of Japanese and American attitudes towards A.I. to the analysis of the music of the television show Westworld. By re-contextualizing their interests in robotics, music, and more students were able to develop new perspectives that changed how they approached their education in a variety of contexts.
I have increasingly been incorporating more opportunities for hands-on research into the classroom. As a Bass Digital Education Fellow, I am teaching a series of introductory game design workshops at the Duke University Game Lab collaboration with other game designers and scholars. Our goal is to give students opportunities to create and share their own research-driven games to put the insights of their game studies into practice. These workshops will prepare students to participate in the first Global Game Jam site at Duke university that I established as part of my fellowship. I am also developing a series of digital materials that will allow other instructors to incorporate digital and analog game development into their own courses supported by Duke Learning Innovation.
For a sampling of syllabi and course materials, see Materials.