I incorporate a mix of teaching methods in an attempt to include everyone in the process and encourage a cooperative, at times even interdependent, learning environment. I make my classes as interactive and engaging as possible through class discussions, guest lecturers and speakers, media and visual aids, group activities, experiential or field-based learning opportunities, when appropriate and accessible, and through the use of technology. And as a routine part of my pedagogy, I often offer innovative, inclusive, and active learning opportunities for my students in an effort to help students situate their learning within real-world contexts, address contemporary problems, and work collaboratively within diverse settings. In my spring 2018 Globalization and Intercultural Communication course, for example, my students and I traveled to Wamunyu, Kenya over spring break to take part in an intensive, ten day, experiential learning opportunity. In addition to demonstrating professional media practices, students were expected to be self-aware and critical of their role as media producers.
Below are a few examples of projects completed by my students in various courses over the last several years:
Globalization and Intercultural Communication (Simmons University, 2018)
In this spring break study abroad course to Wamunyu, Kenya, students created media projects, based on their original project proposals (pre-trip). Working closely with our partner organization, Kenya Connect, and local teachers and community members, students gathered the necessary footage, interviews, and/or photographs to complete their projects. Some projects were focused on experiential learning experiences while in Kenya. Others offered a more academic / scholarly approach to the critical exploration of particular programs, while a few highlighted cultural events and practices.
Media Convergence Course (Simmons University, 2017-2018)
Assignment: As part of a larger, semester-long, group assignment, students worked together to develop a multimedia website focused on the theme of “wired lives.” Projects explored topics such as health and technology, growing up in a technologically saturated world, and media convergence. Although students worked in groups to develop a cohesive, clearly articulated, and visually engaging website with a larger message, students also worked independently on content – from taking and editing photographs (using Photoshop) to writing blogs, and producing an original video (using Adobe Premiere) with an engaging narrative and clear message that would also fit into the group’s larger multimedia website.
Below are a few examples of multimedia websites and videos:
Digital Communities Course (George Mason University, 2013-2015):
Assignment: Six groups were tasked with articulating their vision of a sustainable smart city. Students spent the semester researching the various challenges facing urban environments, as well as some promising solutions for urban sustainability. Using various digital tools to create their “smart city” of the future, students were asked to published their projects online and wrote an accompanying synthesis paper. The work completed by each group in led to the publication of my students’ work in the new online journal, Digital America, and was highlighted in the George Mason University news article, entitled, “Mason Students Become Urban Designers.”
Public Speaking Course (George Washington University, 2014)
Here is a (very humorous) sampling of an assignment I created for one of my public speaking classes, called Be Your Own Reporter. I asked students to make a (real or fake) newscast – on site – in a location relevant to their news.