Teaching Dossier

Teaching Philosophy // Courses Taught // Projects

Teaching Philosophy

I approach my teaching as I do my scholarship, as a practitioner. My goal is to meet my students halfway and help them reach their potential in my class through invention practices, gaming fluency, and accountability. I’ve learned over the last six years of teaching that students are eager to learn and will rise to the challenge if you support them and allow them some autonomy. My courses are designed to help students get to their goal, whether that be a better writer, get an internship, into graduate school, or a job. I want them to leave my class knowing that I am an ally and the practices they learned in my class will help them get where they need to be.

My research and teaching stems from a ludic (playful) invention practice heavily influenced by Brooke’s (2009) proairesis, or continual invention without end. Whether it be learning a new technology, software, genre convention, or working through design, I have my students document their process through images, video, and metacognitive compositions. This allows for students to think through previous revisions or ideas in a nuanced way and have the resources recorded so they can jump between iterations to get to the end they see deserving of the process.

This ludic invention is best represented in an assignment I call “Tanked Presentations” which is influenced by the NBC show Shark Tank. The end result is for the team to present prototypes of a gaming artifact along with marketing materials and technical documentation. To document the process, students must work together through screen captures, recordings, live-streams, interviews, and images over the length of the project. The final composition is edited together into a longer video which also requires a behind-the-scenes composition showing the editing process. This process is just one of the many examples of ludic invention in the class, but it is a prime example due to the metacognitive actions in the interviews with classmates.

Gaming fluency is a term Kafai and Peppler (2012) use to describe the complex ecology of creative, critical, and technical aspects of working with emergent media when designing a game. In order for my students to engage in game design and the inventional practices of working with emergent technology, they must engage in gaming fluency to understand the larger impact of their work. I use game design as the catalyst for a greater understanding of emergent technology, but the end goal is to help my students learn the skills and theoretical understandings needed to get the internships and jobs they want.

In addition to the “Tanked Presentations,” I have my students actively engage in different types of design and creative software throughout the semester to prepare them for their final projects. The course is scaffolded to move from what they are familiar with—drag and drop software like Canva, Adobe Spark, and Weebly—to more advanced software to create videos and print documents—Adobe Premiere Pro, Camtasia, and Adobe InDesign. Their weekly “journey logs” give them the freedom to invent in a low-risk environment with this different software. Outside the classroom, I also work with the education technologies library and co-facilitate workshops that teach the greater population at Clemson University how to use this software and technology.

In order to fully embrace invention and gaming fluency, there must be accountability. Many students that I work with do not know how to take responsibility for their work and struggle with autonomy. As a class, we engage with accountability through rhetorical awareness and adaptability through failure. Students are responsible for documenting their process, but they also get to choose the way they complete assignments through four different “specializations.” Some specializations are text heavy while others require students to compose digital compositions using advanced software. Whatever they choose, it is their personal intervention in their own learning. This helps them establish an accountability and standard for their own work.

Regardless of the teaching setting or course, invention practices, gaming fluency, and accountability are always at the forefront of my pedagogy. My students cultivate a personal investment in their learning by understanding their process and seeing the complexity of composing with emergent technology.

 

Project Information

Tanked Minecraft

A modified "Shark Tank" model using coding and Minecraft: Education Edition as the artifact being modified. 

Tanked Presentations
A nuanced multimodal presentation that promotes project management and collaboration. Based on the show "Shark Tank."

Course Resources