- Curriculum Vitae
Last Updated 09.2010
Ever-changing, my teaching philosophy as best I know it.
I've long held the personal belief that the learning process is a comprehensive and unending one. Our schooling is in many ways just a question of opportunity and I, for one, hope to always be a student of the world around me. Beyond bold aspirations and lifestyles this realistically means that I'm not only interested in ensuring students learn in an academic sense, but I'm also furiously invested in empowering them through encouragement, inspiring their creativity, and paying attention to their specific needs. If I can help reach a student in even just one of these ways, then my efforts are worth it. Success in life is more than school smarts or relentless hard work, it's fostering confidence - in yourself and others - and learning to enjoy the journey along the way. Realistically, I also feel that the world holds a strong element of 'who you know,' and while I can't teach students precisely how to social network, I can interlace the skills of communication, collaboration, and open mindedness into my instruction. Beyond this activism is inherent to my teaching - I strive to contribute to a society of equal opportunity and I believe education is one of the best ways to accomplish this vision.
By What Means?
I believe in a combination of both a professional and friendly rapport with students. I feel this blended approach renders the best conditions for students to care about what they learn, believe in themselves, and be unafraid to ask questions. I start by believing in them and doing my best to show that I care for them through my efforts. This means more than just planning lessons, but anticipating student reactions, requesting their feedback and implementing it into my future lesson plans, and being honest and open in my communications with them at every step. I've found flexible but detailed organization disseminated by diverse methods of communication helps to keep students on the right page and with the right motivations.
Buzzwords aside, what do I mean? I get to know the students. I learn their names, their interests, and gauge their hopes and fears for my class. I check in with them consistently and compliment them when they deserve it while being unafraid to criticize in a constructive manner. I realize their performance in the class is fundamentally related to how well I'm teaching it - and so I do my best to make sure I not only know what I'm talking about, but know how they'll see it and best hear and understand it. It's almost like ethnography - being a perpetual student myself, I swim in a sea of shared understandings. I prize dialogue but also think it's good to be fluent in debate. At the end of the day we ought to at least be able to understand one another - arming the students with powerful skills of critical analysis follows just after.
I engage in whatever medium it takes. Websites, email, cell phones, and AIM to keep in contact. Group work and revisions to let the students teach and encourage one another. Hand-outs and visuals, guides and tutorials, new perspectives from blogs, media, guests, and more. And listening, not just hearing.
More than anything I find my energy and enthusiasm are contagious and meaningful communication starts with asking the students the right questions. This is where it begins, leadership and comradarie is where it ends.
I work best with motivated students and love collaborative learning environments interlaced with technology, community, and open communication. Obviously my strategies are best unleashed in a social science environment, a place where I know my own interests and expertise thrive. I back my grading decisions with valid and consistent rationale while at the same time placing emphasis on self-led exploration and study to best motivate and enable learners. From day one I do my best to be clear about rules and expectations, but also know that they can change if required. I don't believe tests are the only or best form of measurement and prefer environments that include a diverse array of evaluative methods - papers, presentations, group work, individual studies, tests, take-home assignments, and assignments with the opportunity for innovative expression through visual, auditory, and creative writing skills. And of course I realize I can't always run free - I'm more than familiar with working within the frameworks of authority, be it a department, professor, or curriculum. I never hesitate to find some new ways to improve.
For now, this is my philosophy, my adventure. I look forward to continuing to refine it in the coming years.
My involvement in a wealth of different group contexts and roles of leadership has enabled me to develop a number of different skills helpful to my teaching methods. Specifically:
Creativity - I do my best to implement creativity and innovation in my approach and methodology to help students maintain interest and remember important information.
Organization - I consider this an absolute must in teaching. I've not only learned how to organize my own information and the dissemination thereof, but also how to cluster and organize observed information. I always try to keep a mind towards flexibility.
Information design and content management - Though more traditionally reserved for website design I find I employ many of my web design and management methods in handout and assignment design. These principles are after all, at root, derivative of communication skills. Often times these skills come into play managing online course resources.
Experiential Pluralism - My personal model of cultural pluralism goes one step further than simply tolerating and accepting cultures other than my own - I feel it's my moral obligation to not just understand, but experience to really understand. The end result is that I'm comfortable with and more than willing to immerse myself in new or foreign environments.
Interpersonal - I like talking to people. Though I prefer the dialogue conversational technique, I'm well versed in debate and dialectic oriented discussion. I'm also a fan of teaching understanding by sharing personal perspectives such as experiences and feelings. This can often be easily interlaced into more traditional instruction techniques.
Self-reflective/evaluation oriented mind - I'm always working to improve myself as well as give others effective feedback in a responsible manner. I don't really know how to turn off the introspection, actually.
Oratory - From speech team in high school to presentations in class and for organizations I've developed and expanded my oratory skills over the years. Generally I have little trouble being heard and making an impression, I usually enjoy public speaking.
Multiple perspective analysis - Throughout my academic career I've been consistently trained to employ multiple academic perspectives (Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, etc...) and as a result invite students to employ them as well.
Technology - Applying the use of technology in many settings for better communication of information and to enhance collaboration. I'm more than proficient when it comes to technology assisted presentations, internet communications technologies, graphic/auditory/artistic media design, as well as teaching these technologies. I'm also a strong believer in integrating technology into traditional learning and literacy in order to make its use relevant and effective.
You can learn a lot about the way I teach by looking at the structure of the courses I've had a hand in teaching.
Library and Information Science 502 - Libraries, Information and Society - Summer 2010
Explores major issues in the library and information science professions as they involve their communities of users and sponsors. Analyzes specific situations that reflect the professional agenda of these fields, including intellectual freedom, community service, professional ethics, social responsibilities, intellectual property, literacy, historical and international models, the socio-cultural role of libraries and information agencies and professionalism in general, focusing in particular on the interrelationships among these issues. Required M.S. degree core course.
I was a Teaching Assistant for Leigh Estabrook, a Dean Emerita for GSLIS.
- An imported version of the syllabus is available (some links and pictures may not work)
Informatics 202 - Social Aspects of Information Systems - Fall 2009 and Spring 2010
This course explores the way in which information technologies have and are transforming society and how these affect a range of social, political and economic issues from the individual to societal levels. A general overview of social informatics, students attended lecture twice a week as well as a discussion section. Teaching assistants were responsible for helping to present and assist in lecture as well as formulate their own lesson plans weekly. They also performed other general duties, like grading, assignment and syllabus feedback, and otherwise supported the main instructor.
I was a Teaching Assistant for Gail Taylor, an ABD PhD student in the College of Education in Fall 2009 and Lori Kendall, an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Spring 2010.
- Course Syllabus (2009)
- Course Syllabus (2010)
- We had a Moodle page for the class (GSLIS access only)
Sociology 100 - Introduction to Sociology - Fall 2007, Spring 2008
This course covers the foundations of Sociological thought and practice. It provides background on some of the key areas of Sociology. Students also hone important life skills in this course including critical thinking, writing and understanding the social world.
Though it's a large survey course Sociology 100 has proven to be one of the most influential classes the University offers - giving students a chance to explore life from the perspective of the Sociological Imagination and see themselves as a part of the larger whole. Beyond teaching a section I help to present on stage during lectures to over 700 students and manage the website. My specific mission this semester has been to help integrate intergroup dialogue material into the section classroom format.
- Course Syllabus
- I did not have a section website for this class
Sociology 273 - Social Perspectives on the Family - Fall 2007
This course reviews sociological theory used in family research, and examines some of the current developments confronting family researchers such as the rise in divorce and out of wedlock births, as well as declines in marriage and fertility. Besides these popular issues, this course also takes a look at areas of research that receive less attention such as fatherhood and father involvement.
I help to find sources, teach class, and perform administrative duties like handling email and the website. I also grade the final course paper. Beyond this I'm essentially taking the class along with the students - the topic is new to me too!
Sociology 380 - Social Research Methods - Spring 2007
This course is designed to provide students with knowledge and skills to consume social research as well as to offer a firm foundation so that students can produce basic social science. The topic of social research is introduced with a discussion of various methods of human inquiry and why the social sciences rely on scientific methodology. Individual reading assignments and group exercises will facilitate an active learning environment in which students will master an understanding of how social researchers structure inquiry and how researchers make observations about the social world.
During this semester, student groups complete two research projects, one quantitative based on previously gathered data, and one qualitative with self-collected ethnographic observations.
Educational Organizational Leadership 199 - Intergroup Dialogue on Race and Ethnicity - Spring 2007
This course introduces students to the different aspects of race relations in the United States by having students explore the histories, social contexts, and ideas that have shaped their experiences as racial and ethnic students. We will be exploring five main areas:
- Our own racial identities
- Group similarities and differences
- The history between our groups and its legacy for contemporary life
- Institutional and cultural factors that influence individual and group experiences in the context of structural and social inequality
- Roles and factors in working with and across differences
Through these objectives, we hope to achieve the following five learning outcomes:
- Perspective taking
- Multi-layered listening
- Expanding knowledge / correcting misinformation
- Strong-sense critical thinking
- Strong sense critical inquiry
This course uses a structured, intergroup dialogue format that requires participation in both class discourse and activities. You are encouraged to bring personal experiences and perspectives to the critical analysis of weekly readings and dialogue topics. We use experiential learning exercises in addition to the weekly readings, reflective writing assignments, and intergroup dialogue. We, as the instructors/facilitators for this course, work to create a learning environment where students can feel safe to explore the topics, be challenged by them, and engage with their fellow students.
I facilitate dialogue sessions with Andre Bean, a M. A. in Clinical Psychology and intern at the University of Illinois Counseling Center. My supervisor is Joe Minarik, a staff member in the Program on Intergroup Relations.
My ICES scores during my time teaching in Sociology were high enough to award me a place on the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by their Students. They still remain good, though have varied a bit in new teaching venues and with new levels of students.
I believe activism and community service are a crucial part of gradate school. Though my organizational support has diminished and altered in form I expect to increase my involvement in the upcoming years.
Community Informatics Club, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008-present.
Just recently planned and launched the CI club, an academic parallel to our curriculum in library and information science. The club helps students to get a taste of community informatics by volunteering, attending key speakers, networking and just plain getting to know one another.
Association of Undergraduate Sociologists, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003-8.
Helped to found and later serve as president of the University’s only Sociology registered student organization. I served for a couple of years as a graduate advisor.
Beckwith Hall Training and Web Accessibility, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006.
Constructed a new accessible training web site for Beckwith Hall, the assisted living residence hall on campus. Helped to integrate accessibility for people with disabilities into numerous web resources.
Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005-8.
Served as an executive officer and coordinated the Faces of Feminism discussion panel as well as helped to represent the group at the Midwest Feminist Majority Conference. I served for a couple of years as a graduate advisor.
Sexual Health Peers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005-6.
Volunteered as a Sexual Health coordinator and workshop presenter for the Peer Education Unit of the McKinley Health Foundation.
Avalanche, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 2004-5.
Founded and led the Housing Student Organization Avalanche – A program intensive community based solution to the social problem of college age drinking.
A listing of my current and past research work.
For recent publications and presentations (Fall 2009 and forward) you should reference the scholarship section of my PhD research website, http://communityinformaticsprojects.com/scholarship.html
Previous work includes...
Uncovering Racism on Facebook, a follow-up, presented to DTC 475, Washington State University, Vancouver (Summer 2009)
A talk given to Dene Grigar's DTC 475 class, they read two of my papers (FBP - Social Capital and the Chief & The Missing Box), which we discussed and I gave a short follow-up to with regards to ethics in online research and future directions for study.
I had the privilege of giving a presentation on Facebook and ubiquitous learning with Caroline Haythornthwaite and Mike Twidale at the HASTAC conference at UIUC this past spring. You can see what the presentation was based on in either PowerPoint or paper form (starts on page 7).
Exploring Methods in Community Informatics, presented with Adam Kehoe and Navadeep Khanal at the GSLIS Research Showcase, UIUC (Spring 2009)
Facets of Community Empowerment: Theory, Technology and Practice - An overview of several cutting-edge Community Informatics Initiative research projects. Presented projects include "Developing web technologies and digital learning workshops for community empowerment: lessons in digital literacy and Cyberpower," "Drawing connections between feminism, environmentalism and community inquiry: grassroots activism in North Champaign," and "Leveraging open source technologies in CTC's: data collection, remote management and improved user experience." Visitors will also have a chance to learn about other CII research efforts and partner collaborations.
Web2.0 Resources and the Digital Divide presented to the Mortenson Center international librarian group (Fall 2008)
I was initially asked to present to this group about social networking but figured that talking about domestic Facebook use to an international (predominantly non-western) audience wouldn't have been very effective or meaningful. So I blended my three areas of interest into one presentation: Web2.0, the digital divide, and community informatics. This presentation discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of several Web2.0 resources and challenges community members to find was to critique them and make them their own.
Social Capital and The Chief presented at the Ethnography of the University Initiative Conference (Fall 2007)
I presented one of my papers at the Ethnography of the University Initiative Conference. The research report reveals rather shocking student use of Facebook regarding perspectives on Chief Illiniwek, the recently removed mascot/symbol of the University of Illinois. Inspired by a class tasked with investigating the race-related campus climate at UIUC the paper draws on the preliminary findings from a half semester project. The work includes sociological analysis informed by (digital) social capital and social work leadership theory, and uses content analysis and statistics to make suggestions for further analysis and potential areas in need of social change.
A presentation on some of the less talked about requirements of graduate school and some of the social impacts and life changes that accompany the change that advisors often don't consider. Most students worry so much about what they need to get into graduate school and don't really know what it's truly like until they get there. I cover topics of admission, life changes, course work and expectations, assistantships, research and publishing, and the variation in atmosphere between different types of schools and programs. I also take questions afterwards.
Community Informatics Projects!
I've now begun work with Community Informatics, a facet of library and information science that's a little like social work meets computers. You can find most of my academic, web, and multimedia work on my new research and development website, a sort of sandbox, prototyping platform and activity archive.
The Facebook Project
Most of my work in Sociology was on Facebook and issues of virtual identity and representation online. As part of this I began the Facebook Project, a website linking many researchers and resources related to the famous SNS.