My courses blend film and media studies with digital making and production.
My courses bring together:
theory and practice
current events and historical inquiry
archival materials and new media tools
critical problem solving and playful experimentation
student experience and collaborative learning
the classroom and the school of life
Practice Meets Theory
In the classroom I emphasize historical inquiry and creative experimentation through low-stakes individual exercises, collaborative team-based learning, student designed projects and scaffolded research and process deadlines. Students in my courses are asks to take apart a text into smaller component parts and ask questions about the construction of their object of study (whether it be film theory or a short experimental film). Through these pieces, I ask students to take their materials of study and build something new for themselves and for their peers as well as a public audience. In this translation or transmediation, students are asked to make sense of a theory or concept not only in their own words, but in their own creative process and intellectual critical thinking practice. In other words, I ask how their thoughts about the subject have been transformed through this hands-on engagement and how they might clearly communicate and teach others about the concept and skills they have acquired during the course.
Text Meets Context
I ask students to consider how concepts are understood in historical and institutional contexts and how such concepts make sense to film and media practitioners, critics and audiences, and scholars over time. As a film and media instructor, I organize my courses around how film and media texts are socially, culturally, and historically constructed, in what ways rhetorical strategies used by the filmmakers/industries manifest within the text, and what a critical and economic reception of the text tells us about the world it reflects and the attitudes of the public receiving it. By analyzing historical context, labor process, and materiality through careful research, creative experiment, and peer collaboration, I equip students with the critical and practical tools to negotiate their role(s) as producers and consumers in the media landscape beyond our course. My background working in Los Angeles-based film production and my scholarly historical research on craft labor within the media industries function in tandem to create course environments that are both intellectually rigorous and attentively playful.
Problem Solving Meets Play
Students delve into intensive semester-long archival inquiries on a topic of their choice while dually experimenting with how diverse technologies offer distinct affordances for responding rhetorically to their investigative insights. By synthesizing analytic and making skills into our course objectives, I aim for students to inhabit a more conscientious position to their own works-in-process. Through collaborative project scaffolding, students and I develop technical, artistic, and conceptual specifications which emphasize skills building and qualitative space for taking risk and troubleshooting. Grounding creative problem-solving in both analytic research (what do we do when an archival source contradicts our hypothesis?) and making (how do we creatively react and rework distorted source audio?) allows students to gain confidence through productive failure. Priming students’ process towards creative limitations, accident, improvisation, revision, and reflection in the classroom models useful expectations integral to professional production settings and advanced scholarly work well beyond the course.
Classroom Meets Life
As participants in media culture, students already bring to class a diverse set of expectations conditioning their perceived agency as producers and consumers of media. In spreading out the kinds of work we do together and individually in research, writing, discussion, team/crew support, group projects, peer review, and workshop, I hope to activate and build-up on proficiencies and contributions each student brings to the table. Whether future filmmakers, media makers, journalists, engineers, or psychologists, I ask students to think of critical research and creative making as a means to public and personal investigation.
Individual Expertise Meets Shared Knowledge
Participation is broadly defined in my course as “contribution” and recognizes the myriad routes in which both extroverted and introverted students share insights and advance our engagement with the material whether this is in weekly team face-to-face check-ins, group emails, peer software tutorials, responding to work with curiosity rather than critique, offering wholistic and minute observations, and bringing new research to discussions. By assigning students in semester long groups and encouraging out of class networks like email and text, my goal is for students to see one another intellectually as a community of scholars and practically as an additional support network with whom to bounce ideas and ask clarifying questions about the class or technology. I ask students to approach and respond to the creative and critical work produced by their peers by respecting the maker’s stated goals and offering specific and conceptual suggestions for a more effective and compelling presentation. By focusing on what the text wants to do, we can better focus on the limitations of the text’s own genre and scope or the technological reach of its maker and propose actionable recommendations from the perspective of an audience that wants the project to succeed. In disseminating perceived expertise across the classroom, I bolster students confidence in their classroom roles and underscore that the course instructor is only one interlocutor in a larger public reception of critical and creative work.
Courses I’ve taught