Media History and Theory Courses

Special Topics in Communication: Sound and Culture (HU 4890) fall 2018
Sound plays a crucial but often understudied role in experiences of media and cultural life. From the mundane sounds of our daily routines (the dog barking, a siren in the distance, running water) to constructed soundworks (music, sound for television, film, and games), sound, or lack thereof, is fundamental to communications media and, more broadly, to our perceptions of the world around us.
· Why is sound used as a weapon?
· How did the development of the telephone change the rules of dating?
· What do church bells have to do with economic class?
· Where did doctors treat their patients before the development of the stethoscope?
· When did DJs start scratching records, and why?
This course will immerse you in the experience of listening — learning to tune in to the world around you. We will learn to think about sound as historical, cultural, architectural, and ecological, as well as aesthetic. This background will prepare you to be a more sophisticated communicator as you come to understand how sound impacts everything from how we move through space to how we interact with other people and the natural world.

Media & Society (HU 3800) spring 2017
The catalog description for this course states that students examine contemporary forms of mediated communication with emphasis on understanding media economics and impacts of media on attitudes, values, behavior, and identity. In order to provide some coherence to such a survey, I decided to design the course around “superheroes” in American culture. We explore media economics, along with attitudes, values, and behavior by taking a chronological look at comic books, superhero cinema, fan communities, gender in the genre, and so forth.

Introduction to Digital Media (HU 2642) spring/fall 2016, spring 2017, fall 2018
I organized this introductory survey course to provide students with experiences in imaging, sound, and interaction. The course combines project work in Adobe Photoshop and Audition with some history and theory for each unit. The final project is the development of a location-based interactive game.

Sounds in the City (May term, 2015)
We are surrounded by sound, but we often do what we can to block it out. This course will immerse you in the experience of listening, learning to tune in to the world around you. We will learn to think about sound as historical, cultural, architectural, and ecological, as well as aesthetic. We will visit and record the sounds of cityscapes, architectural spaces, and the natural world as we come to a better understanding of how people hear the world and make meaning from those sounds.

Software Studies (proposed)
During an intensive directed readings in software studies, I thought that designing a course would be a good way to organize this emerging transdiscipline for myself. The resulting course proposal is only a draft. It is reading heavy and I haven’t completely thought through the projects yet. Also, it is several years old now and would need updating. Nevertheless, I would be thrilled to teach a course like this someday in which students and I can really dig into some software and see what emerges.

Digital Humanities (proposed)
I am a complete methods geek. I designed this class shortly after leaving my position as Head of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the J. Willard Marriott Library where I was responsible for designing a suite of services to help University faculty develop digital project assignments for their courses (among other things). I do not believe that “digital” and “analog” humanities are at cross purposes–they simply provide different ways of approaching questions, and, more importantly expand the universe of questions that can be asked.

Media Production Courses

Desktop Publishing (MPC 635) summer 2015
Provides an overview of basic layout and design principles and hands-on experience in professional desktop publishing software. Students apply their understanding of layout, design, and desktop publishing to the creation of a variety of publications. Typical projects might include the MPC newsletter, specialty advertising, corporate profiles, logo design, and packaging.

Web Design & Site Development (COMM 327) spring 2015
This course focuses on building a web site for a client that includes a strategy for drawing traffic to the site. Using the WordPress content management system students plan, build, and launch a website to meet client specifications.

Web Writing and Design (COMM 326 and MPC 637) fall 2014
A course designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of markup and styling for the web; project is a final web site that has gone through iterations of design, development, and user testing.

Communication Courses

Communication Theory (HU 5012) fall 2016
In the influential article “Communication Theory as a Field” Robert Craig (1999) outlined seven different traditions of communication study, each characterized by the way in which communication itself is defined. This seminar will focus on what Craig called the cybernetic tradition, which views communication as the flow of information. We are often told that we live in an “information age” where the creation, distribution, use, collection, and manipulation of information is fundamental to economic, political, and cultural activity. How did information become a key concept for communication theory in the late 20th century, and what impact does this have on how and what we study as “communication”? We will take a broad, chronological approach to the development of “information” as a concept, reading selections from primary works in cybernetics as well as analysis. We will look at the implications of information theory for the development and use of communication technologies and well as for technical, social, and political communication.

Communication & Culture (HU 2820) spring 2016, fall 2015
Introduction to the ways that communication creates and maintains culture. Considers a variety of perspectives on the significance of communication. Explores the importance of communication for understanding culture.

Communication Ethics (MPC 649) spring 2015
This course focuses on the fundamentals of being an ethical communicator in a professional setting. Beginning with ethical theories, students learn to approach ethics from a variety of perspectives and then apply that knowledge to professional contexts.

Instructional Communication (MPC 680) summer 2015
I designed this as a special topics course for the Westminster College Masters in Professional Communication program. Introduces theories of instructional communication and design as applied to planning, creating and evaluating training materials within organizations. Projects require students to apply theory to the development of objectives, lesson plans, multimedia and training scripts, evaluations, procedural documents, Help documents, and so forth.

Rhetoric and Persuasion (MPC 646) fall 2014
A course designed to introduce professional communication students to key rhetorical theories and methods. Assignments include opportunities to synthesize ideas from readings and to practice methods of rhetorical analysis of artifacts of students’ choosing.

Digital Rhetorics (MPC 603)
Advanced rhetoric class for professional communication students that explores how computation changes the creation, use, meaning, and circulation of messages. Students will test their own theories through the analysis of course readings and the creation of digital artifacts.

Writing Courses

Scientific Writing (WRTG 3014) summer 2014
This course is designed to introduce upper-division undergraduates in the natural and medical sciences to genre conventions of scientific writing: proposals, documentation, reports, reviews, posters, and public essays.

Professional and Technical Writing (WRTG 3015) spring 2014
community engaged learning course
This course is designed to introduce upper-division undergraduates in applied disciplines to genre conventions of professional and technical writing: application documents, memos, documentation, and reports. Students complete a project in partnership with a community organization.

First Year Academic Writing
Between 1996-2008, I taught the equivalent of “English 101” at four different institutions.