I believe in teaching practice through theory – students have to understand why they’re doing things, even in a practical discipline. That means history, theory, and ethics embedded throughout even “purely practical” classes. Likewise, I think that, at the undergraduate level, theory rarely takes hold without practice, requiring the teaching of purely theoretical content in practical context. Basically, any class you take with me, you’re going to be doing some very real-world activities that should be fun/surprising… but you’re also definitely going to be writing a research paper/proposal at the end.
I’m new to Northwestern, but I did have the honor of teaching a segment of the brand-new “Computing Everywhere” course to Communication Studies undergraduates this year. My segment, which I co-taught with fellow student and HCI expert extraordinaire Scott Cambo, was entitled “Algorithms Everywhere.” The description:
Algorithmic decision making systems are pervasive in business and culture, and have a general reputation as bias-free, even-handed decision makers. However, all algorithms have embedded biases, and these biases have real-world consequences. It is not impossible to identify and mitigate algorithmic bias. This workshop is an introduction to algorithmic bias, where it comes from, how to identify it, and how solutions to these problems will take cooperation and understanding between those charged with engineering the systems and those with the knowledge of culture, society, law, and ethics. Communication Studies students should be able to leave this workshop with enough general understanding of the concepts and jargon used with algorithms as well as their cultural and social impact to feel confident that they can successfully collaborate with software engineers to mitigate biases or even go on to learn how to engineer these systems themselves.
I also served as the primary administrative contact for the course.
While I was a Master’s student at George Washington University, I served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Instructor and occasional Guest Lecturer in the School of Media and Public Affairs. I taught Multimedia Journalism and Sustainability Reporting, and assisted with other Mass Communication courses.
- SMPA 3193: Sustainability Reporting
- SMPA 3193: Multimedia Reporting to Inform and Engage
- SMPA 1050: Media in a Free Society
One element of my teaching philosophy is that, whenever possible, senior-level students should produce work that goes somewhere. For publication, for a portfolio, for a grad school admissions essay – why have them write for me and then never revisit or use the piece?
The student work for my multimedia classes has been featured on Planet Forward and National Geographic’s “The Plate” blog. I will update the list below whenever I can. I usually also post links to my Twitter at publication.
- Campus Voices @ The Plate – all of the GWU submissions are either my students or my interns
- Food in our Lives and Our Food, Our World – Two roundups of my 2014 Sustainability Reporting class’ work
- Selfie Challenge – The introductory exercise in my Sustainability Reporting class, where students are thrown directly on camera to talk about community innovations
- Climate Change and My Hometown – a series by my 2014 Sustainability Reporting students on how climate change is already affecting the places they’re from.
- #THINKFWD – A collection of pieces from my 2013 Multimedia Reporting class