Media, Technology, and Education

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Dartmouth College, and a Master’s and PhD in Computer Science from Florida State University. I have previously worked as a waitress, a pizza deliverer, a grant writer and fund-raiser and a software engineer. Since 1992, however, I have taught at the university level, first in several Computer Science departments and currently in a Communication and Media Studies department at a small university in Northern New England. The move from Computer Science to Communication and Media Studies is not as drastic as it might seem at first. As a computer scientist, I was most interested in questions of how technology can be used to aid us and how its use hinders us. I’m still interested in those questions. I now study these issues from the context of digital media, especially games and online social networks. I am particularly interested in the rhetoric of these digital media, that is, how those media communicate their messages and persuade us to think and act in particular ways.

In the last few years, my University has become a leader in re-imagining higher education. Through these conversations, I have become increasingly interested in the role that General Education plays in a typical student’s college education. Because of this interest, I took the position of General Education Coordinator starting in July 2018. My current list of priorities in this position:

  1. Support the changes we have made in First Year Seminar by providing professional development opportunities for instructors and organizing the common elements of the course.
  2. Develop a reasonable assessment plan for the General Education program as a whole and for First Year Seminar in particular.
  3. Organize and support the development of the INCAP course, a capstone for the General Education program with a plan to offer the first set of experimental courses in Spring 2019.
  4. Begin the conversation about themed General Education Directions courses focusing on pedagogy used by instructors of those courses with a plan to offer a good set of themed courses in AY19-20.
  5. Improve communication with all stakeholders (faculty, staff, students, and various external constituencies such as parents, business owners, the state legislature, and so on) about the importance of General Education in the cluster initiative as well as our plans for changes.
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