As an educator in the visual arts, specifically with new media, I want to engage students in a multimodal learning environment, including field trips to galleries and museums, lectures with visual aids, and hands-on activities. My primary objective is to create an inclusive learning environment that empowers students to ask questions in a safe environment for growth that does not assume prior knowledge or rely on jargon. Students gain a basic understanding of art, media creation, history, and research techniques through this multimodal teaching style.  This allows them to comprehend what is happening globally and how media influences their projects and perspectives.  Plus, the software taught enables them to create work that is fulfilling to them while learning skills they can utilize in their future career opportunities.
Museum + Gallery visits
          By visiting museums and galleries, either in-person or virtually, students will interact with the artwork and hone their skills in analysis.  Through this exploration, students look critically at works of art and develop an awareness of how time and place significantly impact an artist and their work.  Viewing and analyzing will allow students to reflect on how current culture affects their artwork and its intent.  I firmly believe that everything is connected, and gaining an understanding of the discourses within the art community throughout history would strengthen a student's comprehension of how society impacts artists and their work. During these visits, I try to point out pieces of art made by voices that aren’t as well known or artists that have a local connection to the city of Chicago or the midwest. It’s important that through these visits, the students gain a better understanding of how diverse artists and art practices are.
Lectures + Discussions + Readings 
           Lectures about various topics such as art history, current & past artists, how to incorporate research in their practices, and fundamental art and media theory help students recognize the physical and intellectual labor within art creation.  The use of visual aids such as images, video, and other forms of media during lectures helps students build a compilation of artists and artworks to help inspire them. The artists I showcase in classes span from the typical new media artists such as Pippolit Rist and Cory Archangel to more recent artists such as A.M. Darke and Sondra Perry.  Lecture media includes artworks from various artists and, if available, interviews or recorded conversations with said artists.  Through this approach, students see how they can apply their class learning in non-academic spaces.  Plus, this allows them to better comprehend what is expected of them with assignments.  Besides lectures and critiques, students discuss assigned readings.  The readings are a selection of current and quintessential essays that help broaden their perspectives on life and art. 
          Discussions do not stop once the class time ends since each course has its own server on Discord, an instant messaging social platform.  Discord allows students to talk about theory, show work in progress, share resources, and assist each other with software questions when I am not able.  I think it's vital that we build a community within the course that allows students to feel comfortable expressing their thoughts when they feel comfortable doing so.  Thankfully Discord allows for more casual conversations within the class community.  Since implementing a class server, many students have told me that they prefer to engage this way since they don't feel pressured to respond with the "right" answer, and that allows them time to formulate their thoughts.  
Conclusion
          In all my courses, students show their work in class and learn proper critiquing methods to evaluate their and others' artworks.  Students also post work-in-progress updates on the course's Discord server and respond to other student's posts throughout the week.  These conversations allow them more opportunities to refine their projects and reinforce growth in their visual analysis and critical thinking skills within a more casual platform before presenting their work in formal critiques during class time.  
          I make a conscious effort to create and implement engaging and fun classes.  I create courses that inspire students to learn information and techniques and partake in productive dialogues that enrich them as artists and strengthen the foundations for their future endeavors.  In a computer-based art class, one additional objective is to ensure that students develop a fundamental understanding and feel comfortable using their newly obtained skills regardless of their career pursuits. Ultimately, my goal as a teacher is for students to cultivate a vast understanding of the world and a general appreciation for the process of creating and evaluating art. 
syllabi and examples of teaching are available upon request
Back to Top