Teaching

Currently I am a Visiting Assistant Professor in the History Department at Elon University.

Classes taught (with some links to syllabi):

 

Teaching Philosophy

I strive to challenge students and encourage them to take a stand in their coursework. In every course I teach, primary sources provide the foundational sources around which students craft arguments and present original ideas. Memoirs, film, cartoons, graphic novels, children's literature, and government documents all make up the corpus of material that my students use to explore the past. The assignments may ask students to analyze, compare, contextualize, or evaluate, but they all ask students to think. A well-supported, well-crafted, creative argument is more valuable to me than a "right" answer. I focus on teaching students skills and methods of analysis rather than easily-forgotten details. Six years as a graduate writing tutor has given me a perspective on teaching academic writing that sets me apart from other entry-level academics. I do not expect that students enter my courses knowing how to craft and defend an original argument, but I do expect that they leave my courses with that knowledge.

My overall educational goal is to prepare students to be active members of society post-college. To that end I incorporate assignments that relate the course material to current world events at every opportunity. For example, in the world history (since 1900) course I am currently teaching, student groups are using major newspapers to follow a developing story in one of the following regions: N. Korea, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Latin America (shift to the Left), and Africa (social issues or political issues). At the end of the semester the groups will craft an online presentation that places current events into the context of the past. In the process of creating the presentation students will employ course concepts in their analysis of world current events and learn valuable search and retrieval skills that are not easily lost.

I am a firm believer in "meeting students where there are." I incorporate innovative technological approaches to teaching the subject matter at every opportunity. Students come to college extremely computer literate. Facebook, MySpace, and blogs have become the dominant mediums of communication for our students. In addition, once they join the workforce after college they will find that wiki technology now dominates intranet business communication. Instead of forcing students to learn in an unfamiliar environment, I tap into their comfort in technology. For several years I served as the Technology Coordinator for the Writing Center at UNC-CH. That position has enabled me to apply cutting-edge technological approaches in education. Beyond Powerpoint, class blogs, and web presentations, I have begun to explore the use of wiki technology in the classroom. In August I presented a conference paper on my use of a class wiki in a course on Genocide I taught last spring http://elonhst374.pbwiki.com/. This fall, I am employing wiki technology to replace the in-class oral group presentation format for a semester-long project http://elon221a.pbwiki.com/. Students have responded enthusiastically to my efforts to present unfamiliar information through a familiar medium.