Summary of Teaching Experience

This summary of my teaching experience provides a brief description of the courses and texts that I have taught, clearly demonstrating my experience in teaching on a wide variety of political, social and cultural themes.

2012-2015, Sessional Instructor Simon Fraser University, School of Communication

3rd year: Evaluation Methods for Applied Communication Research (5 iterations)

Spanning the theory and methods of communication research, this course introduced students to research methods used to investigate mass mediated communication and communication infrastructures. Students design, develop and implement an original pilot study using at least two methods introduced in class. There are a number of themes in 362: the politics of social media activism; attitudes to indigenous struggles; gamification and the quantified care of the self; self-representation/s within the feminist movement; youth vultures and political representation; digital courtship practices; precarious labour in cultural industries. Based on these, or any other relevant themes, students choose and define a research problem, review relevant literature and propose researchable questions, then undertake fieldwork.

In addition to preparing and delivering the weekly lectures, setting essays and facilitating a seminar, and organizing a conference, I managed a tutor.

3rd year: Media and Modernity (4 iterations)

This course examines the place of human communication in western social science from the eighteenth century to the early twentieth century. The course begins with a general discussion of the concept of modernity and the role played by communications media in the making of modern western societies. We will then examine the importance of communications with respect to a number of important concepts and debates in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Examples include: liberalism, the public sphere, socialism, capitalism and ideology. The course also introduces students to Marxism, conservative mass society theory, and to early twentieth century critiques of modernity which draw on both the Marxist and conservative traditions.

In addition to preparing and delivering the weekly lectures, setting essays and facilitating a seminar, I managed a tutor marker,

1st year: Introduction to Communication Studies (2 iterations)

Designed to introduce undergraduate students to cultural aspects of Communication Studies, the lecture surveyed a wide range of theoretical material in preparation for essays on to contemporary debates and topics on privacy and digital liberties, big data, the quantified self, computer game culture, social media influence on news consumption.

In addition to preparing and delivering the weekly 3 hour lectures, setting essays and exams, and I managed a teaching assistant.

2008-2013, Teaching Assistant, Simon Fraser University, School of Communication

3rd Year: Communication and Rhetoric, 3 iterations

This lecture and tutorial course was designed to guide students through the current rhetoric resurgence in Communication Studies. The class attends spends 6 weeks engaging with Platonic and Aristotelian thought. In the seminar section of the course I taught Gorgias, Phaedrus, book 5 of the Republic, Topics, and Sophistical Refutations. After week 6, the class attends to modern Rhetoric by examining the work of Kenneth Burke, Stephen Toulmin, and Henry Johnstone. The objective is to assess the discovery of the former by the latter.

3rd Year: Communication in Everyday Life, 5 iterations

This course examines the interaction of language and culture in everyday life. The first half attends to how language gives order and meaning to one’s perceptions of the world. The second half explores how social relations influence the influence of language, and reflect social processes of privilege and domination. Theorists covered include Searle, Foucault, Lefevre, and Goffman. Student assignments are self-determined and they tend to conduct a critical discourse analysis on social interactions like gossip, humour, music, film, visual art, architecture, and politics.

2nd Year: Qualitative Methods, 2 iterations

This course taught students the basic skills required to conduct a qualitative media research. The course primarily focused on participant observation and content analysis. One iteration taught students how to use archives and search public records to prepare for journalistic and elite interviewing.

1st Year: Introduction to Communication Studies, 2 iterations

This course was similar to the one I lectured in 2012 and 2013.

At SFU, the TA is responsible for leading 4 to 5 tutorial groups of up to 18 students. Tutorials meet once a week for an hour. Responsibilities in include: planning and conducting seminars and tutorial sessions (which often depart from the material covered in lectures or readings); marking and grading all student work (the TA is responsible for 100% of a student’s final grade); managing research projects; acting as a liaison between students and the Instructor; and consulting with the Instructor on the preparation of exams, essay questions and other assignments, as well as providing general feedback on the conduct of the course.

2005-2008, Tutor, University of the Witwatersrand, Political Studies

4th Year, Research Skills (Seminar Leader)
2nd Year, African Nationalist Thought
1st Year, Introduction to Political Theory
1st Year, Revolutions and Democratization

These courses focused on the ideological, cultural, and institutional aspects of the political; aspects of democratization; and comparative politics. Select bodies of literature covered include Classical Greek Thought, social contractualism, Orthodox and Western Marxism, behavioral approaches in the sociology of violence, African Anti- and Post-Colonial thought. For Research Skills I was a Seminar Leader responsible for preparing 8 honors students to conduct their field research. This seminar lasted for 8 weeks.

2004, Writing Consultant, Wits Writing Centre, University of the Witwatersrand

Assisted student-clients to improve their writing skills; planned, organized and facilitated training and skills workshops for the other consultants.

2004, Adult Educator (ABET), Oxford Synagogue, Johannesburg

Taught Mathematics level 2-4 (equivalent of Grade 4-9) to Adult Learners.

Courses I can Teach

In addition to having taught introductory communication, field research methods, and the history of communication thought classes, this list provides a brief description of the courses I have the knowledge base to teach.

Lower Division Class on Democratic Media

The standard and accepted function of the media in a democratic society is to give substance to a set of rights that concern speech and information. Positive by-products of this function include providing a means to develop a civic culture as well as supporting the exchange of ideas. More recently media has been seen as a way to test the extent to which governments are willing to be transparent with and accountable for their conduct to the citizenry at large. I would start this class with an exploring the value of understanding democracy as an ‘essentially contested concept,’ and how this conceptualization gives insight into democratic regimes. Hereafter I would look at international case studies of media and press activists as they seek to extend or safeguard democratization.

Lower Division Methods Class

For students to gain academic competence and maintain a healthy and robust research imagination they must draw from the different methodological and paradigmatic traditions introduced in other classes to ask questions of academic and human interest. These courses prepares students to engage with the active research aspect of Communication Studies by introducing them to the basic logic and tools used by communication and media researchers to understand and explain the world. I would teach students how to ask answerable questions; how to define key communication concepts; how to formulate hypotheses and theories about communicative interactions; how to measure the phenomena they want to study; and how to think and assess relationships of cause and effect.

Upper Division Class on Communication and Rhetoric

Rhetoric gives us the traditional values of the humanities, such as the value of narrative and skepticism towards universalizing and certain knowledge claims, as well as a focus on tailoring our communicative acts towards particular audiences and purposes. When instructing rhetoric students, my first interaction involves making a statement that is undoubtedly true, but they frequently forget: that they are already language users, and that my job is not to make them into effective rhetors, but to help them reveal the effective speakers, readers, and writers that are already in them.

Upper Division Class on International Communication

Recent decades have seen a series of transformations in the global security environment due to the tremendous shifts in the distribution of power in the international system. Communication Studies as a discipline has changed in these years as well, in part in an attempt to better study these transformations. Drawing upon new global communication research literature, this course will discuss the core concepts of security and threat, conflict and peace. The structure of the course would combine readings and cases studies from different geographic context in Africa, Asia, and Europe, providing students with the opportunity to better understand the ambitions of emerging regional. The orientation of the course would be analytical, critical, and dialectic.

Upper Division class on Ideology

My approach with this kind of class would be to focus on capitalism and ideology. Here I will consider capitalism’s prevailing dominance despite a culturally heterogeneous world and different local politics. After an initial brief survey of the distinctive political theories of city-states and republics in antiquity, as well as the Church and state in medieval and modern Europe respectively, the bulk of the course will attend to capitalism as a kind of polity and the ideology it produces. Topics include: hegemony and authority; obligation and obedience; the nature of value; administration; dynastic and acquired power. This is meant to provide students with the analytical tools necessary to study how capitalism produces a distinctive political form incumbent with its own rules and values. These concepts will be applied to cases such as the development of labour movements, the emergence of public affairs, the formation of political parties, and international conflict, and most importantly how various communication media contended or popularised ideologies that legitimated the interests of various social players.

Granted, some scholars analyse capitalism strictly as a mode of economic organization, but one objective of the class would be see whether that distinction—between the political and the economic—can be sustained, or alternatively, whether this preoccupation should necessarily wither in advance of a more insightful study of communication media under capitalism. Similarly, through an examination of classical and revisionist critical political economy texts, and without making a presumption about the primacy of material circumstances over ideology or vice versa, the final goal of the class would be to ask students to take a stance on whether capitalism developed not as a result of ideology, but the other way around. Irrespective of their conclusions, students will leave the course with stronger, tested justifications on how ideas encourage or imped capital accumulation specifically, and social change more generally.