Courses I have taught:
Media Studies and Communication Courses
Communication and Social Change
Course Description: This introductory course gives an overview of the forms, theories and institutions of communication and their role in broader social change. The first section of the course introduces the era of mass communication and some of the more influential approaches to its study. It examines questions such as: What constitutes mass communication? What is the relationship between mass media and power? How has mass media been regulated in the past? What are the differences between critical, liberal-democratic, and neoliberal approaches to mass communication? Since the mass media are everywhere - news, magazines, television, advertising, radio, the Internet, networks, films and popular music saturate our lives – what impact has the introduction and dominance of communication industries had on us as a society, on our conception of ourselves, and on our roles as citizens and consumers? The second part of the course focuses on contemporary, emergent, networked forms of mass communication and perspectives that seek to explain what is often called the “information society”. It examines questions such as: Are we in the midst of a transition from an era of mass communication to an era of networked communication, and, if so, what may be the implications of this shift for social inequality? What role do we play in this transformation? How does concentration of ownership affect the media, and the control of information? What is the relationship between the media and globalization? A number of media industries will be examined in detail.
Media and Diversity
Course Description: This course examines media and communication practices from the perspective of diverse audiences, with a specific focus on issues of gender, race, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, age, ability and class. Students will analyze diversity issues in media content as well as diversity in audiencing practices. Topics will include: Hollywood, gender, race and the diverse audiences of film; representations of minority groups in TV shows; media and critical disability studies; gender and performativity in music videos and advertising; issues of class and classism in relation to reality TV; role of documentary photography and the history of class consciousness; difference and voyeurism; communication in relation to histories of (post)feminism; media diversity and globalization.
Foundations of Communication Studies
Course Description: Students will be given a comprehensive overview of what it means to study communication. They will explore classic definitions and models of communication and trace how these notions have changed with the introduction of new media, new messages, new communicators and a more active and participatory audience. They will explore: communication theories, communication media, the key power players in the realm of communications (particularly in North America) and the role of the audience. Topics will include: Media governance in Canada; popular culture; an introduction to communication traditions including the critical theory tradition, political economy, semiotics, and McLuhan and the Toronto School of communication; advertising and consumer culture; social media; communication and the ‘self;’ materiality of media culture and digital trash; media and globalization.
Women and New Information Technology
This course explores feminist science and technology studies (STS) approaches to information and communication technologies. Changes in
technology have challenged feminist scholars to reconsider the notion of what “counts” as a technology, how feminist politics can influence women’s participation in the design and use of technology, and how technical changes can influence gender relations. Topics include gendered perspectives on big data, artificial intelligence, and the outsourcing of ‘care’ through digital innovations. We will discuss the history of computerization of women’s paid and unpaid work, and critical perspectives on neoliberal approaches to digital entrepreneurship and precarious social media-based labour. A key aim of the course will be on developing conceptual approaches to the gendering of technology and discuss how access to technology design constitutes a form of power, and ways in which women’s participation in the traditionally male-dominated technical sphere has often been celebrated as emancipatory and empowering. We will also focus on the processes through which gendering of technologies takes place; ICTs in relation to public and private spheres; gender roles and the use of ICTs in relation to health; as well as the contributions which the study of gender and ICTs have made to theoretical debates within science and technology studies (STS).
Adult education is a very broad field encompassing everything from workplace learning, to patient education in health settings, to literacy, to learning in environmental and other social justice movements, and beyond. The first part of the course explores the different environments for teaching and we consider some major aspects of the context of teaching adults (e.g., neoliberalism), including adult learners, learning theories, and perceptions of oneself as an educator. The second part of the course focuses in depth on different theories of teaching, including transmission, developmental, apprenticeship, nurturing, and social reform perspectives. In the final part of the course, students learn to develop their own teaching philosophy statements, and make connection between how their own strategies connect to (or not) assessment and evaluation practices.
Knowledge, Education, Curriculum
Ideas about curriculum and education cannot be disconnected from ideas about knowledge, what counts as knowledge, and about what constitutes ‘truth.’ After all, who would argue that educators should teach their students’ false ideas rather than true ones, and things they merely believe or guess, rather than things they know? However, as soon as we talk about ‘knowledge’ and ‘truth,’ questions arise: Who decides what knowledge educators should teach? What knowledge has the most worth? How do educators determine what counts as ‘knowledge,’ and ‘truth’ and how can they help students think critically about whether what they learn is true? Moreover, since no school or university program can teach everything there is to know in the world, choices have to be made about the knowledge that is included and excluded from the curriculum. What should be the aim of education today, well into the 21st century? What knowledge should the curriculum include in the age of ‘post-truth,’ ecological degradation, climate change and animal extinction, reconciliation, and a 21st century global market? Who decides? How do Indigenous conceptions of knowledge and truth differ from ‘Western’ and European conceptions, and what conceptions of knowledge and truth do people hold elsewhere in the world? How are ideas about knowledge and truth changing in the context of emerging digital media, artificial intelligence, and data privacy issues, and how are teachers to respond?
I was also a teaching assistant in the following course:
Aims of Education
Course Description: This course explicitly examines the political and conflicting aims of education. This course will introduce and consider major themes of historical, legal, political, ethical, social, and fiscal contexts of education in Canadian society. Essential questions will be explored and addressed, such as: What are the purposes of education? Who decides? Is education a tool of enlightenment or indoctrination? To what extent is education related to schooling? Should it be related? If so, what should be the purposes of schooling? How should schooling be conducted? Who should decide what is best for students? Upon what basis? What roles should teachers assume given the conflicting aims of education and the conflicting purposes of schooling? At the end of the course students will be able to identify, analyze, and be knowledgeable about the multiple and conflicting purposes of education, how schools as institutions reflect and recreate society, and the educational dilemmas using ethical, pedagogical, moral, social, legal, cultural, and political perspectives.