(2015) Celebrity Women Tweet: White Women Working for the Gaze’. In R. E. Dubrofsky and S. Magnet (Eds.) Feminist Surveillance Studies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press (with Rachel E. Dubrofsky)
(2015) Lucky Strikes and a three martini lunch: Thinking about television’s Mad Men. Review of Lucky Strikes and a three martini lunch: Thinking about television’s Mad Men, 2nd edition, by Jennifer C. Dunn, Jimmie Manning, and Danielle M. Stern. Popular Culture Studies Journal 3(1 & 2), 2015: 606-610.
(2014) Posting Racism and Sexism: Authenticity, Agency and Self-Reflexivity in Social Media. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 11(3), 282-287 (with Rachel E. Dubrofsky)
(2013) Sexuality and Teen Television: Emerging Adults Respond to Representations of Queer Identity on Glee. Sexuality & Culture 17(3), 434-448 (with Michaela D.E. Meyer)
(2012) Glee Fandom and Twitter: Something New, or More of the Same Old Thing? Communication Studies 63(3), 328-344, special issue: New Directions in Critical Television Studies (with Linda Baughman)
(2011) Gender, Media, and Madness: Reading a Rhetoric of Women in Crisis Through Foucauldian Theory. Review of Communication 11(3), 216-228 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer & Amy Fallah)
Before walking into a class to teach, I remind myself that I owe everything I am to the great teachers I’ve had. Doing this helps me to remember my role in the lives of the students waiting in that classroom: to help them locate their passion and then to provide a learning environment that helps them succeed. With this role in mind, my teaching aims to craft a dialogic class community that values diverse experiences, backgrounds, learning styles and interests, encourages open communication of ideas, and invites self-reflection. What I enjoy about this approach is the shared learning experience it affords, and how no two classes end up the same.
An effective philosophy of dialogic teaching requires a significant amount of communication and organization. As a way to ensure that my students communicate openly with their peers and me, I integrate group presentations, student-led discussions, and one-on-one meetings to provide engagement opportunities to a range of student learning styles. I also utilize an online discussion board where each student is encouraged to ask questions, engage and challenge each other and the course material, and share their own examples and experiences. My goal is to facilitate a supportive, welcoming environment where all contributions are valued and made relevant to our learning goals. It is important to facilitate such an environment because the more my students engage, the more we can connect, adjust, and learn. I strive to be as organized and as prepared as possible at all times during the teaching process so that the focus is on learning and not on mechanics. My students consistently indicate that they value the clarity and transparency I provide them with respect to expectations, grading, and content. My syllabi are extremely detailed, and on assignments I provide marks that illustrate their performance both on the immediate assignment and cumulatively in the course.
While my expectations for engagement, rigor, and responsibility are firm, a dialogic approach to teaching also requires a commitment to reflexivity on my part. Just as my students rely on me to guide them in their learning, I rely on them to guide me in my teaching. Midway through each semester I issue my students an informal, anonymous learning assessment asking them to indicate what works, doesn’t work, and would work better—the responses vary greatly even in sections of the same course, which supports the need for a dialogic learning environment (Alexander, 2006). Sometimes suggestions are content related (“I really liked your use of the RTV article—it was way more interesting than the textbook”), and often they are related to time and structure (“I think we need more time between speeches and in-class practice activities”). After carefully reviewing their comments and discussing the suggestions with the class, I adjust plans for the remainder of the course, with respect to the learning goals set forth at the start of the semester.
Another important feature of dialogic teaching is a commitment to providing timely and interesting material and engaging activities to enhance the learning that happens in the classroom. Arranging my syllabus with space for assigning articles just-published articles or current events stories from a news source allows for more engaging and relevant discussion of course concepts. This is particularly useful in a special topics course, such as Communication and Cultural Diversity, where nearly every day seems to present an explosive social or cultural event applicable to the foundational theories surveyed in the course. The hands-on activities I implement are designed to unite theory with praxis. Examples of these include experiential learning using Twitter to engage with an on-campus speaker to practice critical listening, and media analysis presentations to exercise rhetorical criticism skills.
References Alexander, R. (2006). Towards dialogic teaching (3rd ed.). York: Dialogos.
Studying Selfies, Week One: Goffman and Identity
This lesson is intended for use in a special topics course I developed, titled Studying Selfies: A Critical Approach, which adapts ideas from a course project created by "The Selfies Research Network". It is a 30 minute lesson designed for use in the beginning of the semester. The content and material covered serve as an introduction to ideas that will be built upon in each subsequent lesson.
I have found myself in frequent discussions with other teachers regarding the difficulties in finding effective ways to engage today’s undergraduates in necessary, foundational—but “old” and sometimes dense—material. How do we encourage them to take the challenge? How do we get them interested enough to read it in the first place? These queries are not unique to my professional circle; many humanities scholars are working to find curricula and pedagogical strategies that both induce student interest and help students make connections while developing the literacies needed to navigate their academic, professional, social, and political futures (Morrell, 2002). This lesson, and the course it belongs to, are designed to address this task by specifically engaging students in their own current cultural moment—instead of sprinkling “pop culture” examples into a theory-centered lesson, why not MAKE pop culture the lesson, bringing the theory to life?
This lesson seeks to engage the class in a full investigation of the “selfie” as a cultural object. For the purposes of this lesson, a “selfie” is any photograph an individual or group takes of themselves, regardless of whether that photo is privately held (or is thought to be privately held), transferred to others, or is displayed via social networks like Facebook and Instagram. The fact that “selfie” was Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2013 (Brumfield, 2013) and the title of a 2014 primetime show on the major television network ABC (Breger, 2014) indicates that the selfie is a topic of popular interest, and one that students will be familiar with and readily able and eager to engage in discussion. The students will learn, as scholars and as producers and consumers of culture, the importance of thinking critically about selfies as cultural objects that speak to and about our current cultural moment. More information, such as learning objectives, can be found in the lesson plan below.
This lesson, and all lessons in this course, are designed and executed using Madeline Hunter’s (1984) seven-element “method.” I put method in quotes here, because while it is useful to think of it as such, Hunter meant for her model to operate more as a guide, or a set of suggestions that should be considered together in planning for effective instruction, rather than as a set of steps to be explicitly followed or evaluated by (Wolfe, 1987). In other words, not all elements belong in every lesson, and they need not necessarily happen in order, but using the seven elements as a guide has proven effective in holistically structuring effective lessons and increasing the probability of student success in reaching the learning objective (1987). The method consists of the following elements:
- Anticipatory set: Activating students’ prior knowledge and experience, focusing attention
- Objective: Making clear the overall purpose of the lesson
- Input: Disseminating new information through lecture
- Modeling: Demonstrating the skill/competence for the student
- Checking for understanding: Activities which examine the student’s comprehension
- Guided practice: Supervised direction of the students as they practice on their own
- Independent practice: Practice assigned to be completed without supervision
As you will see in the following lesson plan, appropriate elements of the Hunter method are used to structure the lesson in ways that facilitate the student’s introduction to, guidance in, and practice of the learning objectives put forth.
Specific to this lesson is an introduction to the selfie via a theoretical discussion of Erving Goffman’s (1959) thoughts about presentation of self as an act of “everyday performance.” Goffman explained that individuals actively participate in directing and controlling the impressions they “give off” to each other in everyday interactions. Observers “glean clues” from the conduct and appearance of the observed, which inform the impression the observer develops (and re-develops) of the observed. Goffman compared daily interactions to a theatrical experience in which individuals perform an identity by giving off expressions meant to control the responses others have to the individual in a given situation. These expressions are usually nonverbal, often visual, and are staged in a way that is meant to seem consistent with the individual’s “real,” “authentic” performance of self. Because Goffman’s analysis focused on the types of interactions possible in 1959, exploring the working components of his theory through the lens of selfies as cultural objects engage the students in the material on its own terms, while also allowing them to begin addressing the ways in which our current cultural moment necessitates complexifying how we think about “presentation of self in everyday life” (p. 1).
Using a recent popular online news article from Vulture titled “At Arm’s Length: A History of the Selfie” (Saltz, 2014), the students will be introduced to the genealogical history of the selfie. The lecture will trace its still unclear, uncodified existence in the larger historical genre of portraiture, which will serve as a base for discussing the selfie as a rich, historical, and cultural object worthy of critical analysis. We will then discuss our own experiences and knowledge of selfies using aspects of Goffman’s theories of self-presentation. The students will then be guided through an analysis of a collection of selfies. Finally, the students will engage in their own active analysis, looking at examples of selfies in small group discussion. In closing, thoughts resulting from the small group discussion will be shared to synthesize findings and check for understanding. More details for each of these elements are provided in the lesson plan below.
This activity has been submitted to the Great Ideas for Teaching Students (G.I.F.T.S) series of the National Communication Association. Activites accepted for presentation in the series are peer-reviewed, and reflect creative pedagogical and andragogical ideas about teaching communication. Specifically, G.I.F.T.S. is interested in innovative uses of technology and activities designed around this technology to engage students in new mediated frontiers.
“I Totally Missed That!”: Using Twitter to Teach Critical Listening
Created by Megan Wood
Being an active, engaged, critical “public listener” is as important as learning the skills of “public speaking.” Most public speaking instructors conceptually differentiate between hearing, passive and active listening, and critical listening for their students, but to what extent do we guide the actual practice and self-assessment of these skills outside of the public speaking classroom? This activity uses Twitter to teach students about (critical) listening through experiential learning (Kolb, 1984), which involves an independent experience had by the student, followed by in-class reflection, analysis, and application. Social media sites like Twitter increasingly prove to be successful tools for accomplishing experiential learning objectives (Rinaldo, Tapp, & Laverie, 2011; Shilpa, 2014). Following a “live-tweeting” experiment at a speech event (or events) in the community, students share, compare, and contrast their own tweets with those of their classmates and discuss observations that can be made about their listening behaviors during public speaking events.
- Each student will need to create a Twitter account if they do not already have one (students can create an anonymous/”fake” account if necessary and delete it afterwards).
- Students should have access to Microsoft Excel for the download of their Twitter archive, or Microsoft Word if they choose to collect and table their tweets manually.
- The instructor will need to have a computer that is Internet accessible and linked to a projector in the classroom.
This activity is ideal for students in any level of a public speaking or speech-related course.
After this activity, students should be able to:
- Define and articulate the concepts of hearing, passive and active listening, and critical listening.
- Demonstrate the ability to see how tweets/collections of tweets demonstrate various listening behaviors.
- Assess their own listening behaviors through reflection on their experience in comparison with others.
- Devise strategies to be better critical listeners
- Feel more connected to fellow classmates through shared experiential learning.
- You can present a lesson on hearing/listening either before OR after the activity, depending on how you would like to facilitate the discussion part of the activity.
- Provide the students with 2-3 options to attend public speaking events on campus or in a nearby community venue. Have the students commit to these in writing so you know which students are attending which events.
- Have the students sign up for a Twitter account on their phones or tablet devices. (These are available for borrow in most university libraries if the students do not have a smartphone or tablet).
- Have the students “live tweet” the public speaking event. NOTE: Do not provide further instructions on what to tweet, since the goal will be to assess what they choose to tweet as indicative of their personal listening behaviors (Some might only tweet the main points of the speech, others will comment on delivery, others will talk about the setting or audience, others will tweet their opinions and thoughts). You may choose to provide a connecting class hashtag so the students can see what others are tweeting in real time, or you may choose to forgo this option in lieu of the students having a more solo listening experience to be compared with others in class discussion afterwards.
- After the event, have the students go to Settings in Twitter and download their tweet archive, which will be emailed to them as an Excel file. They will have to clean up the columns a bit.
- Have all students bring a paper copy of their tweets to class and email you a copy so you can pull them up on the screen.
- Choose two “different” accounts of the event to pull up on the screen to kick off discussion, and ask the class to compare and contrast the content of the tweet collections.
- Though the collections feature the same speech, demonstrate how the focus on different pieces of information illustrate how we listen subjectively. Point out how comments about the speaker, setting, and audience add to or detract from critical listening. Find tweets that exemplify passive listening, active listening, and critical listening.
- Have the students break into groups to repeat the exercise within their groups.
- Have the groups share some of their observations with the class, synthesize what the class learned about listening, and devise strategies for better critical listening as a group.
- First and foremost, this activity is relevant to students. According to Twitter’s financial report in December 2014, 284 million people actively use Twitter and 46% of US college student social media users tweet on a daily basis (Smith, 2014). Therefore, most students are at least familiar with how Twitter works and many of them will already have “live-tweeting” experience. The opportunity for students to incorporate a popular tool they use on a daily basis for entertainment into a learning experience is appealing. The relevancy embedded in this activity is a key pedagogical tool; as Frymier (2002) explains, the more relevant the content, the more motivated students are to learn.
- This activity provides a lot of flexibility in discussion. How the discussion about listening goes will depend upon the observations the students make about the tweet collections. This means that the lesson will feel “new” every time it is taught by the instructor, and will feel personalized and novel for the students.
- The students have some autonomy and get to take ownership over the learning process in this activity in selecting the event to attend, deciding what to tweet, deciding how to analyze it, and having the opportunity to self-assess. Through this experiential learning activity, students will feel like they have more to contribute to discussion, will take responsibility for the subject-matter, and will feel more connected to the class (Boud, 2012).
Boud, D. (1988). Developing student autonomy in learning (Second Edition). Milton Park: Taylor & Francis.
Frymier, A.B. (2002). Making content relevant to students. In J.L. Chesebro & J.C. McCroskey (Eds.), Communication for teachers (pp. 83-92). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Shilpa, J. (2014). New media technology in education: a genre of outreach learning. Global Media Journal: Indian Edition 5(1), 1-10.
Rinaldo, S., Tapp, S., & Laverie, D. (2011). Learning by tweeting: using twitter as a pedagogical tool. Journal of Marketing Education 33(2), 193-203.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Doctor of Philosophy candidate in Communication | Expected 2019
Concentration: Media & Technology Studies/Cultural Studies
Advisor: Torin Monahan
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Master of Arts in Communication Studies, with distinction | 2011-2013
Concentration: Critical Media Studies
Advisor: Dr. Rachel E. Dubrofsky
Thesis: When Celebrity Women Tweet: Examining Authenticity, Empowerment, and Responsibility in the Surveillance of Celebrity Twitter
Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies | 2007-2011
Minor in Leadership Studies, President’s Leadership Program
Advisor: Michaela DE Meyer
Thesis: The Transmedia Impulse: Glee Fandom and Twitter
Publications - Peer-Reviewed Articles
- “Posting Racism and Sexism: Authenticity, Agency, and Self-Reflexivity in Social Media.” Communication and Critical Cultural Studies 11(3), 2014: 282-287 (with Rachel E. Dubrofsky).
- “Sexuality and Teen Television: Emerging Adults Respond to Representations of Queer Identity on Glee.” Sexuality & Culture 17(3), 2013: 434-448 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer).
- “Glee Fandom And Twitter: Something New, Or More of the Same Old Thing?” Communication Studies 63(3), 2012: 328-344 (with Linda Baughman).
- “Gender, Media & Madness: Reading a Rhetoric of Women in Crisis through Foucauldian Theory.” Review of Communication 11(3), 2011: 216-228 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer and Amy Fallah).
- “Crossing The Divide: Exploring How Leadership Practitioners Can Use The Hofstede Model To Improve Cross-Cultural Leadership Competencies.” Undergraduate Leadership Review 2, 2010: 29-39. (with Sean Heuvel).
Publications - Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters
- “Celebrity Women Tweet: White Women Working for the Gaze.” Feminist Surveillance Studies. Eds. Rachel Dubrofsky and Shoshana Magnet. Duke University Press, 2015: 93-106 (with Rachel Dubrofsky).
- “’I totally missed that!’: Using Twitter to teach critical listening.” Under review by M. Sanders, J. Peeples, & J. Seiter (eds.) A G.I.F.T.S. Collection: Activities for Teaching Communication in the Classroom. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press (forthcoming).
Publications - Book Reviews
- “Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness.” Review of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness, by Simone Browne. Surveillance & Society, forthcoming 2016.
- “Lucky Strikes and a three martini lunch: Thinking about television’s Mad Men.” Review of Lucky Strikes and a three martini lunch: Thinking about television’s Mad Men, 2nd edition, by Jennifer C. Dunn, Jimmie Manning, and Danielle M. Stern. Popular Culture Studies Journal 3(1 & 2), 2015: 606-610.
Publications - Under Review
- “Authentic by Design: Raw Social Media and Surveillance in the Digital Economy.” Under review by New Media and Society.
- “#womenagainstfeminism: Accounting for neoliberalism in online feminist backlash.” Under review by Feminist Media Studies.
Manuscripts - In Progress
- “Designing Authenticity: A Foucauldian analysis of new social media.”
Conference Presentations - Competitive Papers
- “The Fappening: Bringing Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology into Conversation with Male Gaze Theory.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Philadelphia, PA, November 2016.
- “States of Enclosure: An Intersectional Account of the Digital Enclosure.” Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association, Rock Hill, SC, March 2016.
- ““I totally missed that!” Using Twitter to teach critical listening.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Las Vegas, NV, November 2015.
- “The Call to authenticity: When celebrity women tweet.” Accepted for the Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop, Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC), online, June 2015
- “Authenticity and feminine excess: Celebrity women tweeting failed hegemonic femininity.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL, November 2014.
- “Coming of Age: Perceived Realities of Emerging Adults in Television Media.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Washington, D.C., November 2013 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer).
- ““Musicals Are Generally Not a Guy Thing”: Emerging Adult Responses to Queer Identity as Represented in the Television Series Glee.” Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Chicago, IL, October 2013 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer).
- “Glee fandom and Twitter: Something new, or more of the same old thing?” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Orlando, FL, November 2012.
- “The Transmedia Impulse: A Look at Convergence Culture, Social Media, and Television Studies.” Annual Meeting of the Central States Communication Association, Cleveland, OH, March 2012.
- “Relational aggression and the third-person effect: A qualitative audience analysis of the film Mean Girls.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, New Orleans, LA, November 2011 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer and Amy Fallah).
- “Beyond deliberative argument: The power of framing and the responsibility of the press.” CSCA, Milwaukee, WI (with Amy Fallah).
- “Gender, media & madness: Contemporary scholarship on a rhetoric of women in crisis.” Annual Meeting of the Central States Communication Association, Milwaukee, WI, April 2011 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer).
- ““I actually know people who have a burn book:” The third-person effect and audience consumption of the film Mean Girls.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, San Francisco, CA, November 2010 (with Michaela D. E. Meyer and Amy Fallah).
- “Sexualized superpower: The construction of female villains in comic book movies through the male gaze.” Annual Meeting of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender, Tampa, FL, October 2010.
- ““The Phantom of the Opera:” A Jungian Analysis of the Animus Archetype.” Annual Paideia Conference, Newport News, VA, April 2010.
Conference Presentations—Panels and Roundtables
- “Critical Surveillance Studies.” Presenter. Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Philadelphia, PA, November 2016 (with Rachel Dubrofsky (chair), Rachel Hall, Kelli Moore, and Greg Wise).
- “Culture Industries.” Chair. Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Philadelphia, PA, November 2016 (with Robert Asen (respondent), Matthew McAlister, Anna Aupperle, Evan Elkins, Danielle La Fors, and Drew D. Shade).
- “Hashtag feminism: The role of social media in social justice.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Las Vegas, NV, November 2015 (with Amanda Firestone, Michaela D. E. Meyer (chair), and Tasha Rennels.)
- “Critical feminist interventions in new media studies.” Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Washington, D. C., November 2013 (with Amy Hasinoff, Rachel E. Dubrofsky, Radhika Gajjala, Marina Levina, and Adrienne Shaw)
- “Mediating Histories, Historicizing Media.” Chair. Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Washington, D. C., November 2013.
- “Can we find feminism in social media? A conversation.” Chair. Annual Meeting of the Florida Communication Association, Orlando, FL, October 2012 (with Amanda Firestone, Kim Golombisky, Mark McCarthy, Blake Paxton, and Tasha Rennels.
- “Methodological challenges: New approaches, best practices, and lessons learned.” Annual Meeting of the Florida Communication Association, Orlando, FL, October 2012 (with J. Jacob Jenkins (chair), Jennifer Whalen, Nicholas Riggs, Patrick Dillion, and Allison Weidhaas.
- “Lessons we learn about ourselves and othering.” Presentations of Original Research, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, April 2012.
- “Connecting through mentoring: Advising, teaching, and caring for interpersonal and group communication students in and out of the classroom.” Annual Meeting of the Central States Communication Association, Cleveland, OH, March 2012 (with Jimmie Manning (chair), Jessica Eckstein, Michaela D. E. Meyer, Katherine J. Denker, Jordan Soliz, and Sarah Wilder).
- “Living the good life?: Representations on and learning from Glee.” Annual Meeting of the Organization for the Study of Communication, Language, and Gender, Tampa, FL, October 2010 (with Jennifer Dunn (chair), Jimmie Manning, Michaela D. E. Meyer, and Amy Fallah).
- “From Edwin Black to Public Memory to the Pragmatic: Reassessing Select Rhetorical Theories.” Respondent. Annual Meeting of the Southern States Communication Association, Tampa, FL, April 2015.
- “Constituting knowledge within brands of philanthropy: Critical examinations of the framing and selling of aid products.” Respondent. Annual Meeting of the National Communication Association, Washington, D.C., November 2013.
Competitive Grants & Awards
2016 National Communication Association Caucus Travel Grant Award
National Communication Association Advancing the Discipline Grant, Awarded to organize and host the 2016 NOW Retreat
Competitive Travel Award, Southeastern Women's Studies Association
2015 Surveillance Studies Centre Summer Seminar Competitive Tuition Grant Award, Queens University
Competitive Travel Award, Graduate and Professional Student Federation, UNC-Chapel Hill
2014Conference Travel Grant, Department of Communication Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill
National Communication Association Mentor Fund Grant Recipient, University of South Florida
2013Recipient of the Elias J. Nader and Vivian Zrake Nader Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Communication Award, University of South Florida
Conference Travel Grant, Graduate Student Association, University of South Florida
Conference Travel Grant, Graduate Student Association, University of South Florida
Conference Travel Grant, Graduate Student Association, University of South Florida
2010Virginia Commonwealth Grant Award, Christopher Newport University
The William & Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education
2015 - Present, Introduction to Interpersonal/Organizational Communication (Self-paced Correspondence Course)
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2016 - Spring, 2017 - Introduction to Media History, Theory, and Criticism
Fall, 2015 - Introduction to Media History, Theory, and Criticism (assist)
Summer, 2015 - Introduction to Interpersonal/Organizational Communication
Spring, 2015 - Principles of Public Speaking
Fall, 2014 - Introduction to Interpersonal/Organizational Communication; Principles of Public Speaking (Assist)
University of South Florida, Tampa FL
2012 - 2013, Principles of Public Speaking
2011 - 2012, Communication and Cultural Diversity