At the request of my advisor and department, i took over his undergraduate class last week – “Foundations of New Media” (co-taught with another professor). I always knew that i wanted to teach and i absolutely love undergrads but this wasn’t quite how i envisioned myself beginning this process.
So, i spent a chunk of time last week trying to catch up on where the class was. I had only read a fraction of the actual texts before (mostly for fun when i was at MIT). Thus, i had to do a lot of catch-up. Luckily, i found that i was familiar with 95% of the concepts and that many of the texts were just overviews of things that i knew and loved – gotta love Open University textbooks.
I prepared lecture slides and gave my first lecture on Thursday. It was almost stunning how much i remembered about teaching. My years of teaching computer science at Brown paid off and it was fun to be in front of the classroom, particularly since some of the students were already accustomed to speaking up. We talked about culture, ethnography, bias, interpretation, etc. They had just come back from their first effort at interviewing (in preparation for doing truly user centered design).
And now i’m off and running, preparing assignments, grading and trying to figure out how to narrow down the gravity force field of a course reader to something manageable (since it’s kinda clear that the students aren’t actually reading the material since it’s far far far too much). The course is both completely in place and still at flux – a foundation i can work with but also changes that i can make. And conveniently, i’m not entirely on my own – there’s another professor and two TAs, all of whom rock.
As odd as this all is, it’s going to be a great learning experiment (although it will kill my time in unprecedented ways). This is certainly a trip of a way to start professing. One day, it will be real.
[Unfortunately, though, my brain is chewing on things like Foucault and Saussure instead of blogging and email so i don’t know when i’ll be back to dialogue again.]