My ideal university class is a seminar in dialogue with historic artifacts such as artworks and rare books, or else a studio where the students are making something.
The first class I both designed and taught was Particularities of Print, a junior seminar in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University. That took place in the print room of the Fogg Museum, as did the methods and theory class that I taught in 2002.
Here’s a sampling of traditional, reading-intensive syllabi that I designed for undergraduate art history seminars at Stanford University in 2003-5. All of those classes were taught in museums and libraries, usually with historic artifacts (i.e. rare books and prints) on the table.
Recently my teaching has moved away from text-parsing in the direction of experiential learning. I moved towards a hands-on approach at Harvard University in the 2001, when I taught a freshman print seminar, and even a sophomore methods and theory seminar, with art works assembled in the study room of the Fogg Museum. At Stanford University (2003-5) I taught all of my classes in rare book and print rooms, and I put together an exhibition on early modern maps and views to ensure that students in a landscape history seminar always had original objects to hand.
In Ottawa I enjoyed helping curator David Pantalony with his workshops and seminars in the storerooms of the Canada Museum of Science and Technology, where the participants engaged intensively on little-known artifacts using the rigorous Winterthur Method of object analysis that he mastered with Richard Kremer. I learned a lot from Dave, and when I suggested that he post his student’s researches on Flickr he ran with it.
In 2013 and 2014 I taught master’s students at Carleton University’s Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism how to produce effective data visualizations integrating words, images and numbers. The 2013 projects, which grew out of my work for communications maven Edward R. Tufte, is described online at www.designincubator.info. In those seminars I vetted students’ project proposals, then helped them to communicate their ideas with maximum legibility and impact.
Twenty projects made by the 2013 class can be seen on my Design Incubator web site. I taught a more ambitious version of the class in Winter 2014, where students made maps, and produced some pretty remarkable web sites. Alas, they turned out to be more ephemeral than the previous year’s projects.
In Winter term of 2016 I was a digital humanities instructor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, in my capacity as Research Lead at the Hybrid Publishing Group. I worked with professors Lisa Pon and Beatriz Balanta on developing research tools for an interdisciplinary graduate seminar in the history and theory of communications. We tained the class in metadata basics and cataloging software, and I worked with select students on designing HyperImage interfaces for 19th and 20thC photo albums.