TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Art professors should have an extensive historical knowledge of the area in question, provide rigorous technical training, and be expert listeners. Instructors equipped with these skills can help students acquire the necessary tools to effectively address issues of personal import. To continually improve my teaching efficacy, I emphasize one-on-one tutoring while also transforming the studio environment into a collaborative laboratory of dialog, questioning, and experimentation. I carefully underline that a student’s finished projects are a type of intellectual collaboration between the student, fellow classmates, and the instructor.

 

Students in my courses develop a broad knowledge of an artistic discipline, obtaining the required practical and conceptual skills to rigorously investigate assigned topics. It is crucial to make clear the learning outcomes and objectives students should attain with each passing project. To meet the evolving needs of students, I consistently revise my courses and design new projects for them, for this allows me to adapt and grow alongside the students I am striving to mentor. I assume a demeanor of open-mindedness in recognition of the inevitability of change within the field of art and the significance of presenting ideas anew, but also to highlight the importance of demonstrating respect for others, regardless of creed, race, or sexual orientation.

 

In Digital Video Art courses, my in-class instruction stresses historical and contemporary understandings of the moving image with an emphasis on common themes and principles. Course projects require all students, for a specifically defined area, to go beyond a general conceptual level of detail to a prowess of conceptualization and execution which approaches experts in the contemporary field. To assist students in attaining such levels of rigor, I use several teaching strategies to engage various student learning aptitudes. Chief among these strategies are carefully planned lectures accompanied by PowerPoint presentations that I distribute to students for future contemplation. I buttress meticulous demonstration of software and video equipment with assignment handouts and blog posts for linguistic learners. I introduce students to critical writing on the moving image and screen the works of filmmakers of the early 20th century, post-WWII period, and key postmodern filmmakers and contemporary video artists. During studio production, students hone their cinematographic and digital video editing abilities through hands-on practice, repetition, and experimentation. After post-production, students are encouraged to speak directly about their experiences in the creative process and to offer critical feedback to fellow classmates during studio critiques. I underscore that students learn best from reflecting upon experience and by hearing the observations of others.

 

In recent years, I have developed an experimental video curriculum around remix video production, emphasizing its power as a viral medium at a time when global culture focuses on immediacy and communication systems based on digital repurposing. Topics include transformative storytelling, the supercut remix, parody music video, brand identity correction, and the documentary / video essay. I detail the nuances involved in the fair use doctrine within the US copyright code, which enables contemporary artists to speak directly to culture with pre-existing audiovisual materials, in the very literal sense of Marshall McLuhan's, "The Medium is the Message." After experiencing these concepts and strategies, students have a deeper sense of how narratives operate, can categorize types of moving images, and can represent their worlds within a chosen system of moving sequences.

 

One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching is witnessing student progression through introductory assignments into advanced efforts of personal inquiry. Several of my students have screened work in professional festivals, both nationally and internationally, while others opt to engage social media with video projects that garner viral attention. It was the most exciting moment of my teaching career when a former student returned to campus and offered thanks for the rigorous instruction I provided in a Digital Video class at Reedley College in Central California. The student originally hailed from a lower-income family, but in putting to use the instruction I provided was able to produce a video that got viewed over 100 million times on YouTube. The advertising revenue earned from this single upload provided the funding necessary to cover the remainder of his educational career.