Welcome to my website. I am a college English professor and a mystery and childrens fiction writer.
This September will be my third(!) year as Assistant Professor of English and Director of Technical and Professional Communication at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York. Much changes in the transition from adjunct work to full-time, and it's taken a year to really settle in.
Over the last year, I have honed my research into using video games as literature. It started as a desire to incorporate the experience from my old career as a video games journalist. I found students enjoyed discussing games (big surprise, I know) but was also shocked by the complexity of their dissection of the narrative in these games. Inspired by this, I kept at the research, finding ways to bring games to the classroom, games that have the narrative depth of literature already in the canon. It worked.
Since I started full-time at NYIT, I have published an article on using video games in the composition classroom, one outlining how fighting games from the 1990s can inspire the imagination and investigation of narrative, and a research piece on virtual reality helping students better understand sense of place in their writing. I am now working on an Augmented Reality app that will make any classroom more interactive and enable students to learn at their own pace. I will be presenting my work on augmented reality at the PAMLA conference this year in Bellingham, WA.
My teaching interests lie in first-year composition, in introducing students to college writing and finding creative ways to make such courses engaging, and technical writing, as I have discovered these courses attract students of all backgrounds. I didn't like boring classes when I went to school, so I attempt to prevent my students from suffering the same in my classroom. Technology and its impact on our scoiety as well as the teaching of writing intrigues me, and I spend much of my research time devoted to exploring its uses. I have found, for instance, a direct correlation between the use of technological aids in the classroom and improved student writing, particularly for international students and second-language learners. I have written a paper on using virtual reality (VR) to help students experience and better understand sense of place in writing. It will be published in Computers and Composition later this year. You can see some of my other papers over at Academia.edu They range from using smartphones as writing devices to video games as literature and strategies to make writing more accessible to all students.
I find teaching writing helps students across their college careers and life. Formulating an argument or just finding a way to say what we want/think effectively improves all areas of our lives. A quick look around social media can easily illustrate how more of us could use some help here. Students know how to engage, and most merely need a better focus on how to do that more effectively.That's what I bring to the classroom: writing instruction with real-world implications that students can relate to. They work on the skills they will need in their careers while in my classroom. The days of using pen and paper are almost behind us, so I shift the emphasis to the media we all interface with daily. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of digital and social media are incorporated into my classes, and students respond positively to their use in writing instruction. Maybe I am helping improve the Twitter-verse one class at a time. That would be a good start.
My other passion is the late works of Eugene O'Neill and the application of these plays into composition pedagogy. Research for my dissertation has led to several other avenues I continue to explore in my scholarly work. His plays are a bit underrepresented in the canon, and I think either Long Day's Journey Into Night or The Iceman Cometh can easily translate well into classroom discussion. Students engage easily with the themes of these two plays, and can move laterally to both real life as well as other, more canonical drama and literature. Laconics, the Eugene O'Neill newsletter, has published my article, The Tragedy of the Train Wrecks, which offers a way to connect The Iceman Cometh and reality television. It's a fun piece that shows how to bring current media and older drama together.
I write murder mysteries and childrens fantasy books and always look to incorporate my experiences writing in these and other genres into my pedagogy. I believe an intersection lies between creative writing and composition, and try to use this tool to make my classes more interactive. There still should be a strong distinction between the two, but I've found some overlapping really helps students put words on the page. With the addition of using mobile technology to have students writing anywhere and everywhere, I've seen a tremendous increase in student productivity. One habit I have is to show students my early drafts, so they can see that writing, even a big project like a novel, does not involve some magical process or comes from only natural talent. I let them see my imperfections so they can realize theirs differ little. They grasp the writing process a little better after I do this.
If you've come looking for my book series, you can head to this page, or click the book tab above that can give you a small sample of my writing.
Please feel free to have a look around. I'll be adding new things from time to time, and hope you enjoy your stay. You can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org