TEACHING & RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY
EXPLORING THE WORLD OF DIGITAL RHETORIC 
  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
      
An Interdependent Teaching and Research Philosophy in Digital Humanities

I perceive digital humanities/rhetoric an interdisciplinary field of research that helps us better understand, explore and use technologies with an aim to shed new light on humanities research. My work in the area of computer-assisted language learning and technical communication for physical procedures, including technical visual rhetoric supports the teaching and research at the intersection of the disciplines of computing and humanities.

My research in technical communication and usability, including the exploration of the cultural and critical significance of tools and methods in the context of design, brings a different perspective to my teaching of writing in collaborative learning environments. My current position at the Univ. of Aizu has made it possible for me to teach in a technical environment and combine the social aspects of technology in a multi-disciplinary context. My students learn about different collaborative interfaces through the coordinated use of Moodle, open-source content authoring with Google Drive, Sites, WordPress, content editing software such as WhiteSmoke, concept mapping tools (e.g., IHMC software, mind maps for brainstorming), and publishing platforms such as slideshare.net and Dropbox. My teaching follows both continuous and formative assessment models. I am primarily interested in a writing classroom where the students explore technology, learn to understand its scope in a social environment, engage in interdisciplinary thinking and use technology to collaborate in communicative activities.

I have structured multiple undergraduate and graduate courses in information design, technical writing, composition, business writing, and human communications and bring an analytical approach to the teaching of writing. My writing and communication-based courses incorporate Moodle-based quizzes (along with Hot Potatoes, FLAX and the like), conditional activities, forum submissions, analysis of content published in How Stuff Works, eHow, WikiHow, and electronic coaching systems, to name a few. The students’ writing production is based on iterative processes, prototyping, storyboarding, content- specific technical rubrics, design templates, and style guides, which draw upon formative assessment techniques, thereby encouraging self-learning and evaluation. My English courses allow students to post speaking and presentation assignments as YouTube videos and to organize team-based discussion/debate sessions in traditional and Skype environments. My language courses are generally packaged in different genres of writing and contextual inquiry involving structural, functional, conditional, demonstrative, procedural, persuasive, and relational applications for different communicative situations.

As part of my Japanese Ministry of Education research grant (similar to NSF funding), I use technologies such as CAD Design, 3D printing, and 3D scanning to make students participate in in-class collaborative additive manufacturing processes in a flipped classroom model, and rethink what "the humanities" is all about. I work with students in groups to write collaboratively about the exploration leading to the development of concept maps, prototyping, and design of daily-life objects, structural, functional and usability analysis and communicate about the research through different qualitative and quantitative instruments.

I teach different writing courses on topics of information design, LEGO prototyping, and design for the World Wide Web and eLearning. My innovative 3D printing course implements a workflow of team-oriented in-class production of tiny amulets and mascots for computer science students. In an English language classroom, this results in narrative digital storytelling (DST) documentaries of 3D-designed and printed products. Currently, a 3D printing-design laboratory is being set up and design procedures studied. In year 2, students will develop product design using CAD software, write about it extensively and 3D scan/print tiny amulets. In year 3, DST will be implemented in elective courses.

I teach a variety of writing courses focusing on different genres of information design and interaction design. The in-class processes promote active language learning situations to meet the educational needs of students as follows:
- establishment of a collaborative manufacturing, design analysis, 3D printing and DST English context in a micro-factory scenario,
- promotion of technical writing and oral presentation skills to develop international skills,
- group workflow activities for integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning,
- developing a production workflow for design and manufacturing (e.g., 3D printing) and DST requirements,
- incremental sequencing of tasks and/or skills (instructional and document design), and
- fostering student individual and group responsibility in their learning.

My research on digital procedural rhetoric and related courseware focus on the mechanism how of humans interact with different artifacts and how such interaction shapes and modifies both digital and human identity. The study of interaction design is very central to my teaching and research.

An inclusive and interdisciplinary approach in the use of technology and analysis helps me collaborate with people across disciplines and backgrounds to explore innovations in academia. I am always willing to experiment with new pedagogies and research approaches made possible by new technologies. Currently, as part of a class-based procedural writing project in technical genres, my students are using different kinds of 3D scanners fitted to iPads to learn about geometric shapes of physical LEGO objects, understand the logistics involved with scanning procedures, and develop a procedural technical writing genre based on process analysis, including configurations, shapes analysis, logistics in setting up of experiments, object design prototyping, distance and rotation studies, troubleshooting etc.

I am very much in favor of a do it yourself (DIY) approach in an open-source environment to creating the tools and technologies we need for my teaching and research. Further, I use technologies in a way that disregards traditional boundaries between disciplines and hierarchies. Some of my future teaching initiatives in technical writing would include pedagogical innovations in procedural writing and design through the development of LEGO Mindstorms-based robot building initiatives in multicultural student groups.