[It goes without saying that I’m a nerd]

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Department of Communication. My work focuses on access and advocacy in digitally mediated spaces. My work intersects with areas of information access, digital literacy, security, public policy, and digital culture. I recently completed a study of students’ learning outcomes using Wikipedia based assignments with Wiki Education Foundation (The research report is available under “Work”). Previously I worked as a Research Fellow at the National Institute for Digital Government, and as a visiting instructor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst for the University Without Walls. I am also a founder and Editor of the “platinum” Open Access (OA) journal communication +1.

I earned my PhD from the Department of Communication at the University of Massachusetts, focusing on new media collaboration, cultural production, and policy. My BS and MA are from Arizona State University, focusing on communication, critical cultural studies, and advocacy.

I am interested in questions related to how technological mediation structures cultural production. I believe strongly in the importance of embodied practice and my scholarly interests around collaborative communities bridges the theoretical and the practical. My range of digital media interests run the technological gamut from gaming studies, to surveillance, to digital culture, information policy, data-representations, and emerging media trends. My work brings together a core thread around engaged, community-based and transformative practices in the digital age, focusing on questions of access and agency.  (More information in the “research” page)

My research methods are mixed because different questions require different approaches (and some also need better questions). I have experience with quantitative surveys, participatory and observation-only ethnography, interviews, focus groups, platform (architecture and software) analysis, policy analysis, and textual analysis (in a variety of forms). No matter what the research method, I believe that a proper understanding and theoretical basis is paramount to good research, which is why much of my work has been in search of “better questions.”

I believe that information should be free (as in freedom) and actively work to encourage Open Access. I have worked on a variety of projects to support this mission, from teaching with Wikipedia, to hosting edit-athons for Open Access Week, to founding the above-mentioned journal, which utilizes a share-alike license and is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

I am committed to social justice in and outside of my classroom. Teaching with Wikipedia is part of this, helping to counter systemic biases on Wikipedia, as well as I try to incorporate methods that push students to engage with new ways of thinking utilizing digital media. I am also committed to interdisciplinary collaboration, as I find the intersection of disciplines to be a fruitful place for pushing these boundaries in productive ways.

I have a diverse background of employment that try to connect to students’ questions and prospects. In my “previous life” I have over ten years of experience in graphic design, strategic business planning, and marketing management in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction Management industry. I have experience as an instructional designer for online, in person, and mixed college courses.  I also have worked in radio, magazine publishing, concert promotion, and as the opinion editor for my college paper.