I teach courses listed under Visual and Media Studies with Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and in Information Science + Information Studies (ISIS), an interdisciplinary Certificate program and research center. At the core of my teaching is engagement with digital media forms and their affordances, in theory and in practice, with special attention to spatial and database driven forms. As a literary Victorianist by training, I am also deeply interested in the genealogy of “new” media forms and their historical effects, and how those inheritances impact our current information and media landscape.

Most of my courses combine a critical/historical/theoretical component with hands-on digital project work. I also promote a “lab” model of digital media authorship, where individuals contribute to collaborative work as well as their own individual efforts. Sometimes those collaborations extend well beyond a single course or semester (see my Projects links for examples.)

  • Spring 2018 Teaching

    In Spring 2018 I will be teaching two classes. The Information Science + Studies Capstone, the culminating course of the ISS Certificate is always one of my favorites because we usually do a group project on a topic of shared interest amongst the students.App projects are often popular; I look forward to seeing what we come up with this time around!

    I’ll also be co-teaching Digital Durham with my longtime collaborator, Trudi Abel, who leads the Archvies Alive initiative in Rubenstein Library.. This course is cross-listed in ISS/VMS/HISTORY/EDUCATION and counts as an ISS elective, as well as a VMS elective. We are busy working with our Bass Connections team this Fall to explore new content to integrate into the class, and working closely with Trinity Technology Services and the Library’s Data and Visualization Services to update our infrastructure for the existing Digital Durham website.  We also hope to connect with many of the other Durham-themed projects going on around campus and create a portal site to facilitate future collaborations. The course itself will focus on a key period in Durham history – the late 19th to mid-20th-century period industrialization, education, and shifting race relations. We also hope to tie in some of our work on NC Jukebox as it relates specifically to the Durham context. Our work preparing for the two summer institutes, on 3D Geospatial Networks, and on Virtual and Augmented Reality for the Humanities, should also find its way into this work, giving students lots of opportunities to explore how new technologies transform our abilities to to do research, teach, and invoke the presence of the past in contemporary lived experience.

  • Fall 2017 Teaching

    This Fall I’m teaching two courses. The first, Foundations of Web-Based Multimedia Communications, a core offering in the Information Science + Studies Certificate,  is a lecture-section course targeted at students interested in learning HTML/CSS/JS from scratch. Students will acquire the building blocks to code their own site, and then finish up with final projects of their own designs. I have a talented team of graduate students from the Computational Media, Arts & Cultures MA and PhD Programs as well as the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts. Last time I taught the course was as a seminar in Venice, so it is an interesting challenge to reconceive it as a large lecture class. Fortunately I’m building upon the work my colleagues have done in earlier semesters to explore those possibilities.

    The other course is the Proseminar for the MA in Digital Art History/Computational Media. I’m teaching with teh assitance of Hannah Jacobs, Multimedia Analyst for the Wired Lab, and will be inviting in guests from the various Media Labs in Smith Warehouse. We look forward to exploring a wide range of DH and Comp Media topics together.

    In addition to my courses, I’ll be meeting with my collaborator Trudi Abel and others on our Bass Connections Digital Durham: Past, Present Future team regularly to make progress on organizing our primary source materials for exhibition projects and a website revamp, as well as with the new crop of fellows in the PhD Lab for Digital Knowledge at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, which I direct with Phil Stern in History. We have 15 Fellows joining us this year!

  • Fall 2016: Course Descriptions at Venice International University

    Fall courses at VIU begin on Monday! My course descriptions are listed on the VIU website:

    Both courses are hands-on, seminar-sized, lab-based courses where the final projects will be related to digital cultural heritage topics. Venice itself is such a complex place and I look forward to seeing how the students engage with it in relation to digital media forms. In “Digital Storytelling” students will have the option of doing their final projects in Italian if they are also enrolled in the Intermediate Italian course – I am coordinating with the instructor on this.

    They are also both Information Science + Studies courses back at Duke and count towards the ISS undergraduate Certificate there.

  • Fall 2016 Teaching

    sanservol1In Fall 2016 I will be teaching two courses at Venice International University, through their Globalization Program. I’ve returned to VIU for the last five years co-teaching the Visualizing Venice summer workshops, and also taught at VIU in Fall 2013, so this is a welcome return.I’m very much looking forward to meeting my new colleagues and students!

    Both courses, Digital Storytelling, and Web-Based Multimedia Communications, are Information Science+Studies/Visual and Media Studies courses at Duke that I will be adapting to the Venetian context. The courses are listed as part of viu-logothe Cultural Heritage Track at VIU, and students will be doing hands-on digital projects related to the heritage of Venice as part of both. We’ll be in VIU’s lovely Mac Lab, which was modeled on the Wired Lab back home. While I’m at VIU I’ll also be developing a book project on augmented reality and cultural heritage, as well as continuing to work on Visualizing Venice digital projects, with which I hope to involve Duke students upon my return. ( I also expect to drop in virtually to the NC Jukebox project, Wired, the PhD Lab etc.at Duke periodically.)

  • Teaching: Spring 2017

    In Spring 2017 I will be teaching two Capstones – for the Visual and Media Studies Major in Art, Art History & Visual Studies and for the Information Science + Studies Certificate Program. Both courses will meet concurrently, with two sections total.

    I will also be consulting on the NC Jukebox course, which will be offered through the History Department with cross-lists in Information Science + Studies and Music.

    In addition, I will be participating as a facilitator in the FHI the PhD Lab Fellows seminar.

  • Spring 2016 Teaching

    I will not be teaching courses in Spring 2016 as I will be on leave working on augmented reality research projects and reading upon the latest theories and possibilities for augmenting the public presence of the humanities through digital cultural heritage application development. In addition, I will continue to develop the Bass Connections NC Jukebox project with our team of faculty/staff/students/partners, as well as explore alternatives to Metaio, and work on plans for the Visualizing Venice Ghetto and Duke/Durham Ghosts mobile applications. I’ll also continue to develop the Digital Humanities Initiative at FHI and co-direct the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge.

  • Summer 2016 Visualizing Venice Workshop

    In Summer 2016 I’m very pleased to be co-teaching the Visualizing Venice summer workshops again. This year’s theme will be the 500th Anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice. I’ll be working on some Venice AR projects in Spring 2016 in anticipation of the workshop, as well as developing the curriculum with our team in the Wired Lab and in Venice. Last year we had a fabulous, international cohort of participants for the highly competitive workshop. Hoping for the same again this year.  Updates at http://dukewired.org on applications etc.

  • Fall 2015 Teaching

    In Fall 2015 I am teaching two classes:

    HCVIS 580S/ISIS 580S/VMS 580S: Historical and Cultural Visualization Promseminar 1

    This course is the first semester proseminar for the Wired MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization. The whole course is basically about the idea of data in the humanities, and about how “digital humanities” can become multimodal. We start out with some HTML and CSS, move on to archives and metadata, turn to basic data viz, and then get into historical GIS and digital mapping tools. We try to emphasize tools that are accessible for teaching as well as research, and methods that are reproducible on a budget. The best part of the class is when everyone fully appreciates how much of a critical and structural point of view is embedded in our “tools” and how inseparable those considerations are.

    Overview | Historical and Cultural Visualization Proseminar 1



    HISTORY 390S/ISIS 390S/: Topics in Digital History/Digital Humanities: NC Jukebox 

    This is a Bass Connections Information, Society, and Culture and Rubenstein Archives Alive  course. NC Jukebox is focused on taking the Frank Clyde Brown collection of 1930s songcatcher recordings from Western NC and making them available to the public. The course is about researching the singers and songs, thinking about how we construct cultural histories, how we create multimodal physical and virtual exhibitions and archives, and the ethics and legalities involved in all of it. We are developing a public online archive, a physical exhibit for the Rubenstein Library to open in Summer 2016, and another exhibit to set up in the Mountain Music Museum of Western NC. The project will continue as a group research effort in Spring 2016 and hopefully beyond.


  • Spring 2015 Teaching

    In Spring 2015 I am teaching two courses:

    ISIS 495S: Information Science + Information Studies Research Capstone, where we create a group project together. The Spring project is Durham Stories, a website and AR app hosted in Layar.


    ISIS 268/VMS 266 Media History: Old and New. This is one of my favorite courses to teach because it looks at historic communications and informational media forms in light of their cultural “newness” as a lead-in to understanding the contemporary digital media landscape. We also discover a lot of past roads not taken that are fruitful for further development today.mediahistory__banner


  • Fall 2014 Teaching

    This Fall I’m teaching two fun courses. The first, “Digital Cities and the Cartographic Imagination,” is something I taught last year in Venice. It feels rich and luxurious to have all these local resources at our disposal to make Durham our “lab” once again for the hands-on bits. Venice is fantastic, but so is having direct access to Rubenstein’s archival materials, and my terrific colleagues in the Data and Visualization Services lab as we work through the details. Also very nice to have access to my personal library again too as I tweak the readings.

    That is even more true for my new adventure – teaching Proseminar 1 for our new Wired! Lab MA in Historical and Cultural Visualization! This course is very hands-on, and we’ll be using “live” datasets from Durham, Venice, other Wired! Lab projects, and I hope the students themselves. This all-grad course has a mix of MA students and people from various other humanities disciplines, so I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with together this semester…including those magic AR books and buildings I was so excited about in the Spring.