Teaching Portfolio

Teaching Philosophy

I have always loved to teach. As a child, I wanted to share the strategies I found to make things easier for the people around me. In my own journey as a learner, my best experiences where about personal connections with the content. My experience as a learner established one of my core beliefs - teaching is about meeting people in their own context.

These formative experiences of meeting people in their own context guided me towards Vygotsky and constructivism. In this approach, the teacher acts as a mentor to help guide learners into skill development. This happens in the zone of proximal development, which uses scaffolding to help learners navigate through difficult areas. With the help of the teacher, or more knowledgeable other, learners can move beyond their current skill level and understand new concepts in real time with effective supports. This safety to fail and explore is critical, allowing learners to go beyond what they would be able to achieve on their own.

My teaching background is interdisciplinary. This means that clarity and concise explanations of abstract ideas are favored over insider knowledge and domain specific learning. I believe this clarity establishes the bridge necessary to help learners move from novice to expert. In my dissertation research, I examined this journey for how a learner transitions from novice to expert. I believe this journey is central for successful students. My role as a teacher is to help them develop frameworks or schemas for understanding based on their own experiences and own contexts.

Effective learning opportunities are possible through lived experiences. Learners should be empowered to understand both the concepts and the use cases. I am committed to making course content as close to the real experience as possible. Where appropriate, I have used requests for proposals, case studies, collaborative projects, and conference style presentation formats to simulate a real world environment. I have found that when adult learners are provided with compelling content and course work, they often exceed their expected results.

Education should empower us to develop and share our individual expertise in new and interesting ways. I believe that education should show us how to think rather than what to think. We should meet learners within their own cultural context. We need to accept and embrace their cultural experiences and their personal identities, encouraging students to draw on their strengths and build their learning into their own personal context. It is important for learners to feel safe, accepted, and celebrated for their unique perspectives and experiences.

Using new and novel approaches to exploratory learning is an important part of my teaching philosophy. I believe the classroom should be using the best platforms possible and delivering content in as many ways as possible. I use open source tools wherever possible and share my course content with my learners and with fellow instructors. I believe that sharing resources both internally and externally is critical for effective teaching. In my own teaching, I use games, play, prototyping, collaborative software, online communication platforms, and iterative design to encourage exploratory learning.

Creating meaningful learning experiences is an ongoing process. I continue to learn as I teach. I have learned to always trust the process.

Courses Taught

Teaching Assistant Experience

Education Technology

Refereed Publications in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Refereed Presentations in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Guest Lectures

Student Testimonials

  1. "I took an excellent summer course with you in 2015 on games in humanities classrooms. That experience still enriches my teaching -- to the point that I'm offering a new course on games here." - DHSI participant
  2. "Matt Bouchard and Andy Keenan, the fearless leaders and diabolical geniuses behind our Games for Digital Humanists course at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute 2014 at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.Matt and Andy dreamt up both the course and the game design exercise that let us formulate Reunion in the first place. We (quite literally) couldn't have done it without them. (It didn't hurt that they were fantastic teachers and teaching a fantastic course, either.) So really, what we're saying is that this is kind of their fault. The entire class of Games for Digital Humanities (shout out, #GamesDH!), for their creative input, lively discussions, and general excellence as people to hang out with. The encouragement and creative atmosphere really made the difference. (And they didn't even really judge us all that much for being such obviously sick people. What does that say about them?)" - DHSI participants, creators of The Reunion: A Storytelling card game
  3. "Outstanding mix of theory and hands-on experience. Well structured. Gets students designing games and practicing iterative development right away and with a minimum of fuss and near microscopic levels of muss. Offered useful practical device about developing games, seeking grants, etc." - DHSI Participant
  4. "Even as someone with a background in games and game/design theory, I found an incredible amount of new information in this course, and Matt and Andy tied it all together with a great command of their material and a very well-chosen set of example games to help anchor the theory in practical examples. From conversations with the other participants in the class, everyone in the class seemed to understand the material and find it incredibly useful, and everyone has had only the strongest praise for Matt and Andy both as instructors." - DHSI Participant
  5. "Matt and Andy were both extremely knowledgeable about their topics and were able to effectively, clearly, and passionately present information. They both showed genuine interest in the conversations and lectures and demonstrated honest love of their subjects. The course was open enough to allow for incredible flexibility within the individual conversations but structured enough to have obvious direction. It was casual which allowed there to be an amazing about of flow between participants coming from different backgrounds. We were able to laugh about our differences as well as collaborate on shared experiences. Even as someone with no experience with games, I was able to learn an incredible amount, both from Matt and Andy and from the other group members." - DHSI Participant
  6. "Matt and Andy are a phenomenal team - the entire course and their leadership through it is exemplary. The most amazing thing - and I can only say that in hindsight, is that the course is modeled on the topic of the workshop: their class is a perfect game! The incentives are right, the learning happens intuitively, we are given the opportunity to explore, fail, learn, improve. And at the end of the class/game, everyone wins!" - DHSI Participant
  7. "Both instructors are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about this topic. Playing a variety of games and then critically discussing as a group was valuable. I liked having "game studies" as well as "game design" separated as two different areas of study. I am inspired to read more on gameplay studies and play more games!"" - DHSI Participant
  8. "Without question, Matt and Andy constituted the strengths of the course. They are exceptional instructors, well-matched intellectually and professionally as team-teachers, and they deftly handled the course material and discussions that arose over the course of the workshop." - DHSI Participant
  9. "I am deeply impressed with the intellectual scope and breadth that Matt and Andy possess, and their ability to effectively communicate a complex topic to a diverse class (ranging from new to seasoned gamers). They also brought their own professional and personal experiences to bear upon the subjects covered, especially useful were their discussion about project management and interpersonal communication in project scenarios (success and failure stories). They are talented teachers." - DHSI Participant
  10. "This was an amazing course! Andy and Matt were very well prepared, and geared the course discussion appropriately to the level of expertise within the class. The class was a very good mix of theory, practical group exercises, discussion, and hands-on development work. I learned a great deal." - DHSI Participant