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.
- Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada, Online. Canadian Language Bench Mark 1-4. NorQuest College. Winter 2020. (Course)
- Games for digital humanists. Digital Humanities Summer Institute. University of Victoria. Summer 2018, Summer 2017, Summer 2016, Summer 2015, Summer 2014, Summer 2013. (Workshop)
- Photovoice. International Institute for Qualitative Methodology. University of Alberta. June 2017, June 2016. (Workshop)
- Focus Groups. International Institute for Qualitative Methodology. University of Alberta. June 2017. (Workshop)
Teaching Assistant Experience
- Knowledge and Information in Society (INF 1001), 3 credits, graduate-level, with Dr. Sara Grimes, University of Toronto, Fall 2015.
- Information Practice in Virtual Worlds (CCT 395), 3 credits, undergraduate-level, with Dr. Rhonda McEwen, University of Toronto - Mississauga, Winter 2013.
- Information System, Service, and Design (INF 1003), 3 credits, graduate-level, with Dr. Kelly Lyons, University of Toronto, Fall 2013, Fall 2011.
- System Analysis and Process Innovation (INF 1341), 3 credits, graduate-level, with Dr. Pereklis Andritsos, University of Toronto, Fall 2012.
- Design and Implementation for WebSafe at NorQuest - Responsible for developing content for multiple platforms in the WebSafe course. This includes a public-facing web version, internal Moodle packages, and SCORM packages for external partners with different learning management systems.
- Planning and Infrastructure for WebSafe at NorQuest - Helped to make key platform and software decisions for the WebSafe project to meet the needs of all project stakeholders.
- H5P for Moodle at NorQuest - Worked with the Moodle advisory board, Education Technology consultant, and the IT department to install H5P on the NorQuest production server. This included testing, documentation, consultation with the vendor, prototyping, and advising instructors and administrators.
- AutoCRAT for LINC at NorQuest - Developed a system for automating assessment for LINC instructors. This workflow generated standardized Portfolio Based Language Assessment (PBLA) forms for students using Moodle spreadsheet data.
Refereed Publications in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- Dube, A. & Keenan, A. (2016). Are games a viable home numeracy practice? In B. Blevins-Knabe & A. B, Autin (Eds.). Early childhood mathematical skill development in the home environment (pp. 165-184). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
- Bouchard, M. & Keenan, A. (2016). From theory to experience to making to breaking: Iterative game design for digital humanists. In R. Lane, R. Siemens, & C. Crompton (Eds.). Doing Digital Humanities (pp. 328-340). Toronto: Routledge.
- Keenan, A. & Bouchard, M. (2015). Root of play - Game design for digital humanists. Syllabus. 4(1).
Refereed Presentations in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- Dube, A. & Keenan, A. (2016). Are games a viable home numeracy practice? Society for Research in Child Development - Special Topics Meeting on Technology and Media in Children's Development. Irvine, CA. October 27-30.
- Anderson, S., Bouchard, M., Keenan, A. & Levy, J. (2016). Meaningful play - new pedagogical
approaches to research in the humanities for undergraduate students. Canadian Society for Digital
Humanities and Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English.
Calgary, AB. May 30-June 1st.
- Keenan, A. & Grimes, S. (2013). Playing, exploring and failing... lots: An Examination of the
social shaping of messy learning and creative play in school-based Minecraft server. Society for
the Social Studies of Sciences. San Diego, CA. October 9-12th.
- Keenan, A. (2013). Student-lead research seminars: A case study in gaming pedagogy. Digital
Humanities Summer Institute Conference. Victoria, BC. June 6-10th.
- Keenan, A. (2013). A conceptual framework for peer learning in first-person shooters.
Canadian Game Studies Association. Victoria, BC. June 4-5th.
- Keenan, A. (2013). Learning in video games: Best practices from instructional levels in video
games. Canadian Society of Digital Humanities. Victoria, BC. June 3-5th.
- Keenan, A., Bouchard, M., Resch, G., & Danilovic, S. (2013). The future of serious games:
Embodied interaction in institutional informal learning environments. HASTAC 2013. Toronto,
ON. April 25-28th.
- Keenan, A. (2013). Learning to play: Suits’ lusory attitude and the barriers of video games.
Intersections / Cross-Sections 2013: Politics of Play. Toronto, ON. March 25th.
- Clark, M. & Keenan, A. (2010). A modified surgical safety checklist to enhance education and
learning in academic settings. Association of American Medical Colleges 2010. Washington, DC.
- Keenan, A, (2020). Deconstructing gamification for diverse learners. Professional Development Day for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada. NorQuest College, Edmonton, AB. March 6th.
- Keenan, A. (2015). Root of play - Introduction to iterative game design. Department of
Kinesiology. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. October 1st.
- Levy, J. & Keenan, A. (2015) Let's talk about digital history and the AHA's draft guidelines on
evaluating it. University of California. Riverside, CA. May 8th.
- Keenan, A. (2014). Games in the digital humanities. The History of video games and electronic
media. University of Victoria. Victoria, BC. June 7th.
- Keenan, A. (2013). Critical analysis of video games. Communication, Culture and Information
Technology 110 (Contemporary Communication Technology). University of Toronto - Mississauga.
Mississauga, ON. November 21st.
- Keenan, A. (2013). Feminist and queer approaches to game studies. UNI 346 (Feminist and Queer
Approaches to Technology). University of Toronto. Toronto, ON. October 16th.
- Keenan, A. (2012). Cheating as a design approach. Communication, Culture and Information
Technology 110 (Contemporary Communication Technology). University of Toronto - Mississauga.
Mississauga, ON. November 22nd.
- Keenan, A. (2010). Games in libraries. Library Futures. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB.
- Keenan, A. & Bouchard, M. (2009). Strategies for successful graduate students in humanities
computing. University of Alberta. Edmonton, AB. November 26th.
- Keenan, A. (2009). Rethinking Narrative in Video Games. Humanities Computing 616 (Multimedia in
the Humanities). University of Alberta: Edmonton. November 23rd.
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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
- "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