Curriculum Design

This page hosts  materials and related resources from my modules/courses whose entire content was designed around student-centred and collaborative learning techniques. Many of the tools and methods I used were developed and borrowed from social justice movements, community organising, indigenous pedagogies and lifelong learning initiatives,  as well as from the culture industries and best practices in management. I’ve outlined and provided resources from the classes here for others to adopt, adapt and upgrade.


History of Youth Culture and Protest, Rutgers University, Spring 2013

NetsX screenshotFor this course I developed NetsX, a semester-long research project developed around gameful design principles to encourage peer-to-peer collaboration and engagement. The NetsX Project was developed with the primary objective to create a gameful pedagogy that would engage students in a collaborative, historical research that brought to life the connections and ‘networks of exchange’ that exist between people, innovations, and cultural objects as they move across time and place. The project was designed as a low-cost, highly iterable curriculum, that incorporated freely available online resources, namely Google Docs, WordPress, and Wikipedia.  Piloted for this undergraduate special topics course the class had 33 students in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years from across more than ten majors including History, Communications, Criminal Justice, Political Science, Biology and Theatre Arts. The NetsX project focused on youth protesters from 1955-1975. Showing how ideas can be both spontaneous and richly influenced, it sought to capture how young people’s actions have created social change, often mapping out new cultures and practices along the way.


Assignments and Assessment

Working Paper w/Alexander Feigenbaum: Experiments in Gameful Pedagogy: Collaborative Learning and the NetsX Project


New Media, Richmond, The American International University in London, Fall 2011

For my ‘New Media’ module taught in Autumn 2011 I created a term-length series of assignments called ‘The PodCase Project’ that combined investigative case study research with the creation of a podcast. For the project students worked in teams of four to five to devise a podcast episode that fit under the theme ‘Social Media and Dissent.’ In order to design and develop their podcasts, students had to present a pitch; use a wiki for research aggregation; design a programme proposal; and produce a podcast using only technology already available to them (mobile phones, laptops, freeware).

Course Syllabus

PodCase schedule scaffolding of the tasks and tech training required for the podcase project

All instructions and assignments, as well as additional resources, were put on our Podcase Project wiki. The students final Podcases are hosted on tumblr.

Presentation on ‘The Podcase Project’
Exploring Collaborative Learning In Media Studies Programmes
Winchester University 3 May 2012

Beginning Social Research, Richmond, The American International University in London, Spring 2010 & Spring 2011

For this course I implemented an experiment in ‘We-thinking the Classroom’ with my second year Beginning Social Research module. For the duration of the term students are broken down into specially allocated working groups and given weekly ‘missions’ to complete that build toward a final research project, portfolio and presentation. At each stage of the project students upload all materials and research findings online to share with their classmates. Individual students create and assemble ‘modular’ data elements, constructing their own specific investigation out of the collaborative work of their peers.

To design this module I drew from contemporary business books on cooperation, open-source, and team-building, as well as educational literature on free schools and cooperative learning.

Course Syllabus

Intro to Course Structure power point

Cultural Theory, Richmond, The American International University in London, Fall 2010 & Fall 2011

In this class students worked together as a whole group to produce content for and design a class magazine

(or what we called a ‘zine as it was a small budget and largely do-it-yourself production). The layout, content and design of the class zine were placed in students’ hands. Early in the term I ran short sessions on listening and giving peer feedback, editing and publishing a zine and making collective class decisions.  About mid-way through the term a number of different zines were brought into class as examples as together students discussed what they liked and didn’t like about the samples. I divided the course into two types of sessions. The first hour and twenty minute time slot in the week was devoted to student presentations and short lectures on the theories we were looking at that week. The second one hour and twenty minute slot later in the week was set aside for ‘Cultural Theory Workshops’, which provided creative prompts that shaped the materials students produced for the class zine.

SCL 321 cultural theory_syllabus FA 11


The Culture Jar – Class Zine 2010

We Are Different – Class Zine 2011

Cultural Resistance, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Winter 2008

In Winter 2008 I designed and ran an advanced seminar of 20 students on Cultural Resistance. Early in the term students were trained in the consensus decision making process which they then used together, as an entire class, both in and outside of the classroom, to design their final project. The aim of the project was to outline a detailed proposal for acts or events of cultural resistance that gave visibility and voice to a specific social justice campaign. The students selected to work on the issue of access to eduction and the de-corporatization of university space. They broke into smaller, self-run working groups that plotted a media strategy including blogs and newsletters, a stenciling and postering mission, a performative intervention in campus spaces and wrote a theme specific spoken word as part of their final presentation.

Course Syllabus

In-class Consensus Workshop

Direct Action self survey for students

We also used smartmeme’s resources to help develop our class campaign, as well as ideas from the trapese collective’s book Do It Yourself: A Handbook for Changing Our World.