While at Cornell, I served as a teaching assistant for several classes. I was fortunate to serve as a TA for Professor Jeffrey Hancock (Fall 2009) and Professor Jeremy Birnholtz's (Fall 2010) course on Communication and Technology for two consecutive years. During my senior year, I was given the opportunity to develop and co-teach a class on Mobile Social Networks with my advisor Professor Geri Gay and Eric Baumer. These experiences crystallized my interest in teaching and using innovative technologies in the classroom. Below are descriptions of the classes.

Communication & Technology

Teaching Assistant to Jeff Hancock (Fall 2009, 2011) & Jeremy Birnholtz (Fall 2010)

Description: Introduces students to the Communication and Information Technologies focus area of the communication department and the Human Systems track for information science. It examines several approaches to understanding technology and its role in human behavior and society. Topics include psychological aspects of computer-mediated communication; how design plays a role in the way we interface with technology and collaborate with each other; and the ways in which communication technology is situated inside social and institutional structures and cultural formations.

Mobile Social Networks

Co-taught with Geri Gay & Eric Baumer (Spring 2011)

Description: This seminar will explore social influence and social support through mobile applications designed to improve health attitudes and health behaviors. Feature-rich mobile phones (such as the Google Android driven G1) are becoming far more common and readily accessible. These small, portable computing platforms provide numerous users with a host of different functions, including email, scheduling, storing contact information, way-finding, movement sensing (through accelerometers), photography, social networking, and many others. Not only can such features enhance the user experience of mobile technologies and grant developers new opportunities for interaction design, but they can also provide novel information and insights into users' behavior with these devices.

Throughout the semester we will discuss research that examines these novel opportunities, focusing on two specific areas. First, we will be concerned with practical, concrete design recommendations for mobile applications that use social network effects to support healthy choices. For example, happiness and other affective states are dynamically spread through social networks, and positive affect can be leveraged to motivate improvements in health, such as increased physical activity. What technology and social design features are most effective at facilitating the activity and spread of such affective and behavioral changes? How can mobile devices best employ context awareness to support healthy decisions and attitudes? Second, we will examine conceptual issues in the role that physical location and temporal rhythms play in the use of such technologies. Choices about health take place not only in the context of our social networks, but also at distinct places in physical space and at specific moments in time. How do time and location mediate our health-related social interactions? What general, broader insights can be derived from the novel data mobile devices provide about these interactions? How do users and developers of these technologies negotiate privacy in the context of these novel data? This seminar will discuss both conceptual, theoretical issues raised by these technologies, as well as practical issues involved in their design, implementation, and evaluation.

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