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Aisling's teaching approach is grounded in the tenets of constructionist learning, which posits that students should learn-by-doing in supportive social settings. She believes students flourish while working on personally meaningful projects that are socially and culturally relevant and truly seek to purposefully improve the human condition. She encourages her students to take ownership of their own educational mission by positioning their approach to course materials and ideas within the realm of their personal life experiences. In this way, students relate to and reflect upon class concepts in unique ways, which broadens the overall interpretation framework used to analyze and understand fundamental ideas.

teaching @ vt

In Fall 2016, she is teaching a new course on Critical and Cultural Computing for graduate students in Computer Science, as well as other students from departments across the university.

Critical Computing Course Description:

Why and how do people respond and react to the socio-technical implications of the vast array of computation, computing, and computers encountered in their everyday lives? How might we analyze and interpret the very human expression and/or manifestation of, for example, fear, opportunism, delight, innovation, belief, indifference, or reliance in the face of such developments? Through this hands on seminar, students will use a variety of theoretical and philosophical lenses to interrogate popular and academic readings in both historical and emerging areas of contemporary inquiry including software studies, feminist HCI, critical information visualization, the sharing economy, and media archaeology. In parallel, we will critically analyze a broad collection of design, art, architectural, engineering, and activist works that engage computation in technical, cultural, and provocative ways. Throughout the semester, students will work on embodying their own ideas and responses to the course content in physical and digital forms, culminating in an end of semester pop-up exhibition.

In Spring 2016, she taught the Creative Computing Studio capstone for Computer Science seniors.

Creative Computing Course Description:

This hybrid studio course incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to the study of complex media systems as technological, political, economic, socio-cultural and personal experiences. The primary focus of the class is the design, development, and analysis of Experiential Media Systems. Experiential media systems refer to “real time, physically grounded multimedia systems that enable human beings to acquire knowledge through interaction with a physical system”. Creating such systems requires input and knowledge from multiple disciplines including design, art, computer science, psychology, engineering and the social sciences. In addition to designing and creating systems as part of the studio experience, students will also explore the theory, methodology and history behind the development and interpretation of experiential media systems. Topics covered include media and communications theory, service design, cultural studies, qualitative and quantitative methodology, design principles, human-computer-interaction, information visualization and representation, and user studies and evaluation. During the course, students will create and critique a variety of integrated media systems demonstrating technical competence, aesthetic knowledge, analytic rigor and theoretical relevance. This class is open to junior and senior computer science majors, graduate students in computer science, and others majors and students (including those without the prerequisites) by permission of the instructor.