As an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I normally teach 5 classes each academic, usually 4 creative writing classes and 1 literature media studies class. Below are the descriptions and examples of the classes I teach most often.
ENGL 211/212: Intro to Creative Writing
My approach to teaching Intro to Creative Writing is designed to get students excited about the potential for using language in creative and unexpected ways. I incorporate a variety of language games adopted from artists like DaDa, the Surrealists, OuLiPo, Fluxus, and others, emphasizing playfulness and experimentation.
ENGL 386: Worldbuilding Workshop
This class follows the step-by-step process outlined in my book Collaborative Worldbuilding for Writers and Gamers and my Collaborative Worldbuilding card deck. Students work in small groups of 4-5 to first build a fictional world in the fantasy genre, and then mid-semester they form new groups and build a second world in the science fiction genre. The central idea running through the course is that worlds are naturally diverse, and that the social forces of governance, economics, social relations, and culturally influence that are at play in the world impact different people in different ways.
ENGL 543: Game-Based Fiction
This class is driven by a role-playing game, where each student creates a player-character who is the protagonist of their stories. The students play through role-playing sessions in the shared world for the class and then write fiction from the perspective of their character. Some of the class themes/games have included:
- Steampunk Rochester (Uber Steampunk RPG)
- Game of Thrones (The Song of Ice and Fire RPG)
- Star Wars (both the Star Wars RPG and Scum and Villainy RPG)
- Rocpocalypse/Post-apocalyptic Rochester (Apocalypse World RPG)
- Tales from Doskvol (Blades in the Dark)
- Mythrite (Dungeons & Dragons and a custom-written Forged in the Dark system)
- Munson, NY – the Most Haunted Square Mile in the U.S. (Vaesen RPG)
ENGL 377: Transmedia Storyworlds
This class considers large-scale fictional worlds whose stories unfold across different forms of media, including print fiction, film, television, games, comics and more. We consider the history of transmedia storyworlds and storyworld franchises, unique advantages and limitations of different storytelling media, marketing and commercial considerations, target audiences, and more.
So far the class has only focused on the Star Wars Galaxy but I will likely build a class around the works of J.R.R. Tolkien in the future.