I appreciate reading all your introductions. It’s good to get to know something about the people you’re taking a class with. People will often say that an online class can be a little impersonal. And I’m sure it can, but so can a lecture hall. Neither have to be that way. Like many conventional English classes, this one will succeed or fail upon our ability to engage in conversation with one another, so I hope that you will get involved.
As you already know, I am a professor in the English department at UB. I’ve been here for 4 years, but I taught at a few other places before coming here: Georgia Tech, Penn State, and SUNY Cortland. I am a rhetorician, which means I don’t really study literature. I suppose you could say that rhetoric is the philosophical/humanistic study of communication. My particular area of study is digital rhetoric, which means I investigate the role of digital media and technology in communication. You can check out my blog if you want to know more about that. I am also the director of the university’s first-year writing program. With those heavy administrative duties, I don’t have the opportunity to teach undergraduates during the regular academic year, so I am glad to have this chance to work with you during the summer.
Outside of work, I’m a fairly ordinary suburban dad, married with two kids and a dog. I spend a good part of my summer driving my son (Jameson, 12) and daughter (Mirabel, 13) to soccer practices, games, and tournaments (because of this last one, I may not always respond to emails quickly on the weekends). Much of my experience with video games comes through my kids. We have an Xbox. The main games we have recently been playing (last year or so) are Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock Infinite, Defiance, Halo, Mass Effect, and FIFA Soccer. My kids are also very avid Minecraft players. I just set up a Minecraft server for them last week. Of course, I should also count iPhone games: Angry Birds (of course), JetPack, Scribblenauts, and Water seem to be the current favorites in my house.
I’m in my 40s, so I grew up with the early Atari games: Pong, Space Invaders, Adventure, etc. I played Pac Man, Pole Position, Frogger, Joust, and all those in arcades and smoky bowling alleys. I didn’t pay much attention to video games in the late 80s or early 90s but then became interested in PC gaming: Wolfenstein, Doom, Civilization, Bauldur’s Gate. As I already said, in the last 10 years it’s been mostly in relation to our kids. We had a Playstation 2, a Wii, and Nintendo DS for a while so we went through many of the typical games: Pokemon, Mario Brothers, etc. I’d have to say my favorite games I’ve played in the last couple years are Skyrim, Dishonored, and Assassin’s Creed, though I also like playing FIFA Soccer.