Teaching Philosophy

I am a facilitator, not a teacher. I facilitate learning, discovery, growth, and exploration of new ideas. I am not a teacher because there is nothing that I can do to make students learn. I can only create a social space in which they feel ready to learn, feel open to discovering, feel safe enough to grow in their knowledge, and feel confident enough to explore.

I like taking things apart and putting them back together. I grew up doing this. There was nothing that I wouldn't dismantle so that I could learn about what was inside it, how it worked, and how I could modify it. My classroom ethos is very much informed by this lifelong hobby. I try to help students to not worry about breaking things and to focus on exploration instead.

The courses that I have taught all involve some aspect of deconstruction and reconstruction, whether it be behaviors, ideas, systems, interfaces, interaction patterns, or method.

Courses taught

Introduction to Research (LIS-S 506, IUPUI SoIC)

This course will serve as an introduction to evaluating, designing, and conducting empirical research in Library and Information Science. We cover the following areas through assigned readings and online discussions:

  1. Research ethics
  2. Epistemology
  3. Connecting theory to method
  4. Choosing data analysis and collection methods
  5. Scoping and designing a study
  6. Dealing with data
  7. An overview of empirical research methods that are commonly used in LIS.

The learning outcomes for this course are as follows:

  1. Evaluate research literature critically
  2. Assess the value of research by applying appropriate principles and methods
  3. Determine appropriate research methods to answer particular research questions
  4. Analyze data using qualitative and quantitative research methods
  5. Design a research project
  6. Communicate research results effectively

Most recent syllabus available here: https://soic.iupui.edu/syllabi/LIS-S506-Martin.pdf.

Human Information Interactions (INLS 500, UNC SILS)

This course is a broad survey of literature in information science which highlights social, cognitive, organizational, institutional, behavioral approaches for understanding and contextualizing interactions between people and information. The content of this course underlies much of an ILS curriculum because it introduces students to core concepts with implications for practice as information professionals. It also serves in part as a disciplinary onboarding course, in which students become oriented to the theory, methods, and epistemologies of information science.

Students completing this course will:

  1. become familiar with the empirical and theoretical literature related to information seeking, including the recognition of information needs, actions taken to resolve those needs, the roles of intermediaries (both human and machine), and the retrieval and use of information;
  2. understand key concepts related to the ways in which information is created, structured, disseminated and used, with particular emphasis on scholarly information behaviors;
  3. be able to investigate the ways in which the context of an information interaction can affect the process and outcomes of that interaction;
  4. be able to investigate information behaviors and practices, including the impact of technology on human information interactions; and
  5. critically apply theories and empirical findings to the definition and solution of problems related to human information interactions.

Most recent syllabus available here: http://inls500.johndmart.in/.

User Interface Design (INLS 718, UNC SILS)

The purpose of this course is to allow students to engage with the interfaces between human beings and information systems in a critical way. The course content covers a range of topics, organized around a few main principles design thinking, user experience, and design critique.

A key component of this class is critical discussion of principles of accessibility, collective action and social design, and social justice expressed through design. It is important in this day and age to consider that while no design can be universal because of the properties and biases embedded by designers, we should be aiming to create interfaces, interactions, and experiences that do not specifically marginialize people. In the spirit of this, a good portion of our design critique and readings on affordances will be oriented toward addressing structural inequalities embedded in the built world.

Work for the course centers on a single project on which the whole class will work, operating like a design and development team, rather than working on individual projects. Collaboration is one of the major organizing principles for this course.We are working with Triangle area entrepreneur and electrical engineer Erica Young on an interface project related to helping people better interact with GNU Radio, primary interface for use with software defined radio (SDR) boards.

Students self-organize into teams, based on skills and interests, that will be responsible for managing different aspects of the project. We aim to create a working prototype by the end of the semester. In doing this we learn about hard skills of design: coding, version control, prototyping, user testing, and rollout. More importantly we also learn the so-called soft-skills necessary for design: design thinking, project planning, workflow design/management, group decision-making, and collaboration.

Most recent syllabus available here: http://inls718.johndmart.in/.

Tools for Information Literacy (INLS 161, UNC SILS)

This course covers tools and concepts for information literacy. It includes software use and maintenance, computer applications, and networked information systems. The course introduces some basic technology tools as an essential component of information literacy training:

Most recent syllabus available here: http://inls161.johndmart.in/.

Teaching - John D. Martin III