Teaching Philosophy

With background in such a variety of areas -- graphics, web design, media art, human computer interaction, media arts and technology -- one of my greatest goals has been to fully integrate these fields in my teaching and research. What has shaped this goal, moreover, and guided my progress towards it, has been a vision of advanced technologies as simply another type of artistic, expressive tool. For this purpose, it has been my attempt to teach and use new technology not for the sake of technology, but rather as a means towards designing better and more effective modes of expression. My approach to teaching is to offer students a blend of on-demand, job-applicable skills, an awareness of their impact on society and culture, and experimentation and exploration of new ideas, techniques, and methods to further their fields of interest. My experience as a media artist, interaction designer, and instructor has taught me the value and benefit of bringing together diverse backgrounds and disciplines to form creative approaches to projects. In mentoring my students to develop their own creativity, my dual approach is to model the mental habits of exploration and collaboration and to bring to my students the new techniques, methods, and means towards finding their own voices and visions in design.

I see teaching as a form of interaction that necessarily involves giving and sharing between myself and my students. The form this interaction takes is affected by what the instructor knows and where students’ needs and interests lie. In order to discern these needs, the most important quality an instructor can have is a deep, practical knowledge of her field, and of the foundational points of knowledge that students will need in order to enter it themselves. In this sense, as an instructor and mentor, my job is to understand what students need in advance. This anticipated need, moreover, depends not only on the course requirements but also on the students and their own level of experience, whether they have the necessary background knowledge or not, or need to review their background knowledge.

Conversation and critique sessions are by far the most important part of my courses. Artists and designers should have their own critical point of view and voice, confident to judge creative artworks. In my class, it is essential that students learn how to evaluate and critically think about their own projects and how to their ideas with other students. In critique sessions, my strategy towards cultivating students’ confidence in their voices and judgment necessarily means withholding my own direct answers,, rather allowing students to find their own critical perspectives. Active participation in these group discussions is crucial not only to the learning process of a course, but to giving students the critical confidence to become artists and designers who can raise their own voices in their professional fields. This has been the most crucial point of feedback in my student evaluations, that I always encourage students to raise their voices.

The constant evolution of tools for generating and interacting with new media provides me with an opportunity to also learn from my students, enabling me to pass on knowledge from one year’s class to the next. To this end, I am encouraging students to be producers of knowledge, themselves, and foster this through my own genuine interest in new tools and approaches. The fear some students have of technology is one of the most common obstacles in teaching media art. Because of this, it is crucial to help students overcome this fear by engaging them and allowing them to explore their own interests through the medium. To do this, I have created many demonstrations and class examples for students to improve and update the class materials and contents every quarter, which helps students to see and be inspired by the constant evolution of the field.

Although my past teaching has focused on graphic and web design, visual arts, multimedia, interactive environments, digital media programming, and data visualization, my interdisciplinary teaching experience in combination with my span of scholarly interests would enable me to teach a wide range of classes in areas such as typography, history of media art and graphic design, 2D/3D animation, HCI, basic computer science, and audio engineering. Obviously not every student wants to be an electronic media artist, or even an artist at all. My previous professional experience in media industry offers different perspectives from a production, art practice and academic point of view. Born and raised in dynamic Seoul, Korea, I have traveled around the world for international exhibitions, conferences and art events. I intend to expand my students’ horizons not only artistically but also culturally, inspiring them to think independently and elaborate their roles as art practitioners in society.