2019 Excellence in Teaching for Early Career Faculty Award – Alex Christie

Alex Christie, 2019 recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching Early Career Faculty Assistant Professor Alex Christie, Digital Prototyping, Centre for Digital Humanities
Alex Christie has been an Assistant Professor of digital prototyping at Brock since 2016.

His undergraduate courses include New Media and Games, Foundations of Interactive Arts and Science, Solving Problems through Interactive Arts and Science, Team-based Practicum in Interactive Media Design and Production, and Foundations of Project Management.

In his teaching, Alex moves between humanities theory and technical practice to cultivate experiences in which students reveal and rethink the design logics of social and technological systems. He incorporates digital tools as points of departure for reflective and theoretical discussion.

As Alex explains: “This teaches us digital prototyping in its truest sense, in which hands-on experimentation with technologies allow us to reshape our theoretical grasp of how these technologies can and should operate, as well as their imbrication in our social, cultural, and political fabric.”

Alex also teaches in the Studies in Comparative Literature and Arts (SCLA) MA program and the PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities (HUMA) program.

Outside the classroom, Alex pursues an active research agenda in the field of digital pedagogy that drives and reinforces his classroom practice. In 2017, he completed Pedagogy Toolkit (http://www.pedagogy-toolkit.org), an open source project for sharing Open Educational Resources in the field of digital pedagogy.

Professor David Hutchison, who was invited by Alex to sit in on a class, shares this observation: “As a teacher-educator, I am particularly impressed by instructors who are able to converse fluidly with students, utilizing prompts and questions that move a lesson forward in a purposeful way. Dr. Christie is clearly skilled in these areas.”

In a series of testimonials from undergraduate and master’s students, including one letter that received a group endorsement of 11 students, Alex is lauded for being an inspiring teacher and academic role model.

Here are a few highlights from student testimonials:

“… Alex’s teaching methods stand out from other teaching styles due to his ability to extract engagement from everyone involved. His use of the Socratic method helps to elevate his lectures and makes the task of learning complex theories and concepts seem much more like a conversation than a one-sided lecture.

“… Dr. Christie is an outstanding professor who goes the extra mile to make learning happen. He is understanding, knowledgeable, professional, well read, approachable and friendly and has had a tremendous impact on my academic career as well as my personal life.”

“…Dr. Christie’s courses have been exceptionally well organized and provided me content and skills which I can use in both my academic life and professional experience. His teaching includes emphasis on creative freedom that allows me to create and explore academic interests.”

“…His enthusiasm for his research, and his willingness to share it with us, was immensely beneficial to a group of graduate students who had never before been exposed to the digital humanities. This impact was so great, in fact, that since completing Dr. Christie’s course, I have successfully applied theories, that were introduced to me during his course, to my own work.”