Gender and Diversity in the Media
Gaming and Interactive Media
Studies in Digital Media and Culture
Streaming and Esports
Cultural History of Video Games
"Professor Orme is simply the best. Beyond knowledgeable about the content of course, passionate, respectful of students. Fair amount of work yet I was challenged– excellent course & instructor I learned SO much & will continue on in communications."
"I honestly loved this course. It was one of my favorite classes to talk while at Penn State; and it was my favorite this semester. I really enjoyed the atmosphere that Stephanie brought to the classroom. She was able to present the information in a fun and educational way. She also encouraged us to ask question and challenged what we thought sometimes."
"The biggest thing that helped me learn in this course was the teacher’s personal experience in the subject. She was very informed on the subject matter and was able to present the information in an understandable and relatable way."
"The professor’s interest in the course material was awesome, her interest in what we thought seemed to make the rest of the class very involved. Because I’m not that experienced with games, I really appreciated the professor explaining certain words and games that herself or the class used so that I could understand better."
""We had so many engaging discussions each week and I was always so excited afterwards to talk to my friends about what I had learned because everything we covered was so timely and interesting to me! I would take any other class Stephanie will be teaching at the school! I can't say enough great things about her."
"She has a way of encouraging discussion. Her cheerful disposition and positive attitude made me want to come to class. I enjoyed the guest speakers we had and the opportunities for extra credit. This teacher has a fantastic sense of humor and I enjoyed her lectures."
In the era of online courses and an increasing amount of “teach yourself” approaches to learning, the role that a teacher plays in higher education might, understandably, be called into question. The model of the teacher-as-information-disseminator is outdated. With the internet, information is a click or finger swipe away. What I bring as a teacher is the ability to mentor students throughout their learning, teaching them to interpret and question what they read, hear, or see, and helping them to articulate their own ideas.
I believe in students having ownership over their education, and I design and teach my classes as such. I let students provide input on how an assignment or module should be orchestrated. While the general learning outcomes such as analytical thinking, cultural competency, and effective communication are always the same, additional objectives might vary for different students based on their discipline and intended career path. My journalism students want and need different skill sets than my computer science students. I believe in giving my students the power to shape courses so that they giving them the best preparation for their learning objectives. When feasible, I implement a “Choose-Your-Own” syllabus approach, which offers students several different types of assignments that fulfill course requirements, and I allow them to select assignments that they feel will help them develop the knowledge and skills relevant to their specialization. Not only do my students leave my classroom better equipped for their careers, but there is a palpable sense of enthusiasm and pride in their work because they chose to do something that speaks to their passion directly.
Of course, my vision of liberating education from a one-size-fits-all approach is sometimes met with frustration from students who are used to being instructed exactly how to complete a task. In my six years of higher education teaching, I have found that students tend to struggle the most when you give them creative freedom in coursework. They are often at a total loss as to how to proceed, insisting on examples or detailed rubrics that dictate “how to get the A.” I assure them this torturous freedom to co-design their education is a gift. Usually, they torture me a bit in return. Then, when they begrudgingly come around and produce something of their own ingenuity, there is a transformation. They are surprised, then proud, and then more confident in themselves and their ideas. When students are given the room to experiment and explore, they are developing the usual core skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication; however, they also learn how to navigate uncertainty, work through frustrating obstacles, and to cope with their failures.
Inviting my students to help shape their course also allows me to cultivate a more inclusive learning environment. Students have different ways they learn best, and I have never understood while performing poorly on a standard examination is an indication of a person’s ability to excel in other areas. This philosophy is evident in how I assess my students. In a larger, lecture-based class, I might incorporate several different types of assessment: exams, research projects, discussion posts, creative pieces—each of which employs a different set of skills. Exams test students’ comprehension on concepts and theories and their ability to apply them to specific contexts, while the research projects and discussion posts challenge them to expand that comprehension to more challenging and nuanced contexts. Discussion posts invite students who might be reticent about being vocal in a large lecture environment to participate in class by asking questions or providing external examples. Not only does a variety of assignment types recognize students’ different academic strengths, but it also produces students with a well-rounded, deeper understanding of the material by asking them to engage with course subjects from several different angles and approaches.
Finally, a fundamental component of my philosophy on teaching is that I continue to learn myself. When you experiment with course designs and invite students’ feedback, it is not always the success we envisioned. I have no problem re-tooling a project or module in a course that seems less effective than I intended. Again, I encourage my students to provide their feedback on how we can improve it. Then, rather than shelve the resolution for “next time,” when it would be of little benefit to the current students in the course, we implement it. Of course, what is effective with one group of students might be an ill-fit approach for another. No two classes are ever entirely the same. Each group of students brings a unique energy and different set of assets and challenges. Students who have taken multiple classes with me often comment on how different their experiences across our classes together. I think this speaks to the dynamism of the students, as well as my approach to co-structuring classes with them. As such, teaching never feels stale for me, and each semester brings new opportunities—and challenges—that I enthusiastically embrace.