Teaching Philosophy

Having studied the relationship between emerging technologies and journalism, I bring to the classroom real-life experiences and knowledge from my research. I strive to communicate to students my energy and interest for learning. My work informs my teaching objectives, methods, style, and advising. After taking my classes, students learn a new body of knowledge, have a heightened interest in the role of technology in society, and are ready to engage critically in academic and media work. My overarching goal as an instructor is to foster student-instructor relationships, interactive learning approach, and hybrid technology-enhanced courses that will allow students to develop their professional skills, critical reflection on their profession, and lifelong autonomous learning motivation.


I also advise and mentor graduate and undergraduate students. Each student who works with me work on different aspect of my ongoing research or with the MN research center. I also coach them actively working on giving feedback at every step of the publication process to foster intellectual development. A big part of mentoring is to make sure mentees become independent. Two ways that I do that is by introducing them to resources that help them thrive without me and by fostering an environment where mentees learn from each others at different stages of the process.


Sample of Courses Taught

Luker defined qualitative research method as “salsa dancing.” “Trust me”, she wrote, “salsa dancing is a practice as well as a metaphor for a kind of research that will make your life easier and better.” This course builds on this metaphor by guiding you through the theoretical, practical, and methodological underpinnings of qualitative social science research in the field of journalism, media, and mass communication.

Digital media are part of our everyday life social interactions. Media industries, institutions, and identities are constantly changing and are in negotiation with digital technology, work practices, distribution mechanisms, and audiences/users. Media industries, institutions, and identities also change with the larger socio-cultural, political, economic, and regulatory contexts for communication and interactions. This course introduces graduate students to theories and concepts for understanding digital media.

Various forms of misleading information—including online rumors, political propaganda, and media manipulation—has become part of contemporary media and politics. These forms of misleading information can be destructive for the fabric of society as well as erode public trust in the media, politics, businesses, and other institutions. Misleading information can also intensify political and ideological polarization, and shape individual and collective attitudes. Covid-19 and the 2020 U.S. Presidential elections have only exacerbated this problem. 


This course considers the role of actors including journalists, malignant players, and social media platforms, as well as the socio-political contexts that underlie the problem of misinformation. Through discussions, students will learn about key concepts related to the contemporary information disorder ranging from misinformation, infodemic, and publicity and propaganda. And students will discuss and learn how to critically evaluate content using various verification techniques used in media organizations worldwide.

This course will encourage you to critically examine the function of digital media in their lives. You can expect to take away a socio-historical understanding of digital media innovation, and the social, political, and economical impact of new media in creativity, industry, and culture from a cross-disciplinary perspective.  

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© 2020 by Valerie Belair-Gagnon.

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