I'm an Associate Professor of English at the University of Minnesota Morris, Minnesota's public liberal arts college, where I also direct the Writing Center and coordinate the Writing for the Liberal Arts program.

My main research interest is fan-made music videos, or vids: short videos that combine clips from movies or television with carefully chosen music to celebrate, interpret, critique, refocus, or rewrite elements of the original texts. Vids illustrate what vidders find important in the source narrative by highlighting the characters, relationships, stories, subtexts, and narrative gaps they find most appealing, interesting, or problematic. Vidding is a complex multimedia literacy practice; vidders and vidwatchers have to process multiple simultaneous streams of information in order to create, interpret, and evaluate vids. It can be a staggering amount of technical and rhetorical work, yet fans do that work for fun.

My research explores why fans vid and watch vids; how fans learn to make and interpret vids; how vids contribute to fans' conversations about media texts; and how vidding and vidwatching are affected by the larger pop culture environment, including copyright law, commercial production and distribution systems, and social media platforms.

This research has pedagogical implications as well: If we wish to help students become more effective multimedia composers, then it makes sense to study the practices of people who do this composing successfully. Understanding how and why vidders and vidwatchers learn to critique, create, and evaluate multimedia texts can help us see what purposes, social contexts, and tools promote and enable the development of digital literacies.

Teaching

Most of my courses have to do with writing, composition studies, digital literacies, or fan studies. Occasionally I also teach courses about gender & sexuality studies, narrative theory, and the history of the novel. I approach all my classes from the perspective that writing and learning are best understood and practiced as social and collaborative processes.

Research

My current project, The Ecology of Vidding, is a book about the processes of vidding and vidwatching, including how those processes shape and are shaped by the social and rhetorical contexts of media fandom. I've also begun to study the role of music in making and watching vids, and by extension the role of sound in multimodal compositions more generally.

Advocacy

Since 2009, I have worked with the Organization for Transformative Works and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to petition for DMCA exemptions granting the right to break copy protection on media files to make noncommercial remix videos. In 2010, we won the right to rip DVDs; in 2012, we got that exemption renewed and expanded to include digital downloads. In 2015, we persuaded them to add Blu-Ray.