Gretchen Caldwell Rinnert
Associate Professor, Motion, Interaction and User Experience Design
Kent State University
Here are PDF samples of course syllabi from 2015-2018:
I began my teaching career in 2008, after graduating from North Carolina State University. I was young and enthusiastic. Many years later I can reflect on all that I have learned and I am still very happy to be working with young, creative people! Working with students is the reason I decided to be a teacher. Design school can be tough and stressful, but it's also a chance for people to grow and become professionals, ready to tackle big problems.
Learning is a natural, and distinctive activity, the passing of knowledge from one another, sharing, experimenting, failing and succeeding. I have encountered many wonderful teachers, who have acted as role models. I have also seen the damage a careless teacher can cause. My experiences as a student have greatly influenced my pedagogical philosophies.
The learning space must be safe and comfortable. I believe that occasionally failure is natural, and part of the learning process. In an effort to be critical and innovative students must feel free to experiment, test the water and try new things. I believe that experimenting is an important part of any healthy classroom. As a teacher, I will encourage my students to approach difficult challenges and to be daring. I promote the sharing of ideas, class discussions, and debate. I will encourage innovation by providing a space that incorporates play, prototyping, making and testing. As a designer who loves the making process, I know how important it is for design students to enjoy their work. To be successful one must be invested, willing to take chances, and be excited about creating new things. I strive to instill these values daily as an educator.
Education is collaborative and is most successful when group work is encouraged. As an educator, I facilitate this activity through design critique, both online and off. I encourage open and honest discussions that expand horizons and introduce new ways of thinking. In my own experience as a student, I often found that my best work was completed when I consulted my peers because it allowed me to look at my designs from their perspective. Technology is part of the design studio, and this needs to be addressed by educators. I integrate the teaching of tools, along with the teaching of concepts and theory. I believe this will create a balanced equilibrium, and assist students, preparing them to work and succeed in a technology-saturated business. I assist them in learning how to teach themselves, as this is a lifelong skill that will serve them continually as professionals. Over the years I have found that the most influential instructors had some of the same key characteristics, they are passionate, enthusiastic, and excited about their work and the work of their students. An effective educator spends time with their students and listens to what they are saying. An effective educator is a combination of many things, but I feel most importantly they respect their students, their time and ideas. I expect to always learn from the observations and questions that my students have for me, never forgetting that I am a student as well.