Derek Long



I have taught a wide variety of courses at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Wherever possible, I incorporate specifically digital questions into my pedagogy by encouraging students to think about how digital communication changes the way they articulate their own ideas as well as interpret those of others.

Digital Production

I have taught a number of production courses, including Media and Cinema Studies 496: Advanced Media Practicum at Illinois and Introduction to Digital Production at UW-Madison. Instructing students in fundamental and advanced concepts so that they can produce compelling images, sound, video, and narrative for online distribution is incredibly rewarding.

While I have instructed students extensively in the use of digital video cameras (including cinema, DSLR, and mirrorless units), sound recorders, lighting, postproduction software, and web design, my approach to production courses emphasizes that technical training is only part of a complete education in media production. Big-picture concepts such as algorithmic bias, workflows, preservation, copyright, and fair use are crucial for students if they are to make their media inclusively and critically.

I have also led workshops and presentations at various conferences to teach users how to use digital applications like Lantern and Arclight, emphasizing individual research questions as well as critical frameworks for interpreting their results.

Film History, Aesthetics, and Analysis

In teaching the Survey of World Cinema sequence at Illinois (MACS 261 and 262), students consider the history of cinema from an inclusive global perspective, expanding beyond the dominant canon of Hollywood, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan to encompass the cinemas of Iran, Senegal, India, Nigeria, Guatemala, and Mexico (among others). They also study topics that tend not to make it into undergraduate history surveys, such as race films, the role of women and people of color in production, exploitation films, and avant-garde cinema.

One of my favorite courses to teach is one I developed, MACS 284: Animated Media from Mickey to GIFs. Students in the course learn how to use digital production tools in the service of close analysis and historical argumentation. They make video essays analyzing character animation, backgrounds, and layout at a frame-by-frame level. They also complete final video essay projects about chosen topics in animation history, with some students choosing to make their own animation as part of the project.

I have also taught graduate-level Film Historiography, MACS 503, in which I had the privilege of reading exciting new article-length work in media history from emerging scholars working in a wide variety of disciplines.

My students regard my teaching highly. I have appeared on the University of Illinois' list of Students Ranked as Excellent every semester since I started teaching here in 2017, and I won two separate Honored Instructor awards from the UW-Madison Division of University Housing by way of student nomination.