Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artifacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or the one that devises a sales plan for a company or a social welfare policy for a state. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training.
—Herbert Simon, “The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial”
I earned my BA in English and my MA in Rhetoric and Writing from San Diego State University, after which I taught ESL in Brasil briefly. Upon returning to the states I lectured in Rhetoric & Writing (SDSU) for several years, before coming to Tech to study communication.
I've held a variety of positions on campus, including teaching a variety of courses, managing the Humanities Department computer lab (now the HDMZ), serving as the president of the Michigan Tech Graduate Student Government, and most recently serving as a graduate research associate and web developer for the NSF-sponsored ADVANCE grant, researching the recruitment, retention, and promotion of women in STEM fields at Michigan Tech.
Randal Sean HarrisonPhD (ABD)
Van Pelt & Opie Library
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI 49931-1295
We ought to establish the basic sociotechnological principles of control mechanisms as their age dawns, and describe in these terms what is already taking the place of the disciplinary sites of confinement that everyone says are breaking down...The key thing is that we're at the beginning of something new...the widespread progressive introduction of a new system of domination.
—Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations
My doctoral research examines the deeply imbricated and co-constitutive relation of culture and technology, especially with regard to what is termed, variously networked- or cyberculture, the information society, or most broadly, 'new media'. I use the theory and practice of articulation to map the various assemblages which articulate ICTs (information communication technologies) to ideologies, economies, publics, juridico-political practices, computer protocols and other technologies in our contemporary historical conjuncture.
In mapping these articulations, I employ theorists drawn from a wide range of related fields/approaches, including rhetoric and semiotics, visual culture, actor-network theory, HCI (human-computer interaction), informatics, UX Design, cybercultural studies, among many others. I value the impulse, central to cultural studies, of creating positive social transformation. My experience as a designer (UX, graphic, information, web, multimedia, etc.) powerfully informs my research and teaching in these areas.
My dissertation, tentatively titled Big Brother Where Art Thou? The Problematic of Privacy in Networked Culture, engages the problematic of privacy, as a 'social crisis of sorts' (Grossberg 2010) which reaches across the social formations of our current global techno-cultural conjunctures, and is centered around new questions, new demands, new technologies and new ideologies concerning capitalism, communication, culture, and technology. I map the changing nature of privacy along the economic, juridico-political, and protocological levels, in order to understand the ways in which the rearticulation of privacy becomes a tool of technocultural hegemony.
The role of pedagogy is to develop an epistemology of pluralism that provides access without people having to erase or leave behind different subjectivities…we cannot remake the world through schooling, but we can instantiate a vision through pedagogy that creates in microcosm a transformed set of relationships and possibilities for social futures, a vision that is lived in schools.
—The New London Group, Multiliteracies
In addition to working in the fields of communication and design, I sometimes teach in these areas. My courses are often focused by urgent social questions, including but not limited to those raised by the emergence of highly technologized forms of social, political, and cultural organization. I leverage a strong background in information, graphic, and web design to give students real-world multi-media production experience, where appropriate. I challenge students to problematize received views of the major problematics of our social formation (e.g., sex/gender, race/ethnicity, class, culture and technology) and to make their course work count in very real ways toward positive social transformation.
Michigan Technological University
- HU 3642—Introduction to Multimedia Design
- HU 3120—Technical Communication
- HU 2650—Introduction to Website Design
- UN 2001—Revisions: Oral, Written and Visual Communication
- ESL 301—English as a Second Language (Intermediate Reading)
- Flash Multimedia Design—Michigan Tech Summer Youth Pograms
- Graphic Design (asst.)—Michigan Tech Summer Youth Pograms
San Diego State University
- RWS 305—Writing in Multiple Contexts
- RWS 200—Intermediate Composition
- RWS 100—Beginning Composition
- RWS 096—Developmental Writing
- ENG 220—Introduction to Literature
I am currently working as a web developer and UX designer in the area of library informatics. Prior to working for the JRVP library, I designed for a number of other organizations at Michigan Tech, including the Multiliteracies Center, the Humanities Department, the Graduate Student Government, the graduate student organization Global City, and the NSF-sponsored ADVANCE initiative. Recent projects have included everything from document redesign, print adverts, postcards, logos, web-enabled forms, and Flash® animation, to database design, and extensive static and dynamic web sites.
I work hard to provide clients with a tailored design solution, based on a balance between the careful assessment of where they are (their needs and current practices), and where they want to be. Working within what is essentially an Agile methodolgy, I practice web standards-compliant, user-centered, iterative design, marrying a keen aesthetic sensibility with the conviction that strong information architecture is at the core of any site's usefulness and findability.
Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul...In any case, always rememeber what Jean-Luc Godard said, "Its not where you take things from, it's where you take them to."
Politics + News
Techno + Culture
- Boing Boing
- Center for Social Media
- CIS (stanford)
- Creative Commons
- Digital Culture & Ed.
- Feminism 101
- History of Science
- Khan Academy
- Open Culture
- PEW Internet Research
- Voice of the Shuttle
- 20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web
- 24 Ways
- Adaptive Path
- A List Apart
- Before & After Magazine
- David Airey
- Flowing Data
- HighCharts JS
- History of Visual Comm
- Information is Beautiful
- I Love Typography
- Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox
- Jason Santa Maria
- Lea Verou
- Luke Wrobleski
- Mozilla Developer Network
- Tuts+ Design Tutorials
- Swiss Miss
- Smashing Magazine
- Stack Overflow
- UX Booth
- UX Magazine
- Web Design 14
- What Makes Them Click
- Yay Everyday!