I am fortunate to have earned a PhD in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design while teaching and working alongside brilliant professors at Rutgers University and Clemson University. I study and teach digital rhetoric and multimodal composition, specializing in learning theory and educational technologies. (cv)
"In my opinion, Michael is a gifted teacher. He converses easily with his students; he makes good use of his own experiences and challenges, and he knows his material well." - Dr. Cameron Bushnell (Clemson University) | Read More
LMS & WIKI Administration
I have installed, used, and administered a variety of LMS platforms, including Moodle, Udemy, Sakai, and Canvas. While working at the University of North Florida, I administered Instructure Canvas LMS, logging over 6,000 support interactions with faculty in various modalities. As an instructor of digital rhetorics, I also run my own teaching wiki —where I post syllabuses, schedules, and course content.
I am skilled in an array of e-learning authoring tools, including the Articulate 360 Suite, iSpring, Adobe Captivate, Camtasia. I have packaged SCORM and TinCan courses on everything from English Literature to Worksite Safety.
I deploy adult-learning theory, analytics, and data tracking to leverage possibilities in the classroom, emphasizing iterative, cooperative learning experiences.
I have taught courses in technical writing / instructional design / digital literacy / nonlinear composition / online privacy / the digital humanities / and game studies.
I also organize workshops on e-learning technologies / LMS management / web development / blockchain / and multimodal composition.
ADVANCED TECHNICAL WRITING | ENGL 3140 at Clemson University, focuses on clear, effective writing, tailored to business, journalistic, and informative settings. Students practice honing an ability to understand and use a focused rhetoric — cutting fluff and keeping word counts low. Students also learn to effectively use data visualization software, distant reading techniques, and ethical communication practices, writing in a variety of technical genres. The goal is realized, readable prose.
POST-TRUTH RHETORICS | ENGL 1030 at Clemson University, focuses on critical thinking skills through the teaching of rhetorical strategies in oral, print, and digital environments. Students will learn to critically “read” a variety of texts in different mediums – including speeches, podcasts, films, news media, peer-reviewed journals, and more. Students will also compose three larger rhetorical projects based on issues and research raised in the reading assignments and the in-class discussions. These three big projects, along with other smaller assignments, explore the use of rhetoric as tools of persuasion and conversation.
ORALITY, LITERACY, ELECTRACY | ENGL 1030 at foregrounds the evolution of rhetorical culture, from the oral to the written to the digital. The term electracy is borrowed from Gregory Ulmer, and describes the kinds of rhetorical skills and faculties necessary to exploit the full communicative potential of multimedia, hypermedia, social software, and virtual worlds. Within the scope of the theme, students are free to explore their own subjects of interest, so long as such exploration meets the standards and expectations Clemson University.
I taught rhetoric, composition, and digital studies while earning my master's degree at Rutgers University. Besides teaching, I also helped to kickstart the Rutgers Digital Studies Center, an interdisciplinary, collaborative research, development, and education track for students interesting in programming and creative design.
OBJECT ORIENTED RESEARCH highlights the historical, philosophical, and social significance of everyday things in the world. The purpose of the theme is to motivate students to think critically about the surrounding environment. Students are taught to understand the political ramifications of material culture, while at the same time exploring the depths of knowledge available through research. Moreover, Object Research is meant to show that even the most mundane things can be made incredibly interesting when discussed in the context of rhetorical inquiry.
START PLAYING AROUND engages students with persuasive, rhetorical games. Students are placed in positions of simulation-identification in an effort to spark fruitful, cross-cultural conversation. In simpler terms, students play games, think critically about games, and write critically about games. They also learn to program their own games.
PRIVACY REBOOT motivates students to think critically about issues of privacy, whether or not privacy matters to the human condition, and how perceptions on privacy have changed from the time of Wordsworth to the age of Google.
INTRO TO THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES address computational platforms by treating digital technologies as both expressive media and objects worthy of humanistic study. The goal of the course is to provide students with a space to use digital tools to create things (such as art, electronic literature, and games) and also to develop critical vocabularies for analyzing digital objects.
LITERATURE & VIDEOGAMES examines the relationship between literature and videogames by looking at a range of artifacts: novels about videogames, works of interactive fiction, electronic literature, and modern digital games that take on certain literary qualities. The goal of this class is not necessarily to equate videogames with novels or poems but to instead consider how videogames intersect with and complicate the category of "literature."
Tutoring & Outreach
Volunteer Work — At George Washington Community High School in Indianapolis, I helped to kick-start an open-source initiative that provided more than 50 computers to students in need. I also ran a workshop on open-source publishing and magazine creation. Students created their own newspaper, while I redesigned the school’s Parent Center website in order to better suit the needs of a multilingual community.
Inner-City Outreach — Each year, the Rutgers Future Scholars program introduces 200 first-generation, low-income and academically promising middle-school students from districts in our four Rutgers home communities of New Brunswick, Piscataway, Newark, and Camden to the promise and opportunities of a college education. I created and facilitated workshops to the digital humanities, videogame development, gamification, and nonlinear narrative.
“Students listened intensely to each other, in a kind of open-ended spirit of exploration, simultaneously amused, uncertain, and utterly compelled. Presiding over this was Russo’s calm, quiet voice, his manner utterly relaxed and often provocatively witty: always unpretentious, and wholly with them in spirit … Russo stayed with and within the exploratory contradictions and unsureties, pleasantly gentle, always sincere, and encouraging as primus inter pares. The result was that every student in the class participated, and often several spoke at once … In summary, Russo’s class mingled the utile and the dulce, the stimulating confrontation of fiercely challenging ideas, with sheer social joy. Both amiable and masterful, Mr. Russo is deeply at home in the exposition of ideas, maintains a climate of quiet control, and is a born teacher. We are fortunate indeed to have him teaching our students.”
— Dr Christopher Fitter (Rutgers University) | Read More
“The students had a blast with this. It was like a game, a challenge to reduce the language down. Then [Michael] went around the room and asked [the students] to explain how they did it. Finally, he asked them to use [this technique] with their own next drafts, and yet not lose sight of their unique voices. He wants to help them learn…”
— Dr Cynthia Haynes (Clemson University) | Read More
When I saw “Dissent and Debate” on the syllabus, I became worried because I knew I was not good at arguing my ideas, let alone explaining them clearly. However, this class has definitely made me a better writer. Writing essays has always been a painful experience because I could not properly express my ideas. But now it’s not as painful. — MN
I definitely feel that I’ve improved as a writer from taking this class. Understanding the rhetorical realms really helped me write a kick ass scholarly essay without sounding boring. — DC
I am going to be blatantly honest. At first, I despised this class, even dreaded it. I assumed that because we did not share the same beliefs that you would make the class miserable for me. And, at times you did. But, about halfway through the semester, I figured it out: you were trying to make me uncomfortable, but not without reason. It was to make me feel something about my writing; it was to help me make stronger arguments and support my claims based on what I believed. I found my voice as a writer which I otherwise may not have found. — KM