For the past fifteen years, I’ve designed learning and story-making experiences – virtual and physical, in-person and online, synchronous and asynchronous – that interrogate knowledge systems, invite discovery, and prioritize curiosity, collaboration, justice, equity, and accessibility. 

For the past ten years I’ve taught undergraduate, graduate, and adult professional courses on critical digital practice, digital literacy, digital humanities, technofuturism, Ecocritical digital studies, speculative fiction, antiracist futures design, and for the past several years a standing course each term for Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative called Learning to Fail.

Fuller Teaching Portfolio, Table of Contents

This teaching dossier can be navigated by scrolling down or by using the links provided.

Teaching Philosophy
Teaching Positions
Pedagogy Workshops
Teaching Recognition & Awards
Teaching Evaluations
Student Work
Published Writings and Presentations on Pedagogy

Teaching Philosophy Excerpt:

I consider the classroom itself to be a living system, one that can model effective strategies and demonstrate artful authorship in a wide variety of forms. My classrooms are designed to be open, multimodal, knowledge-building, knowledge-sharing environments that speak equally to those with differently-abled minds and bodies and those with diverse learning and communicative styles. Following Cathy Davidson who writes “If your personal goal is equality in a world where inequality is structural, violent, and pervasive, you can at least start with your classroom as a place in which to model a better way,” I believe rigorous, generous classrooms can nurture equality, experimentation, and professionalism so that students cultivate not only new scholarly practices but also intentional ways of living in a diverse world.

In her recent keynote to the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bethany Nowviskie said “the sobering environmental and social challenges of the 21st century—our grand challenges, global challenges—will require a more capacious humanities.” It is this type of ‘capacious’ thinking that motivates my teaching: I try to meet the students in the many diverse spaces where they reside, and I make a point to teach across technologies, both mediated and methodological, so that students who learn differently can be differently engaged. I believe the tools we use in the classroom can be meaningfully molded outside the walls of academia to be put toward making powerful positive change. Please click here to read the full statement.

Teaching Positions:

Instructor, Graduate Liberal Studies Program, Duke University, 2020-present.

Instructor, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Duke University, 2018-present.

Instructor of Record, Literature & Environmental Humanities, Duke University, 2017-present.

Instructor of Record, Literature, Digital Media & Digital Humanities, Duke University, 2013-present.

Senior Lecturer and Undergraduate Advisor, Northeastern University, 2010-2011.

Technology Coordinator, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, 2010-2011.

Online Instructor, VIIBRE group, Vanderbilt University, 2005-2011.

Writing Coach, Language Tutor, Editor, & Website Administrator, Writing and Academic Resource Center, Emerson College, 2008-2011.

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AI and the Future of Human History, GLS, Duke University, Instructor. Fall 2024. Hybrid.

Through conversation, practice, and engagement with technical tools and critical thinkers, we’ll investigate how AI tools are creating knowledge, producing relations, redefining the human, auto-generating evidence and artifacts, and building (and ruining?) worlds. We’ll look at how AI-augmented digital tools and techniques are situated within systems of oppression (racism, sexism, ableism), and how they might be designed toward liberation. We’ll interrogate how intelligently augmented tools are governing our actions and interactions – asking ourselves at what point we’ll wonder, Am I AI? – and how AI might be rewriting the past and automatically generating the future.

Climate + Technology + Justice: Designing Nature’s Futures. GLS, Duke University, Instructor. Summer 2023. Hybrid.

In this course we’ll explore how digital technologies are altering climate and acting toward its preservation. We’ll look at human-earth-technology relations and possible planetary futures. If the earth, the human, and technology are no longer separable, or even thinkable in isolation, we need models for reflecting critically about our physically-entangled global ecological systems.

Critical Digital Knowledge: Seeing Data Bodies and Practicing the Future. GLS, Duke University, Instructor. Spring 2022, Hybrid.

Through conversation, practice, and engagement with critical makers and thinkers, we’ll investigate how digital tools create knowledge, produce relations, and build worlds. We’ll look at how our digital tools, techniques, algorithms, search, and research are situated within and alongside systems of oppression (racism, sexism, ableism), both by design and by virtue of their being designed with/in those systems. We’ll interrogate how our tools are governing our actions and interactions as researchers, and how they are guiding our digital research insofar they are quietly influencing our projects. 

We’ll think together about how to tell the stories of our research and projects knowing they are co-authored by the tools we use, and we’ll think through methods for how those tools might be hacked, or refused, to manifest more just systems. At its core, this class-qua-learning-lab is really about how we experience the world. If you are already using a digital tool for your research project, you’ll be invited to do a self-study of that tool with the goal of producing a short statement about how the tool is participating in and co-authoring your project.

Learning to Fail: Creative Failure Design Studio. I&E 252, Duke University, Instructor. Fall 2021, Hybrid.

School, and um life, teach us to fear failure. But learning requires we try something new, and trying something new means we might fail, right? What would/could we do if we were not afraid to fail? We’ll spend our semester looking closely at failure trying to understand where it comes from, how it means differently to different people, the kinds of social/political/cultural/economic structures that impact it, and, ultimately, how to use it as a strategy for learning and growth.

Learning Objectives:

      • Cultivate tools for reevaluating failures as features, not flaws, of learning

      • Interrogate failure as a construct embedded in social arrangements and systems

      • Evaluate and Call On practices other entrepreneurs/innovators have used to leverage failure for innovation and entrepreneurial growth

      • Learn to plan for, anticipate, reflect on failures as inevitable (not as personal flaws)

      • Apply deliberate and thoughtful practices for inclusive group work

      • Develop networks of mentors and models for failure learning

      • Fail! And we will learn from it! And learn from and with each other!

      • Experiment with failure in a series of challenges in our Creative Failure Design Studio

Redesigning the Future: Radical Innovation after COVID. GLS780, Duke University, Instructor. Spring 2021.

Our current pandemic is, for many, revealing critical failures and design flaws in the foundational systems that guide our daily functioning. These revelations open problem spaces for entrepreneurial thinkers and tinkerers to ask What new techniques and technologies might we design in light of our current context? How might we think through the pandemic as we move through it?

In this class, we will approach the world as creative designers and intentional inventors. We will take as our premise that Today is the beginning of Tomorrow, and we will work together to deliberately redesign that Tomorrow. A local entrepreneur has called our quarantine period a “Pause” but that feels a missed opportunity for those of us ready to break and remake the world. Novelist Arundhati Roy in April wrote in the Financial Times that “the pandemic is a portal” and Hala Alyan reminds us that “this is not a rehearsal”. If the pandemic were a portal, one that we are not rehearsing but are actively performing, what would we want when we emerge on the other side?

As we explore topics and transmissions (inputs and outputs), we’ll be reading philosophers, economists, novelists, feminists, educators, artists and entrepreneurs. Together we’ll explore these questions:

    • How do our things, spaces, artifacts, environments design us?

    • How has the pandemic, and let’s think broadly here, (re)designed our spaces, things artifacts, environments, actions, reactions, and interactions?

    • How can we use speculative research to redesign the world?

    • How can we call on a wide variety of knowledges to inform our practice?

    • How can speculative fiction provide a model for future ways of living and/or ways of dreaming futures?

Learning to Fail: Creative Failure Design Studio. I&E 252, Duke University, Instructor. Spring 2021, Online.

School, and um life, teach you to fear failure. In contrast, the world’s most impactful innovations – from life-saving solutions to life-changing social revolutions to life-giving art – were cultivated out of, and often because of, a series of large and small failures. As a result, this class wonders: Is failing as antithetical to learning and creating as we’re taught to believe?

We’ll spend our semester looking closely at failure trying to understand where it comes from, how it means differently to different people, the kinds of social/political/cultural/economic structures that impact it, and, ultimately, how to use it as a strategy for learning and growth. Contrary to the trope that ‘failure is not an option’, this course operates from the position that failure is the only option. It is through failure that we learn. We’ll also this year, for the first time for LTF,  become apprentices in a Creative Failure Design Studio we’ll cultivate with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.

Learning to Fail. I&E 252, Duke University, Instructor. Ongoing, Spring and Fall each year.  Online Fall 2020. Co-taught with Dr. Aaron Dinin.

School teaches you to fear failure. Failing will ruin your GPA, prevent you from getting into a good college, or keep you out of med school and law school. It’ll get you in trouble with your parents, you’ll be an outcast among your peers, you won’t get a job, you’ll end up starving and destitute, and your life will be ruined. In contrast, the world’s most impactful innovations – from life – saving solutions to life – changing social revolutions – were cultivated out of, and often because of, a series of large and small failures. As a result, this class wonders: Is failing as antithetical to learning as we’re taught to believe? In order to explore this question, we’ll spend our semester looking closely at failure and trying to understand where it comes from, how it means differently to different people, the kinds of social/political/cultural/economic structures that impact it, and, ultimately, how to use it as a strategy for learning and growth.


“Learning to Fail class teaches students to take risks, embrace failure” via The Chronicle

Acting Environmentally: Environmental Art, Action, and Activism. LIT 290/ENG 290/ENVIRON 290/CULANTH 290, Duke University, Instructor, Spring 2018. Course site and syllabus: https://sites.duke.edu/culanth290s_02_s2018/. Duke Certified Green Classroom.

What are environmental actions? What are environmental protests? How do we communicate protest? How can we leverage the Environmental Humanities alongside environmental protests to help make change in the world? How can the Humanities, most particularly the literary and visual arts, help us understand, practice, and promote environmental acts and activism? How can the stories we tell about humans and the environment be used to cultivate more sustainable classrooms, communities, and cultures? In the face of EPA cuts, environmental justice crises, and the Anthropocenic deterioration of the planet, how can the humanities provide hope? And how can that hope lead us to more sustainable futures?

In order to answer these questions we will read environmental novels and short stories like Edward Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, Linda Hogan’s Power,  and Nnedi Okorafor’s “Spider the Artist.” We will look at activist art, listen to radical rap songs, watch environmental films and documentaries, and investigate the visual and spoken language(s) of recent environmental protests. We will ask questions about race, gender, sexuality, and class in so far as they affect and are affected by environmental issues. We will explore the theoretical methods of the literary and environmental humanities and will put our lea(r)nings into practice by collaborating with local partners, such as the Duke Farm, the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm, Sustainable Duke, Healthy Duke, Triangle Ecycling, and the Durham Scrap Exchange, to act environmentally by creating public—and perhaps digital—environmental humanities projects.

Designing Nature’s Futures: Reading the Environment in Speculative Art and Fiction. LIT 290/ENG 190/CULANTH 190, Duke University, Instructor, Fall 2017. Course site and syllabus: https://sites.duke.edu/lit290s_01_f2017/.  Duke Certified Green Classroom.

How can we use speculative art and fictions as models for more sustainable ways of living? How can we use art, narrative, and innovative communication skills to redesign our relationship with nature?

Over the course of the semester we will “design” policy initiatives, poetic prototypes, pathways for hope, environmental vision boards, environmental communication tools, and collaborative digital projects.

Remaking Nature: Eco Media and the Environment (in the Age of the Anthropocene), LIT 390, Duke University, Instructor, Summer 2017 6-Week Course. Tentative course syllabus. Duke Certified Green Classroom.

What can digital media teach us about compost, climate change, and environmental justice? What happens when we flip that question and ask what climate change, compost, and environmental justice can teach us about digital media? In this class we explore how our conceptions of “Nature,” “Environment,” and now, “the Anthropocene” are cultivated through media(ted) images and environmental rhetoric. We use the methodological toolbox being developed by the emerging Environmental Humanities practitioners who merge ecocriticism—the critique of literary and multimedia representations of ‘Nature’—with hands-on field work to produce a material intervention into the traditional split between humans and the environment. Our media texts include films, graphic novels, data visualizations, videogames, environmental sensors, and digital social media. To integrate practice into our theory, we visit the Duke Farm, to learn more about that compost question, and we actively participate in digital environmental eco-media to explore how social action and activism can remake our notions of Nature in an age when humans have become a detrimental geological force. Along the way we ask questions about how ecomedia constructs notions of race, class, citizenship, sustainability, and ethical responsibility. Class Attributes: (EI) Ethical Inquiry; (STS) Science, Technology, and Society; (R) Research; (ALP) Arts, Literature & Performance; (CZ) Civilizations

Global Environmental Humanities: Global Ecologies, Permaculture, and Environmental Justice, LIT 290/Eng 190/Environ 190, Duke University, Instructor, Spring 2017. Course site and syllabus: https://sites.duke.edu/lit290s-1_02_s2017/. Duke Certified Green Classroom.

How can we seed the humanities with the deep roots of sustainability, environmental awareness, and eco action? What might compost or e-waste have to teach us about global ecologies and environmental justice? How might we use Permaculture—a profoundly interconnected set of ethical design principles that we’ll borrow from natural farming—as a model to initiate more mindful everyday life and scholarly practices? In this class we examine texts, from novels and news stories to graphic novels and videogames, to explore how global environmental issues are registering differently in cultures around the world. Instead of focusing on post-apocalyptic fiction, we focus on texts that treat environmental change as radically ordinary. We trace the patterns, and possible solutions, that emerge when we apply environmental humanities methods to complex ecological issues like sustainability, environmental justice, climate change, waste, energy, global health, and water, and begin thinking ecologically about vital planetary interconnections.

In our hyperlinked digital age, we are more physically connected than we think: the cell phones in our pockets begin in mineral mines in Africa and end as electronic waste in China; the “Cloud” where we save our data now has a carbon footprint that rivals, and will soon pass, that of the aviation industry; the casing of our laptops is made of ocean-polluting petroleum-based plastic. Today more than ever we need models for thinking critically about our own personal responsibilities and ethical commitments as citizens involved in physically-entangled global ecological systems. The culminating assignment is an interdisciplinary research project that integrates course readings, outside research, and innovative design to meaningfully reflect on our individual connection to the larger world. Projects might include such elements as community eco-partnerships, global social activism, multimedia reflections, speculative design projects, land-based art or performance, written reports, graphic narratives, and collaborations with Sustainable Duke, Duke Farm, the Duke Environmental Arts and Humanities Network, or the Duke Smart Home. Class Attributes: (EI) Ethical Inquiry; (STS) Science, Technology, and Society; (R) Research; (ALP) Arts, Literature & Performance; (CZ) Civilizations

Augmenting Realities 2.0: Technoscience, Ecomateriality, & Literature, Duke University, Instructor. Fall 2014, Course site and syllabus: http://sites.duke.edu/lit80s_01_f2014.

This literary digital humanities course interrogates how media technologies and our various layers of ‘reality’ converge to alter (or augment) our conceptions about the relationships between the human, the biosphere, the environment, and our digital technologies. In this digital humanities course, we learn and we make: by creating our own public media artifacts and deliberately remediating others, we intimately encounter the ethical, social and aesthetic implications of the digital theories and technologies we study. Past projects have included programming a chat bot; coding a new digital humanities word analysis tool; mapping EEG brain waves onto piano music scales; and creating narrative videogames. Class Attributes: (EI) Ethical Inquiry; (STS) Science, Technology, and Society; (W) Writing;(ALP) Arts, Literature & Performance;(CZ) Civilizations

Augmenting Realities: Technoscience, Digital Art, & Electronic Literature, Duke University, Instructor. Fall 2013. Course site and syllabus: http://sites.duke.edu/lit80s_02_f2013. *Featured by Dr. David Bell on the MLA Commons site.

This course interrogates how media technologies and our various layers of `reality’ converge to alter (or augment) our conceptions of the body and the brain, of time and space, of art and literature, of data and information, of memory and storage, of cities and networks, of medicine and prostheses, of the digital and (digital) culture. In considering issues of ethics and emergence, we forecast future civilizations and explore possible ways of archiving our past and present digital expression. Course texts may include William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, Rick Moss’s AR gaming novel Ebocloud, the AR films Inception and A Scanner Darkly, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Ba & Moon’s graphic novel DayTripper, Ken Wark’s Gamer Theory, print and electronic versions of Borges’s Garden of Forking Paths, and selected digital games and elit works. We investigate these alongside various digital art pieces and AR data devices to question how they reflect and simultaneously alternately influence our cybercultural hybridity. Class Attributes: (EI) Ethical Inquiry; (STS) Science, Technology, and Society;(W) Writing; (ALP) Arts, Literature & Performance, (CZ) Civilizations

Writing for Graduate School, ESL 230, Northeastern University, Instructor Amanda Starling Gould, Fall 2010. Syllabus.

This course explores methods for researching, writing, and presenting academic term papers. Through the process of thinking and writing about authentic readings from a range of genres, students learn to paraphrase and summarize with accuracy and concision, interpret texts critically, identify rhetorical strategies in academic writing, respond to variations in tone and linguistic register, analyze figurative language, and evaluate argument. Grammar issues are addressed as needed, especially in areas that interfere with the ability to articulate ideas cogently. Students write multiple drafts for each major essay, revising, editing, and polishing their work throughout the process. They also develop strategies to help them assess their own writing during this process. Students are expected to keep a portfolio of all their writing, as well as develop a final critical paper exploring an academic topic in depth.

What is Life? Science/Physics Honors Course, Vanderbilt University, Co-instructor and online Teaching Assistant for Dr. John Wikswo, Spring semesters, 2005-2011.

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       Learning to Fail, multiple, 2018-present

Digital Pedagogy, Duke University, Migrations Lab, Sept 28, 2018.

Introduction to Digital Pedagogy, Duke University, Migrations Lab, Sept 26, 2018.

[2015-2017 workshops forthcoming]

Assessing Digital Scholarship Workshop, Duke Doing DH Series, Duke University, March, 17, 2014, workshop instructor.

CIT Teaching and Learning Seminar: Flipping the Classroom: Perspectives from Duke Faculty, January 23, 2014, workshop co-instructor.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training Forum: Creating Coherent and Sustainable Digital Scholarship, Duke University, November 19, 2013, workshop co-instructor.

Plagiarism and Writing for Graduate School, Northeastern University, January 2011, workshop instructor.

Avoiding Plagiarism Workshop, presented to Journalism Department MA students, Emerson College, 2009, workshop instructor.

Teaching Recognition:

Collaborative Project Courses Faculty Fellow, Duke University, 2019-2020.

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability Faculty Award, for excellence in environmental and sustainability teaching. Granted by Duke University, Sustainable Duke. Spring 2019. Please click to read full announcement.

Duke University Top 5% Award for course evaluations that were the top 5% of all undergraduate instructors teaching in the Humanities. Granted by the Dean of Academic Affairs for Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Fall 2017, Duke University. Please click here to read the full announcement.

Featured Faculty Profile on Duke’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) website: “Flipping the Classroom Fellowship: Authentic Learning in the Humanities” by Duke CIT’s Randy Riddle: http://cit.duke.edu/blog/2014/11/flipping-classroom-fellowship-authentic-learning-humanities, November 2014.

Faculty Fellowship Award: Duke Flipping the Classroom Faculty Fellowship, Duke University, 2013-2014.

Award Nomination: Excellence in Teaching Award, Northwestern University, Nomination 2010.

Teaching Evaluations:

Please click here to access a password-protected page with teaching observation letters, student comments, student letters, and student evaluations. If you are on a search committee and have not yet received the password, please contact me at amandastarling(at)gmail(dot)com and I will reply promptly.

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Student Work:

“Global Ecological Humanities Final Projects: Brought to You by the Next Generation of Changemakers,” https://sites.duke.edu/environ190s_01_s2017/, Online Scholarly Collection, 2017.

“Augmenting Realities – the New Realities That Supplant Us or Empower Us,” http://sites.duke.edu/laugrealities2014journal/, Online Scholarly Journal, 2014.

“Science Fiction Science Fact WebJournal: Quantum Mechanical Creative Short Stories,” http://sites.duke.edu/sciencefactfictionjournal/, Online Creative Writing Collection, 2014.

“Augmenting Realities: How We View and Shape Our World,” http://sites.duke.edu/lit80s_02_f2013_augrealities/, Online Scholarly Journal, 2013.


Published Writings and Presentations on Pedagogy:


“Doing Humanities Scholarship Online: A Case Study for the Literary Digital Humanities Writing Course,” Interdisciplinary Humanities, Spring 2014, 23-41.

“Digitally Annotating the Graphic Novel: Digital Pedagogy Project,” The Pedagogy Project, 2014.

“Digital Pedagogy Project: Teaching the Transmedia Essay,” The Pedagogy Project,  2014.

“Duke Flipping the Classroom Faculty Panel: STEM Flips, TBL, POGIL, and STEAMy Digital Humanities,” The Pedagogy Project, 2014.


“Mindful Teaching and Learning to Fail” Spring 2019, Duke University.

[2015-2018 pedagogy presentations forthcoming]

“Expeditions in Digital Pedagogy,” on panel, “Interactive Pedagogy: A Graduate Student Perspective,” Collaborations in Humanities, Arts, & Technology (CHAT) Festival 2014, North Carolina State University, February 28, 2014.

Duke Doing DH Digital Humanities Faculty Pedagogy Panel, Duke University, February 10, 2014, panelist.

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