Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is a passion and responsibility. I both love it and recognize its weight. In my classes, I emphasize five goals, all of which, I hope, create an open-communication environment that allows for the full explication of complex ideas and an effective learning experience. These goals are sharing complicated material clearly, creating a supportive classroom environment, facilitating student-to-student interaction and discussion, mixing different teaching modalities, and eliciting feedback. 

First, many of my classes deal with subtle or multifaceted issues that do not offer simple solutions. In my International Communication class, these include the multiplicity of different national media systems, the contradictions of globalization, different international flows, and the importance of historical understanding. My first goal, then, is to organize material in logical ways and pair them with readings and assignments that are both pertinent and accessible.

Trust is also an issue that I cultivate in my classes, and I look to provide an environment that makes my students more confident in approaching me with their questions or about the issues holding them back from participating, completing assignments, or concentrating in the classroom. My priority in the classroom is to provoke curiosity about the subject, foster a safe environment for the students to be able to do so, and understand the challenges they may be facing. In these conditions, students know they can come to me to solve these problems together. I am committed to facilitating mutual respect with my students, and treating each other as humans first, then student/instructor second is essential.

I work hard to create a learning environment where students can learn not only from me but also from their classmates. Asynchronous discussions engage students with the class topic and reward them for generating their own real-life examples to illustrate their arguments with their peers. Collaborative approaches to in-class discussions/activities and final projects let students explore more about the topics they learn in ways they find engaging. Once, in my International Mass Communications classroom, I asked my students to think about different examples that technological determinist or social constructivist approaches could use to support their arguments. Thinking through those questions with a classmate made them more comfortable in answering them in front of their other classmates, and that was one of the most participatory lectures I had during the semester. Such activities also strengthen the students’ ability to apply the given information to real-life situations and understand the subject matter more effectively. Moreover, studying contradicting arguments, like in the mentioned example, contributes to their critical thinking and debating skills.

I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all solution in teaching. I witness each semester that not all students in my classes effectively learned in the same ways. I, therefore, incorporate different teaching modalities, such as using PowerPoint slides, showing documentary videos and clips, and taking notes on a blackboard/whiteboard during in-class discussions with students. In the mid-semester surveys, I received positive feedback from my students for implementing these different visual materials and the various participatory learning opportunities. Online discussions benefit those who may need to spend more time on the subject before sharing their arguments, who may feel shy to talk in front of a classroom unless they are prepared ahead of time to do so, and who may hesitate to speak due to having English as their second language. In addition to the collaborative activities and assignments, in-person discussions in the classroom, and asynchronous discussions online, I also incorporate memes – one of the topics of my research –as a learning tool. I apply them to my lecture slides to enhance learning and my assignments as a memorable and unique way for them to spend more time thinking about the course concepts and theories. For example, my students created memes about different media systems, media markets, globalization, and international mass communications theories. They also wrote a short description of their thought process for creating them and explaining how they are connected to the class. This assignment helped students to practice how to illustrate concepts and make them accessible to others.

Finally, I consider student feedback to be crucial for assessing how my teaching methods fit their learning styles. Via anonymous surveys throughout the term, I receive feedback to ensure I meet the needs of those who perhaps hold back during in-person discussions. By implementing asynchronous discussions, I create a space to include those students and have them participate in-class discussions and engage with their peers; in these writings, they may also offer hints about how the class is going and what concepts they struggle with. Adding alternative ways for the students to participate in the subject matter improves their engagement in critical thinking, analyzing information, and asking questions to me and their peers more confidently.

Instructor of Record

COMM 410. International Mass Communications

(Spring 2023, Fall 2023, and Spring 2024)

A senior-level undergraduate course examining the role of international mass media in communications and debates about global questions and crises between and among nations and peoples and the way in which mass media report, portray, represent, misrepresent, and construct knowledge about these issues. The course focuses on improving students' critical thinking on issues related to international communication, understanding key concepts, theories, and practices in international communications, and building knowledge and skills on international communications systems to inform their future work related to international communication, such as media production, public relations, cross-culture communications, etc.

Guest Lectures

Memes as Visual Communication and Culture

Lecture for intermediate level undergraduate course JOUR 3006: Visual Communication focusing on the historical, cultural, and social approaches to interpretation and analysis of memes in communication

Meme Studies in Communication

Lecture for senior level undergraduate course COMM 401: Media Theory focusing on meme studies as an interdisciplinary research area with its various theoretical and methodological standpoints

Spectacular Consumption and Memes

Lecture for beginner level undergraduate course JMC 168: Media Literacy and Society focusing on advertising and commercial culture via case studies of Super Bowl advertisements and meme advertisements

Semiotic Analysis as a Method

Lecture for graduate course COMM 511: Qualitative Research Methods in Mass Communications focusing on using semiotics as a research methodology to analyze commercials and memes.

Interviews and Meme Analysis

Lecture for graduate course COMM 597: Advanced Qualitative Methods focusing on how to analyze interviews and memes for research papers

Interviews and Focus Groups

Lecture for upper level undergraduate course COMM 420: Research Methods in Advertising and Public Relations focusing on conducting, transcribing, coding, and analyzing interviews

Memes, Society, and Democracy

Lecture for beginner level undergraduate course COMM 110: Media and Democracy focusing on the role of memes in communication and democracy

Advertising and Commercial Culture

Lecture for beginner level undergraduate course COMM 100: Mass Media and Society focusing on advertising and commercial culture within mass media

Memes as a Part of International Communications

Lecture for upper level undergraduate course COMM 410: International Mass Communications focusing on the role of memes within the global mass media environment

Teaching Activities and Recognition

Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications: Djung Yune Tchoi Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award (2024)

The purpose of this award is to honor and recognize outstanding achievement in teaching by a graduate student enrolled in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.

The Pennsylvania State University: Graduate School Teaching Certificate (2024)

This certificate is developed to provide graduate students with an avenue to enhance their teaching skills. 

Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence: Course in College Teaching (2024)

This course provides an opportunity for faculty, graduate student, and post-doctoral instructors from all disciplines to share ideas and strategies for successful teaching. It includes discussion and practice based on information drawn from the teaching and learning literature, as well as from the teaching experiences of individual participants. 

Teaching Evaluation

Teaching Observation

"I enjoyed observing Yasemin’s lecture. She was well-organized and effectively engaged students through Top Hat and direct questions. Her PowerPoint slides were helpful and well-balanced. In addition, and very importantly, Yasemin’s international background is a great asset to teaching this course [International Mass Communications]. Over the years, I have encountered international communication courses taught by instructors who do not know a foreign language or have not conducted significant research outside of the U.S. That’s certainly not the case with Yasemin because she is able to draw on her own international experience. For example, when she discussed Disney, Yasemin offered examples from the company’s business operations in her native [country,] Türkiye. I believe that this background is an asset for courses with an international focus, and Yasemin uses it effectively."

Martin Marinos, Ph.D.

"Yas has designed a well-structured course with nicely constructed PowerPoint slides that are logically organized, and relevant examples. She “internationalizes” the topics to fit the course’s curricular purpose. She also has a nice classroom persona – being expressive, friendly, and joking with the students, while also projecting confidence, very important for a class this size. Yas is serving our students well, and I look forward to her continued growth as a student-centered and effective teacher."

Matthew P. McAllister, Ph.D.

Student Evaluations (Anonymous)

"Yas was always available to answer questions and discuss your work if you needed the support. You can tell she really cares about the subject(s) and provides thought-provoking conversations and discussions!"

"This course has been great! Assignments helped me learn by doing, and feedback was helpful. The materials were easy to understand, and working with classmates was fun. The instructor was supportive, and I feel like I've learned a lot about Comm 410 [International Mass Communications]."

"Professor Beykont always welcomes us in class and wants us to share our opinion/ideas about what we talk about in class. The environment is very positive."

"Very personalized and interactive learning experience. I felt an immense amount of freedom whilst still having a great classroom structure."

"I think Professor Beykont does a great job of keeping the class engaged via her lectures and the assignments we do. We have weekly discussion posts and it allows us to think outside the classroom and connect with our fellow classmates."

"Good overall learning experience - lectures were detailed and covered a lot of information in the course. Professor was willing to answer questions and was very approachable. Grading was fair and assignments weren't too overwhelming."

"I really enjoyed Comm 410 taught by Yas. The assignments were straightforward and helped enhance my learning in the class. The lectures corresponded accordingly to the assignments and the readings as well allowing the class to flow easily. Yas also gave great feedback on project ideas and helped to guide us."

"I thought Yasemin set up this course perfectly. the lectures were engaging, the material was spaced at a manageable pace, and the assignments were very informational and exams were consistent with the content."

"I really enjoyed this course with Yasemin. She did a great job on teaching us the different concepts of the class, and I think that the weekly discussion posts were a great way for us to really share our ideas and also see how our classmates were perceiving the material as well."

"Overall, this past semester has been really fun. I really found the theories we learned about to be really interesting. I also liked how the class was centered around international media rather than American media. I feel that the United States seems to be overpowering compared to the rest of the world so it was nice that the US wasn't the main focus of the class. It gave a new perspective to the international media industry I didn't have before."

"I think this class overall really tied my other telecommunication topics together, and so it was very cool to see an overall connecting factor, and Yas brought that for me! I am very appreciative for it."

"Yas made class super welcoming and inclusive by using references that actually applied to us and helped explain and relate the material to us."

"Professor Beykont provided frequent check-ins during presentations to ensure if we had any questions or comments, the floor was open. We would also prompt our understanding with questions in class through TopHat and class discussion. Professor Beykont was very helpful via email, before and after class if there were any questions I had about material."

"Yas is a great teacher. You can tell she is really passionate about the material she was teaching along with ensuring all the students understood the material."

"Yas was very very kind. She cared about me as a student and everyone in the class. She also included humor in the lectures which made them more interesting. She is a nice professor."

"There always was a positive atmosphere in the classroom. Yasemin made sure everyone was comfortable with their questions and answers. She always does her best to make sure everyone grasps the information being presented."

"Yas was very enthusiastic about teaching us; you can tell that she is passionate. She is also very understanding, and it is easy for me and others to hope to go up after class and ask questions, etc. She is over all extremely positive and wants us all to succeed. I am a senior and only wished to have her more."

"I believe our professor created a positive learning environment for us and really encouraged us to learn and ask questions. I also loved how she put our needs as students first since it showed that she truly cared about us and our well-being. I also love that she gave us every opportunity to succeed in her class, it created a really impactful learning experience."

"I think my professor was very open with listening to the students and allowing our feedback to be how she structured the course. Her being so open and flexible with us made this course enjoyable."

"I think our instructor did a great job at using modern examples that we are familiar with to give us a strong basis of understanding for this class."

©2023 Yasemin Beykont