The Science of Learning and Why It Matters By Dr.Josh Eyler
There is a lot of discussion in higher education these days about the science of learning
but not a lot of consensus on what kind of science we are talking about or how it
can benefit our students. In this talk, I will explore intersections between anthropology,
psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and educational research that can yield important
insights into student learning. Along the way, we will discuss how this approach to
thinking about our teaching can inoculate us from educational fads, can play a role
in institutional student success initiatives, and can provide a framework for us to
design and test new pedagogies.
Why Failure is Essential for Student Learning Dr.Josh Eyler
Everybody knows that scientists walk into their labs and immediately make world-changing
discoveries, right? And isn't it true that writers, too, create their magnum opus
on the first attempt? Of course not. As academics, we long ago realized that research,
discovery, and learning are lengthy processes marked by stops, starts, and a fair
degree of failure before we come close to success, however that might be defined by
our respective fields and universities. Higher education, on the other hand, does
not often allow for this process of learning to play out. Students are frequently
asked to achieve, on their first attempts, stellar results on high-stakes, high-pressure
assessments. New research is beginning to show us that this strategy does not work
well, though, because it is not how human beings naturally learn. We need to make
mistakes before we can get the right answers. In this workshop, I'll be reviewing
some of the most important findings in this new area of inquiry, and then we will
work together to identify "opportunities for failure" in our courses so that we can
help our students maximize their learning.
John M. Burns Conference: The Undergraduate Experience: What Matters Most for Student Success? (Session 1) by Dr. Peter Felten
In their book The Undergraduate Experience (Jossey-Bass, 2016), Peter Felton and his
co-authors identified six core themes that matter most for student success: Learning,
relationships, expectations, alignment, improvement, and leadership. This interactive
session will explore the research that demonstrates why these themes are important
not only for students but also for instructors and for institutional culture. During
the session, we will critically consider what each of us can do, no matter what our
context and role, to cultivate a generative culture of learning and teaching.
John M. Burns Conference: The Undergraduate Experience: What Matters Most for Student Success? (Session 2) by Dr. Peter Felten
Dr. Felton will continue his discussion of the six core themes for student success
found in The Undergraduate Experience (Jossey-Bass, 2016) which include learning,
relationships, expectations, alignment, improvement, and leadership. Dr. Felton will
also help to consider our assets and collaborations at Texas Tech University, and
how we confront the challenges facing higher education as we consider the relationship
of the themes identified in his work to our institutional culture.
"Get Students to Focus on Learning Instead of Grades: Metacognition is the Key" by Dr.Saundra Yancy McGuire
21st Century students come to college with widely varying academic skills, approaches
to learning, and motivation levels. Faculty often lament that students are focused
on achieving high grades, but are not willing to invest much time or effort in learning.
This session will focus on the importance of helping students acquire simple, but
effective learning strategies based on cognitive science principles. We will engage
in interactive reflection activities that will allow attendees to experience strategies
that significantly improve learning while transforming student attitudes about the
meaning of learning.
John M. Burns Conference Choosing and Using High-Impact Instructional Strategies
Most of us teaching in colleges and universities today have heard about many different
instructional approaches and activities we might use in our courses, but the sheer
number of choices can be daunting. Given limited time with students, choosing strategies
that best promote their learning is an imperative. The research on teaching and learning
in higher education, however, is better than ever, and it provides us with information
about strategies documented to improve student learning. These studies have much to
offer our understanding. Evidence-based teaching has finally arrived, and indeed it
is long overdue.After participating in this interactive session, you will be able
• Identify multiple evidence-based strategies in seven key areas of instruction
• Evaluate the applicability of specific methods to your own unique educational contexts
• Adopt or adapt an evidence-based instructional practice for use in your own courses
John M. Burns Conference Interactive Lecturing: Combining "Time for Telling" and Active Learning Methods
Educators today would be hard pressed to identify a teaching technique more heartily
maligned than the lecture. Critics have called lectures boring, obsolete, old-fashioned,
overused, and even unfair. Such criticisms, however, typically take aim at one type
of lecture: the full-session, transmission-model lecture. Lectures, however, come
in many different shapes and sizes and can occupy an important place in the college
classroom. Lectures are particularly effective when they are paired with active learning
methods that provide students with ways to mentally prepare for and pay attention
to lectures as well as with ways to apply and reflect upon what they have learned.
After participating in this session, you will be able to:
• Apply principles of effective presentations to classroom lectures
• Choose active learning strategies to support student learning during lectures
• Create a plan for integrating lectures along with active learning strategies in a seamless process
12th AT&L Conference "Putting Critical Thinking into Action" by Dr. Stephen Brookfield
In this session, Stephen Brookfield will take participants through a number of exercises that have been found to develop critical thinking across the disciplines. These focus on helping students clarify and communicate their assumptions, new perspectives, and build connections between disparate ideas and knowledge.
Date: 3/31/2016 9:00 AM
12th AT&L Conference Keynote "Teaching for Critical Thinking" by Dr. Stephen Brookfield
Critical thinking involves students (and teachers) being able to identify and research the assumptions that frame how they think and act. Only if assumptions are accurate and valid can we trust them as guides for thought and action. In scholarly terms, thinking critically requires students to make judgments about the legitimacy of knowledge in their different disciplines. Research on how students learn to think critically shows that four factors are crucial to the process – clarifying what the process involves, sequencing it appropriately, assessing it throughout the curriculum and modeling it explicitly. In this session Stephen Brookfield will think critically about critical thinking and review a number of classroom activities that can model the process for students.
Date: 3/4/2016 11:30 AM
John M. Burns Conference Afternoon Session: How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles
for Smart Teaching
John M. Burns Conference Morning Session: How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles
for Smart Teaching
A tenet of learner-centered teaching is that learning is the litmus test of any pedagogy. Therefore, one of the most important investments professors can make is to understand the learning process so that their teaching is intentionally learning-oriented. In this workshop we will synthesize 50 years of research on learning from the cognitive, metacognitive, motivational, developmental, and inclusiveness perspectives into seven integrated principles. This interactive workshop will illustrate the seven principles with demonstrations, discussions, and other activities that highlight how each of the principles might enhance participants' teaching.
30-Minute Miracle Series: Teaching Controversial Topics
This session will tackle how to prepare for controversial discussions in your class that can lead to great learning opportunities. Although controversial topic discussions can get out of hand, we will give clear steps on how to identify, address, and move controversial topics into learning opportunities. We will demonstrate how the strategies will help you not "shy away" from topics that students want to discuss and how to make sure that class material is at the forefront of these discussions.
Using Case Studies to Teach Science
Case Studies have been used to teach students in law and business schools for over a hundred years. These cases are stories with an educational message. Case study instruction has been used in medicine under the terminology of Problem Based Learning where each patient is a case to be diagnosed and treated. The value of the case approach in the classroom is that it puts the subject matter in context rather than presenting the material as a series of isolated facts and abstract principles. When information is put into story form it is easier to learn and remember. It has particular appeal for students put off by science taught in the traditional lecture style. The purpose of the Case Study Workshop is to teach faculty about the different types of case study methods of instruction along with their strengths and weaknesses, how to teach with case studies, and how to write cases and teaching notes so that other individuals can use them This is a highly interactive workshop where participants experience case study teaching from the student's viewpoint first, then they will write their own cases which they can take home and use in their classes. An independent survey of several hundred faculty who have attended our case study workshops indicates that virtually all instructors report higher student satisfaction with this method of presentation compared to traditional lecture method, as well as greater student attendance, and higher grades. Note: all faculty intending to participate in this workshop will need to read the case study on the website entitled: Torn at the Genes. Information about the Presenter: Dr. Herreid holds the State University of New York's title of Distinguished Teaching Professor. He was trained as a biologist at Johns Hopkins University and Pennsylvania State University, and he has held positions at the University of Alaska, Duke University and the University of Nairobi. He has won every major teaching award at the University at Buffalo, and he established the university's Teaching Assistant Training Program. He founded the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science 20 years ago. The National Science Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts have supported the Center for many years. At their website, there are over 550 peer-reviewed cases published in all science disciplines including engineering and math. Dr. Herreid writes a regular column on case teaching in the Journal of College Science Teaching. He has written and edited three books on case studies by the National Science Teachers Association: "Start with a Story," is considered a classic in case study teaching. This was followed by "Science Stories: Using Case Studies to Teach Critical Thinking" and "Science Stories You Can Count On: Case Studies with Quantitative Reasoning in Biology."
John M. Burns Conference on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: "Using Writing,
Not Teaching Writing" with Dr. Peter Elbow
Teachers in all disciplines can give an enormous boost to students' skill in writing if they find as many occasions as possible to use writing in ways that focus on learning the subject matter of the course. The goal is for students not to feel they are being taught writing--and for teachers not to feel as though they are teaching writing. In Dr. Elbow's talk and workshop, he will demonstrate and illustrate many ways in which we can get students to use writing entirely in the interests of learning the subject matter of the course.
12th Annual John M. Burns Conference Morning Session "Connecting the Dots: Meaningful Assessment of Student Learning Across the Curriculum" with Dr. Ashley Finley.
Ashley Finley is the Senior Director of Assessment and Research at AAC&U and national evaluator for the Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Project. Finley's national work, at both the campus and national levels, focuses on developing best practices regarding program implementation, instrumentation, and mixed methods assessment. Her work combines assisting campuses with the implementation of assessment protocols and the promotion of best practices across the institution, including general education, academic departments, and the co-curriculum. Finley's approach to assessment emphasizes the need to intersect both quantitative and qualitative methodologies in order to tell a cohesive story about student learning at the institutional level. Fundamental to this approach is the use of rubrics and e-portfolios as integral components of developing meaningful assessment practices across a range of learning outcomes, including development of students' civic capacities and learning. Before joining AAC&U, she was an assistant professor of sociology at Dickinson College, where she taught courses in quantitative methods, social inequality, and gender in Latin America. Additionally, she has taught courses that have incorporated engaged learning practices, such as learning communities and service-learning. Finley received a B.A. degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an M.A. and Ph.D, both in sociology, from the University of Iowa.
Learning in the twenty-first century has been contextualized by a number of factors that have profoundly shaped (and reshaped) higher education. Just as everyday life has been dramatically altered through increasing levels of interconnectivity and application, so too has college level learning. To meet the demands of an expanding global world, colleges and universities increasingly need to consider the role of assessment to tell a story about student learning across the curriculum. In part, this means connecting authentic evidence of students' learning and skill development (e.g. teamwork, critical thinking, and social responsibility) to the engaging practices that help to deepen their understanding. It also means gathering the right kind of evidence that is meaningful to faculty (and to students) and that can be thoughtfully used to facilitate evidence-based improvement of efforts. This interactive discussion will focus on how direct assessment of student learning using rubrics can promote transparency across institutional learning outcomes and provide actionable evidence of what students can actually do. We will also consider the promise of assessment not only as means to identify where students are at any one point in time with regard to learning, but also as a tool to guide the improvement of students' learning over time.
12th Annual John M. Burns Conference Afternoon Session "Common Ground: Using Rubrics to Create Dialogue, Collaboration and Meaningful Assessment" with Dr. Ashley Finley.
Campuses nationally are increasingly integrating direct assessment of student learning into their assessment portfolios. A significant number of these campuses have worked with the AAC&U VALUE rubrics to help guide these efforts. Essential to successful adoption and implementation of the rubrics, however, is engaging faculty in critical discussions around the interpretation of the rubric, application of performance levels, and use of results. In this session, participants will engage in a condensed calibration exercise that is used to train faculty on applying rubrics to samples of student work. The VALUE rubric for "critical thinking" will be used to score a sample of student work to illustrate the utility of engaging faculty in dialogue around articulation of learning outcomes and interdisciplinary approaches to assessing student learning. Campus examples of calibration, implementation of the rubrics, and the use of evidence from direct assessment to improve student learning will also be shared.
Handouts: Health Inequity Team Research Project and Critical Thinking
Readying Ourselves for the New Core Curriculum: Helping Your Students to Write More Effectively by Dr. Susan Lang and Dr. Kathy Gillis.
Join us as Dr. Susan Lang and Dr. Kathy Gillis discuss strategies that will help faculty members enable their students to write more effectively, regardless of the discipline. Drs. Gillis and Lang will examine the use of formal and informal writing assignments for use both in and out of the classroom. Faculty will leave the workshop with concrete ideas for helping students improve their communication skills, one of the six component areas of the new core curriculum.
Readying Ourselves for the New Core Curriculum: Understanding The VALUE Rubrics by Dr. Gary Elbow and Dr. Jason Rinaldo
Join us as Dr. Gary Elbow and Dr. Jason Rinaldo address the VALUE Rubrics from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and its application to Texas Tech University core curriculum course assessment. These rubrics were a crucial framework in the development of objectives for the new core curriculum that will be implemented in fall 2014. This session will discuss how the VALUE rubrics can easily be adapted to guide assessment in TTU core curriculum courses.
7th Annual Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference, Pre-Conference sessions
"Writing to Think: Strategies that Foster Student Learning"
This session is presented by Dr. Anisa Zvonkovic, Rachel Engler, M.A., & Katherine Gerst, M.S., Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Texas Tech University.
The goal of this workshop is to teach professionals and educators how "Writing to Think" activities can be implemented in the classroom to promote critical thinking skills and enhance learning and understanding. "Writing to Think" techniques are often informal writing tasks designed to encourage student thinking and allow students to develop, clarify, and experiment with ideas through writing activities. These techniques help instructors tap into a variety of student thinking processes and can be used before, during or after class to assess student learning. Instructors have the ability to monitor the student learning process and assess the thinking skills of students. Concretely, instructor can check for student understanding, assessing for example when students might be missing key content or when they need more challenging material. The workshop will also discuss benefits from both student and instructor perspectives, a variety of techniques and activities that can be used across many disciplines, and suggestions for evaluating student writing and giving students feedback (while avoiding a paperwork nightmare).
9th Annual Advancing Teaching and Learning Conference: "66.4 ways to engage students (and 19.3 ways not to)" by Mark Phillips.
Higher education is one of the few things in life that people pay good money for and then work like crazy to avoid receiving." Every teacher has asked the question, "Why don't my students care more?" Some conclude it's the students' problem; others work even harder, convinced they can force their students to engage. The reality is probably somewhere between the two. This session will provide tools to help you help your students engage. It will also include a generous dose of absolution for those days you just flat-out failed, as well as just a touch of humor.
9th Annual Advancing Teaching and Learning Conference: Keynote Session "In Search of Better Courses: Building Harder Courses that Actually Engage Your Students" by Dr. Peter Felten.
Dr. Peter Felten is assistant provost, director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and professor of history at Elon University. He has published widely on engaged learning and the scholarship of teaching and learning, and is co-author of forthcoming books on faculty peer mentoring and on student-faculty partnerships in teaching and learning. Peter recently served as president of the POD Network, an international association for teaching and learning centers in higher education. His teaching at Elon aims to help students think critically and write clearly about the connections between the lives of individual people and larger themes in history.
8th Annual Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference Keynote Presentation: "Evidence Based Teaching: Strategies for Motivating and Helping Students Learn" with Dr. Marilla Svinicki.
Presenter: Dr. Marilla Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin
It is a fairly common situation that the practices we use in teaching come not from the literature on learning and motivation but on what we experienced as students. There has been a lot of progress on finding good practices through research in educational psychology for the last 25 years and it seems reasonable to put that research to use. The focus on this session will be on a small number of evidence-based practices for supporting student learning and motivation that can be incorporated into classes without major overhauls of the curriculum. In addition to learning about the research and the theories on which it is based, you should come away from the session with at least four good ideas, 2 to help students learn and 2 to make them want to learn as well.
"The Scientific Value of Different Learning Styles" by Dr. Linda B. Nilson
This workshop addresses five leading learning styles frameworks: Gardner's Multiple Intelligences; the Felder-Silverman Index of Learning Styles (ILS); Fleming and Mills' VARK model; Kolb's Learning Styles Model and Experiential Learning Theory (ELT); and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). After this workshop, you will be able to explain their scientific and statistical status (reliability, validity, and effects on student learning) and draw on cognitive psychology research to account for how some can seem so useful while resting on shaky scientific and statistical grounds. In addition, you will be able to apply this research to design effective assignments and class activities that allow students to process knowledge and skills through multiple senses and in multiple modes.
Linda B. Nilson is founding director of the Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation (OTEI) at Clemson University and author of Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, now in its third edition (Jossey-Bass, 2010) and The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course (Jossey-Bass, 2007). She also co-edited Enhancing Learning with Laptops in the Classroom (Jossey-Bass, 2005) and Volumes 25 and 26 of the major publication of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education, To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development, as associate editor (Anker, 2007, 2008) and Volumes 27 and 28 as head editor (Jossey-Bass, 2009, 2010).
Dr. Nilson has also published many articles and book chapters and has presented conference sessions and faculty workshops at colleges and universities both nationally and internationally on dozens of topics related to teaching effectiveness, assessment, scholarly productivity and academic career matters.
"Engaging Students in their Out-of-Class Learning" by Dr. Linda B. Nilson
The core out-of-class assignment that we give our students is readings. Yet, without incentives to do so, not many college-level students regularly do the assigned readings. With some students, the problem is not just reading noncompliance but also low reading comprehension. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to view reading assignments, their difficulty, and their relative costs and benefits through the average student's eyes and to explain reading noncompliance as a complex interplay of students' skills, values, and experience and our own misconceptions and behavior. Then, working from this research-based understanding of the problem, you will consider what can and should be done about it. When you leave, you will be able implement numerous measures for fostering reading compliance and increasing reading comprehension.
7th Annual Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference, Pre-Conference sessions:
"Use PowerPoint for Good & Not for Evil"
This session is presented by Dr. Jose Vasquez, Assistant Director, Teaching and Learning Center, University of Texas at San Antonio
We have all experienced it before: a slide full of text that is not only difficult to read but is also boring to look at. Documents and slides are not the same thing. The best slides allow the instructor to be the center of attention, and the best presentations encourage students to focus on the story, not to transcribe the PowerPoint text. Spreading quickly throughout the business community, this new visual approach relies on principles such as simplicity, naturalness, and restraint. Using humor and interactivity we will answer the following questions: How do you create great PowerPoint presentations? What are the new "laws" of visual design? How can you use multi-media for effective teaching? Where do you find these media, and how to embed them into PowerPoint? How can you use design intentionally to create effective visuals? How do you create effective handouts? And much more.
7th Annual Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference, Pre-conference sessions:
"Questioning: A Essential Ingredient to Mastering Good Teaching"
This session is presented by Dr. Audra Morse, P.E., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Texas Tech University.
Questioning is a basic technique used to involve students in the lesson, assess student understanding of lesson or course material and bring inattentive students back into the fold. A poorly worded question may leave the student unsure of the intent of the question and afraid to answer for fear of looking foolish in front of their peers. Just as the structure of the question is critical to effectiveness, the response to a question is just as critical. A poorly answered question may leave the students unsure of the correct answer as well as unwilling to answer future questions. In the workshop, the elements of good questions will be presented, examples given, and the participants will have an opportunity to practice question development. Appropriate and less than appropriate responses to questions will be presented. The workshop will be example driven and will provide ample time for questions!
7th Annual Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference with Dr. José Bowen
"Teaching Naked 1: Embracing Technology Outside of the Classroom"
José Antonio Bowen is Dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, Algur H. Meadows Chair and Professor of Music, at Southern Methodist University. Bowen began his teaching career at Stanford University in 1982, first as the Director of Jazz Ensembles, and then for the Humanities Special Programs and the Afro-American Studies Program. In 1994, he became the Founding Director of the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (C.H.A.R.M.) at the University of Southampton, England. He returned to America in 1999 as the first holder of the endowed Caestecker Chair of Music at Georgetown University where he created and directed the Department of Performing Arts. In 2004, Miami University named him Dean of Fine Arts and Professor of Music.
He has written over 100 scholarly articles for many journals including the Journal of Musicology, The Journal of Musicological Research, Performance Practice Review, 19th-century Music, Notes, Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of the Royal Musical Associations, Studi Musicali, the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and in books from Oxford and Princeton university presses. He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Conducting (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship.
The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom. Use technology to free yourself from the need to "cover" the content in the classroom, and instead use class time for direct student to faculty interaction and discussion.
Teaching Naked 1: Embracing Technology Outside of the Classroom
Technology and accountability are changing higher education, but the greatest value of a residential university will remain its face-to-face (naked) interaction between faculty and students. The new tools that technology offers can increase student preparation and engagement and create more time in class for interaction and make the residential experience worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver.
5th Annual Advancing Teaching & Learning Conference: "Teaching and Assessing Critical
Thinking: How to Make Critical Thinking a Learning Outcome" by Dr. Diane Halpern.
Certainly critical thinking is one of the buzzwords in academia and a life-long learning goal in many of our classes. Please join us as Dr. Diane Halpern, well known for her research on critical thinking, leads the keynote session for the Advancing Teaching and Learning Conference. According to Dr. Halpern, "the twin abilities of knowing how to learn and knowing how to think clearly are the most important intellectual skills for the educated workforce of the future. The real question is can we teach critical thinking so that the skills generalize across domains and last long into the future. Empirical research has shown that with appropriate instruction, college students and other adults can become better thinkers." In this interactive session, Dr. Halpern will present a short sampler of applications from cognitive psychology designed to improve thinking skills.