Session Descriptions


Infusing Science of Learning into the Curriculum: Opportunities and Cautions – Victor Benassi

In his keynote presentation, Professor Benassi will provide an overview of some principles of learning —based on research in the area of cognitive psychology—that have been successfully applied in college courses. He will focus on the design and implementation of instructional interventions as well as on the assessment of their impact on student learning. He will also describe results from a series of course-based studies in which the application of cognitive principles was shown to have educationally-significant impact on students’ academic performance. This talk provides a broad overview of cognitively-based instructional interventions that can be easily used by teachers in a wide range of courses.

You may view Victor’s presentation slides here.

Workshop Sessions

Apply Science of Learning in Your Courses: Design, Implement, Assess – Victor Benassi

Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop for this interactive session on the practical application of science of learning principles in their courses. During the workshop, Professor Benassi will illustrate how teachers can design components of their courses that incorporate empirically supported cognitive principles. Each participant will develop a specific plan for how they will apply one or more principles that were addressed in his presentation on the previous day. Examples of topics that will be explored are interleaving and spacing of study, test-enhanced learning, deep versus shallow processing of information, use of worked examples in problem solving, transfer-appropriate instruction, and differing instruction for students with varied background knowledge.

Teaching and Learning with Multimedia: Putting Principles in Practice – Catherine Overson

Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop for this interactive session on the practical application of multimedia principles to course material. Dr. Overson will describe 12 multimedia principles (e.g., coherence, signaling, segmenting, modality) that can be used in designing any face-to-face or online presentation of to-be-learned material. These easily applied principles can promote student learning, retention, and application of material presented via a wide range of multimedia approaches and software (e.g., PowerPoint, video, animations, graphics).

Prior to the workshop, participants should load onto their computers existing course presentations for an upcoming course. If this is the first course in which multimedia material will be used, participants can bring a preliminary outline describing how they might begin to incorporate multimedia material into a future course. Each participant will develop a specific plan for how they will apply one or more empirically supported multimedia principles in their selected course material.

Stories from the Classroom—Innovative Teaching Enhanced by Technology – Holly Allen, Vickie Backus, and Mike Durst

In this concurrent session, Holly Allen (American Studies) will describe having students develop a webmuseum for a J-term class, Vickie Backus (Biology) will explain how she has employed a 70″ interactive display in her teaching, and Mike Durst (Physics) will share his experience of developing on-line tutorials using a tablet.   Each will highlight the learning principles that have influenced their pedagogical innovations.  Discussion will follow.

Deep Learning Practices: Mindfulness and Contemplative Pedagogy – Rebecca Kneale Gould, Marc Lapin

Over the past decade, educators at all levels are increasingly using various forms of contemplative practice in the classroom. Such practices might include short meditations, reflective writing, experiential exercises, and the intentional use of silence. Contemplative practice is intended to help us — as students and teachers — cultivate self-knowledge and develop greater insight into the subjects and disciplines we study.  Some practices are “content-specific,” whereas others may be described as general mindfulness/awareness practices that may or may not have direct relationship to the content of the course.

In this session, we will lead the group through one or two contemplative practices so that participants can gain a sense of the kinds of practices that can easily be woven into a class session.  We will then discuss the benefits and possible stumbling blocks of using contemplative practice in the classroom, drawing on our perspectives as teachers in the humanities and the natural sciences and on pedagogical research that informs this practice. Our intention is to have plenty of time for an open discussion about contemplative pedagogies.


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