Plenary Sessions


Opening Plenary Session

Friday, June 2, 2017   5:15–6:30 pm

Active Learning for Busy Skeptics and True Believers

Presenter: Michael Prince, professor, Bucknell University

Active learning has consistently been shown to be more effective than traditional instruction for promoting learning, motivation, and student retention in STEM programs. Despite this overwhelming research support, instructors have a number of significant concerns about adopting active learning techniques in their own classes. Common concerns include worries about preparation time, content coverage, and student resistance to new teaching methods. This session will introduce quick and simple active learning techniques that are effective, require little preparation or class time, and which generate little or no student resistance.


Morning Plenary Session

Sunday, June 4, 2017   8:30–9:30am

Zest: Leveraging the Power of Curiosity and Interest

Presenter: Lolita Paff, associate professor, Penn State Berks

Zest is my umbrella term for instructional practices promoting curiosity, interest, and enthusiasm. When we’re interested in what we’re learning, we pay closer attention. We think more carefully, make more connections, dig below the surface, and work harder. The cognitive science and educational psychology literature are clear—curious and interested students are more motivated and retain learning longer. Zest is not entertainment. Zesty courses aren’t fluff. Zest deals with practices and policies that leverage the power of curiosity and interest to advance learning. Are your courses zesty? Think about your most commonly used pedagogies. Do they pique curiosity? Do they lead to students thinking for themselves? Are students provided opportunities to connect personally with content? How might allowing some student choice foster enthusiasm? Curious about learning more? Join us for a provocative, interactive plenary exploring the challenges and uncovering practical, research-based, “zesty” strategies to enhance learning.