Opening Plenary Session
The Science of Learning and Why It Matters
Joshua Eyler, director of faculty development and director of the ThinkForward Quality Enhancement Plan, University of Mississippi
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, I will discuss how this approach to thinking about teaching can inoculate instructors from educational fads, can play a role in institutional student success initiatives, and can provide a framework for designing and testing new pedagogies. Learning outcomes are to assess our current teaching practices in light of recent research; to identify areas within the science of learning about which we are curious and might wish to learn more; and to choose at least one new strategy to try in our classrooms that stems from this new research.
About the Presenter:
Joshua Eyler, PhD is director of faculty development and director of the ThinkForward Quality Enhancement Plan at the University of Mississippi, where he is also on the faculty in the department of writing and rhetoric. He previously worked on teaching and learning initiatives at Columbus State University, George Mason University, and Rice University. His research interests include the biological basis of learning, evidence-based pedagogy, and disability studies, and he is the author of How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching (WVU Press, 2018).
Closing Plenary Session
Engaging Students from Entrance to Exit: Interactive Teaching Techniques for the College Classroom
Tolulope Noah, associate professor, Azusa Pacific University
In this interactive plenary session, participants will learn strategies for promoting active student engagement from the instant students enter the classroom until they exit and beyond. This will include a variety of creative techniques for capturing students’ attention, accessing prior knowledge, chunking lecture content, scaffolding and pacing instruction, encouraging group interaction, assessing learning, and promoting reflection. Participants will have the opportunity to observe and experience many of the strategies firsthand in order to facilitate transfer to their own unique teaching contexts, and they will leave the session equipped with a plethora of practical strategies that they can immediately implement. Please bring your cell phone to this session. Also, please download a free QR code reader on your phone (unless your phone’s camera already has the capability to read QR codes). Learning outcomes are to describe a variety of interactive teaching techniques that can be used pre-, during, and post-lecture to engage students with the content and with each other; describe how Marzano’s (2009) “Five Avenues to Understanding” can inform instructional practices; and to reflect on changes that can be made to one’s courses in order to apply the student engagement strategies learned.
About the Presenter:
Tolulope (Tolu) Noah, EdD is an associate professor in the Liberal Studies/Undergraduate Education K-8 program at Azusa Pacific University, where she teaches education courses to students who are pursuing teaching as a vocation. She has worked at APU for over six years and received the university’s 2019 Teaching Excellence Award. Prior to becoming a professor, Noah taught in K-8 public and independent school settings for nine years, three of which were through Teach for America. Her scholarly interests include diversity, academic service-learning, effective pedagogy, and educational technology.