2015 SUNY Oswego Symposium on Teaching and Learning

Tenth Annual SUNY-Oswego Symposium on Learning and Teaching:
Memory and Motivation

Michelle D. Miller, Ph.D.
Michelle Miller

Director, First Year Learning Initiative, University College
Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
Author, Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology, Harvard University Press, 2014

Michelle D. Miller is Director of the First Year Learning Initiative and Professor of Psychological Sciences at Northern Arizona University.  Dr. Miller's academic background is in cognitive psychology and behavioral neuroscience; her scholarly interests include applied attention and memory research, psychological impacts of technology, and student success in the early college career.  Dr. Miller co-created the First Year Learning Initiative at Northern Arizona University and is also active in course redesign, serving as a Redesign Scholar for the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT).  She also serves as a President's Distinguished Teaching Fellow at NAU.  Dr. Miller has published her work on evidence-based pedagogy in Teaching of PsychologyCollege Teaching, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching and Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, as well as in her book Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology. She specializes in mobilizing instructors to adopt teaching strategies that leverage principles from cognitive and brain sciences to create more effective and engaging learning experiences.

Friday, October 9

4:00 pm - 5 pm - 132 Campus Center (Auditorium) - "Design for the Mind: Strategies from the Psychology of Learning" -  Keynote address by Michelle Miller - video

Educators are all in the business of changing minds: We build new memories, guide students in developing new skills, and promote the development of values and mindsets.  With an understanding of some key principles about how the mind works, we can use an array of techniques to create learning experiences that are memorable, compelling and effective. 

Attention, memory, and higher thought processes are three aspects of the mind that are particularly important to consider when designing learning experiences. Motivation, as well, is another arena where research can inform practice, suggesting effective ways to get students to invest the effort needed to succeed. In this talk, Dr. Michelle Miller will demonstrate and explain these principles, emphasizing the ways in which we can harness them to promote learning.

Dinner will take place off-campus. If you are interested in joining our guest speaker, contact celt@oswego.edu

 Saturday, October 10 - preliminary schedule

  • 8:30 - 9:00 am - coffee, bagels, and informal discussion (no charge for those attending from SUNY-Oswego) - CC 114
  • 9:00 am - 11:45 - workshop: "Focus, Remember, Motivate:  Research-Based Ideas for Enhancing Teaching and Learning "  lead by Michelle Miller - CC 114
    How can we help students gain a solid foundation of knowledge? How do working memory and attention factor in to the learning process? And how do we keep students motivated to put in the effort that's necessary to accomplish deep learning?

    These questions are some of the most challenging ones we face as we design and teach our courses. Fortunately, findings from cognitive psychology and related disciplines tell us a lot about how to address them, offering design principles that we can use in both face-to-face and online learning activities.

    This workshop is geared to educators and instructional designers who are passionate about teaching and want to explore new ways to refine their practice.  Participants will gain a foundation of up-to-date, relevant conceptual knowledge from the research literature, with a particular emphasis on memory, attention, and motivation. 
    Participants will then apply these concepts to specific goals and challenges we face as teachers in the contemporary higher education context, producing their own ideas for how to create engaging and motivating learning experiences. 

    The presenter of this interactive workshop will be drawing on her 20 years of experience as a researcher and teacher in the field of cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience, as well as on themes from her book titled Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology.

  • 11:45 - 12:45 - lunch - pizza and soda/water (no charge for those attending from SUNY-Oswego) - CC 114

    Afternoon Sessions

    Session I
    Time: 1:00-1:50 pm
    Room: CC 202
    Christine Hirsch, "A new "golden triangle" for teaching and learning"
    A new "Golden Triangle" for teaching and learning. The three points of this new triangle are: "The Promising Syllabus" per Ken Bain; Flipping the classroom; and Barbara Woolvord's combined duo -- the Gateway Criteria + Informal Writing assignments. Using this model highlights a Semester Question, student out-of-class exposure to content material and reading quizzes, group in-class assignments, and discussion promoting Informal Writing assignments.

    Session II
    Time: 1:00-1:50 pm
    Room: CC 206
    Rebecca Mushtare, "Simulations: Course Content in Practice"
    Simulated real world experiences are an opportunity for beginning and intermediate students to connect course content to practice in a low risk environment. Simulations do not require any special technology and allow students to fail safely and provide the opportunity to correct course and try again. Students welcome opportunities to put theory into practice and the opportunity to develop skills they will use as a professional. I will use the "Simulated Client Project" from Art 317 Web Media 1 as a case study to review lessons learned about designing simulations. - Video

    Ola Kraszpulska, "The Sketchbook as a 'quiz'"
    Evaluating student knowledge is crucial to all disciplines, but in certain areas, traditional testing does not apply. While large projects are a standard method of evaluation in some areas, they tend to carry high point values and therefore are considered high-stakes testing. What about low-stakes testing? In design courses "quizzing" can be done through the use of a sketchbook. Through this low-stakes testing, students receive frequent descriptive feedback from the instructor as well as peer assessment from their fellow classmates. Additionally, students' expectations are determined by students' abilities; with criteria that involves both specific drawing standards as well as overall technique improvement thereby stimulating personal growth and self-evaluation. - Audio

    Session III
    Time: 2:00-2:50 pm
    Room: CC 202
    Ritu Radhakrishnan, "Engaging & Empowering Learners: A Push toward Critical Pedagogy in Higher Education Classrooms"
    This presentation examines the theoretical foundations of critical theory and critical pedagogy. Using this theoretical framework, I argue that incorporating critical approaches into university and college level courses may increase student engagement, and more significantly, encourages long-term learning and motivate student learning. Practical examples and discussion of application to all fields will be explored as well.

    Shashi Kanbur, "Promoting deep learning: extrapolating lessons from small to large class sizes"
    We discuss some methods that have been successful in promoting deep learning in  a small class in Advanced Quantum Mechanics to a larger class size in Introductory Algebra based Physics for Biologists and Chemists and to University Physics III.  In the Advanced Quantum Mechanics course we concentrated on self study with students preparing talks and problem sets every week on the material. We discuss how these approaches worked in the larger introductory physics classes. We also discuss a specific example of a high school mnemonic designed to aid students in trigonometry that fails spectacularly in a university course setting. We also discuss possible limits that any pedagogical method can have in promoting deep learning.

    Session IV
    Time: 2:00-2:50 pm
    Room: CC 206
    Jennifer Fogel, Christine Hirsch, Sarah Bozek, and Jenny Rosenberg, "Easy Pedagogical Practices for Student Motivation and Feedback"
    This session will discuss methods that the Department of Communication Studies has found to be useful in motivating students. - Video