Instructors often have a feel for what they’re supposed to be teaching in the classroom. But they often don’t know why. This keynote will provide practical insights, using recent light microscopy imagery and neural animations, about how the brain learns. By seeing the restrictions of working memory, you’ll gain a better idea of how to structure teaching to avoid student cognitive overload. And by understanding the changes that good teaching can make in students’ brains, you’ll gain a better idea of how to help students neurally encode information, concepts, and techniques and move information into long-term memory—the essence of learning.
Keynote, May 20: "Keeping Human Connections Central to (Online) Teaching and Learning: Lessons in Fostering Interaction Online" by Dr. Rebecca Nesson.
Like many other higher education institutions, Tufts seeks to find new audiences for its high-quality education and has turned to online courses and programs as one way to extend the “Tufts Experience” beyond the boundaries of its campuses. Yet the growth of online education at our institution raises important questions. Are we sure we know all of the defining characteristics of our residential or classroom learning experience? Is it possible to teach online in a way that captures those characteristics? While the affordances of online learning give us opportunities to reach new audiences and to teach and learn in ways not possible in the classroom, they also tempt us with designs that seem to weaken the very core of the Tufts educational experience – the critical relationships and feedback loops between teachers and their students. This feeds a common perception that online learning designs are “not as good as the real thing”. Dr. Rebecca Nesson, Associate Dean for the Harvard College Curriculum and former Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning at the Harvard Extension School, discusses her research on “learning experience goals” to guide uses of technology and creative pedagogy that keep human connections and interaction central to the online teaching and learning experience. At Harvard she led the development of a financially sustainable model that aligned with the Harvard educational experience and has scaled up gracefully, has become beloved by teachers and students, and exemplifies how “going online” can help expand access without compromising the teaching and learning goals of an elite institution.