ASEE Presents: Master Class on Effective Teaching

ASEE Presents: Master Class on Effective Teaching

The Master Class on Effective Teaching will provide K-12 and university-level STEM instructors with a common framework, terminology, and practical exercises to develop their teaching in STEM on a soundly neuroscientific basis.

This course will take place in three, four-hour-long sessions over three days, conducted by Barbara Oakley, PhD, co-teacher of Coursera–UC San Diego’s Learning How to Learn, the world’s most popular MOOC, with contributions from Beth Rogowsky, EdD, and Krzysztof (Chris) Kobus, PhD. Scroll for dates and details.

Type: Instructor-Led Course

Delivery Method: Live Online

Level: Foundational, Intermediate

Duration: 12 hours

Credits: 12 PDH

Dates & Times

January 6, 7, and 8, 2021
12:00 PM – 4:00 PM, ET


ASEE Professional Members: $99*
ASEE P-12/Student Members: $49*
Non-members: $149*
*Special, one-time-only pricing in conjunction with the pre-order release of Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn (Penguin Random House).

Detailed Program Overview

Neuroscience and cognitive psychology have provided enormous research breakthroughs over the past decades that can improve teaching of STEM-centered subjects. Yet it has been difficult for this information to make its way into teaching in anything other than piecemeal fashion. Part of the challenge is that K-12, college, and university level teaching in STEM have historically used widely divergent approaches, ranging from constructivism to full-on lecture. Even when using a vitally important approach to underpin their teaching, for example, “active learning,” instructors can perceive a different underlying meaning. This can sometimes result in activities that do little to help students learn. And while virtually everyone agrees on the need for active learning, few agree on what percentage of time to spend in active learning in a typical classroom setting.

Coupled with the divergent approaches to STEM instruction seen today is the widely varying terminology used by university and college versus K-12 groups. Even when a research breakthrough is relevant, it can be difficult to find a terminological framework that everyone can understand and use. The result has long been unnecessary, sometimes conflicting factionalization between groups. This ultimately results in separate silos between subjects and student age levels when there could instead be fruitful collaboration.

In an increasingly diverse world, how can instructors at all levels teach inclusively, so that students of very different backgrounds and knowledge levels can be successful? How can STEM itself be more encompassing of other, seemingly non-related disciplines such as literature, art, and music?  STEAM is a good start, but what does that term mean from a neurocognitive perspective? How can we build from pre-existing efforts in this area? At a time when STEM is increasingly important in today’s world, it is time to address these challenges by bringing a cohesive framework to play.

Over the past decade, neuroscientific research has come to its own. It is now capable of providing a solid foundation for education that can knit together and make sense of the sometimes widely differing educational approaches currently in use by instructors at various age levels. This common framework has been laid out in the textbook Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn, by Barbara Oakley, Beth Rogowsky, and Terrence Sejnowski (Penguin Random House, June 15, 2021). These three authors bring together vast engineering, university and K12 teaching experiences, and neuroscientific insight to create a practical guide for instructors of all levels.

This Master Class on Effective Teaching will provide an opportunity to knit together both K12 and higher academia, and establish STEM instruction on a common, soundly neuroscientific basis, based on chapter materials from the forthcoming book Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn.

By the end of the Master Class, you will be able to:

  1. Define active learning from a neuroscientific perspective and describe the appropriate use of active learning techniques in the classroom
  2. Identify the differences in working memory that can allow instructors to teach more inclusively
  3. Recognize the importance of the default mode network and small breaks in instruction in allowing students to accomplish neural consolidation
  4. Describe the use of retrieval practice, spaced repetition, and interleaving to facilitate the development of neural schemas.
  5. Recognize the importance of developing sets of neural links through both declarative and procedural pathways to enable both speed and flexibility in learning STEM subjects
  6. Practice effective teaching using a case study to facilitate collaborative learning
  7. Identify techniques for helping students to avoid procrastination.
  8. Differentiate between biological primary and biologically secondary materials, and how this affects instruction in STEM

The Master Class is organized into three days of four-hour-long sessions, with approximately 30 minutes of each four-hour session dedicated to breaks.

Session I: Laying the Groundwork—Understanding Active Learning

• Hour 1: Building Memory—How Students Fool Themselves into Thinking They’re Learning
• Hour 2: Teaching Inclusively—The Importance of Working Memory Capacity
• Hour 3: Active Learning—The Declarative Pathway
• Hour 4: Remedies for Procrastination

This session corresponds to Chapters 1 – 4 in Uncommon Sense Teaching.

Session II: Building Common Ground

• Hour 1: How Human Brains Evolved—and Why This Matters for Your Teaching
• Hour 2: Active Learning—the Procedural System; Merging the Declarative and Procedural Pathways
• Hour 3: Building Community through Habits
• Hour 4: Linking Learners—the Power of Collaborative Learning

This session corresponds to Chapters 5 – 8 in Uncommon Sense Teaching.

Session III: Teaching Online and Putting It All Together

• Hour 1: Online Teaching with Personality and Flair
• Hour 2: Online Teaching with Personality and Flair (part II)
• Hour 3: Neuromyths and Other Educational Folklore
• Hour 4: Discussion and Putting It All Together

This session corresponds to Chapters 5 – 8 in Uncommon Sense Teaching.

The Master Class on Effective Teaching is designed for K-12 and university-level STEM instructors who wish to develop more effective STEM teaching and instruction practices.

Barb Oakley Photo

Barbara Oakley, PhD., PE

Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and Michigan’s Distinguished Professor of the Year for 2018; she is also Coursera’s inaugural “Innovation Instructor.” She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineers and the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers. She holds a PhD in Systems Engineering from Oakland University (1998); a Master’s of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Oakland University, 1995); a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering (University of Washington, 1986); and a Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literature (University of Washington, 1977). She has served as Vice President for the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society—the world’s largest society for bioengineers.

Dr. Oakley’s research involves bioengineering with a special emphasis on neuroscience and cognitive psychology. She is an internationally recognized expert on learning and on how to create high-quality online materials for MOOCs—she is a frequent keynote speaker around the world in relation to those topics, having given over 50 speeches and workshops internationally in 2019 alone. Her research focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior—it has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal. She has published in outlets as varied as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. She has won numerous teaching awards, including the American Society of Engineering Education’s Chester F. Carlson Award for technical innovation in engineering education. Together with Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, she co-teaches Coursera – UC San Diego’s “Learning How to Learn,” which is the world’s most popular massive open online course. Her book, A Mind for Numbers, (Penguin, 2014) is a New York Times best-selling science book.

Dr. Oakley has adventured widely through her lifetime. She rose from the ranks of Private to Captain in the U.S. Army, during which time she was recognized as a Distinguished Military Scholar. She also worked as a communications expert at the South Pole Station in Antarctica and has served as a Russian translator on board Soviet trawlers on the Bering Sea. Dr. Oakley is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Professor Oakley is the author/co-author/co-editor of nine books, including A Mind for Numbers (2014), Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Kids and Teens (2018), Practicing Sustainability (2012), Pathological Altruism (2012), and Career Development in Bioengineering and Biotechnology (2008).

Dr. Oakley has proven herself capable of providing well-researched insight on profoundly important human issues.

Beth Rogowsky Photo

Beth Rogowsky, Ed.D.

Beth Rogowsky, EdD has 14 years of experience teaching English language arts to middle schoolers in both rural and urban public schools. She holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership (Wilkes University, 2010); a Master’s in the Art of Teaching (Marygrove College, 2004); a Master of Science in Instructional Technology (Bloomsburg University, 2000); and a Bachelor of Science in Education (Bloomsburg University, 1996). Dr. Rogowsky completed 3 years of postdoctoral training at the Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience at Rutgers University, which has given her a deep understanding of two very different worlds—day-to-day teaching and in-depth neuroscientific research.

Her research focuses on improving the language and literacy skills of learners from preschool through adulthood—as well as taking on such neuromyths as learning styles. She has been published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Frontiers in Psychology, and the International Journal of Play. Her work has been featured in Time Magazine and the Washington Post.

Dr. Rogowsky is on the Curriculum Advisory Board for Kiddie Academy—a national franchise of educational childcare centers. In her commitment to advocate for quality teacher education, she has served on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Teacher Educators. She has been a member of the Pennsylvania Standard Validation Committee with the charge of reviewing items on the state-standardized assessments for content, grade and rigor alignment, as well as bias and universal design. She is a proud alumna of the federally funded TRIO Upward Bound program. Currently, Dr. Rogowsky is an Associate Professor at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania where she teaches undergraduate methods courses focusing on the principles of teaching, assessment, and adolescent literacy, as well as graduate research courses.

Krzysztof (Chris) Kobus, Ph.D.

Krzysztof (Chris) Kobus, PhD is an Associate Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He holds a PhD in Systems Engineering from Oakland University (1998); a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Oakland University, 1994); a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Oakland University, 1992). In his more than two-decade career, he has taught 20 unique courses across four departments. Most recently, he has facilitated the Quality Online Teaching Certificate Course (QOTCC) for Oakland University faculty new to online learning.

In 2009 Dr. Kobus became the Founding Director of the Oakland University Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE). In 2010 he created the K-12 Outreach Program for the School of Engineering and Computer Science that sees more than 1,000 students annually come through week-long summer STEM camps, and more than 3,000 during the academic year for STEM field trips and workshops. As part of the Outreach effort, he also hosts professional development day-long workshops for K-12 teachers in best practices in a STEM classroom, including active learning.

In 2012 Dr. Kobus created the Engineering Tutoring Center to increase engineering student retention in high DFWI courses. In 2017 he became the Director of the HTech Jobs of the Future Program, a Program funded by the King-Chavez-Parks Initiative through the State of Michigan to retain underrepresented and underserved community college transfer student pursuing a 4-year STEM degrees. Dr. Kobus is the recipient of the 2019 Teaching Excellence Award, the highest award bestowed by Oakland University in teaching. He is also the recipient of the 2018 Inspiration Award from the Oakland University Honors College, the OU School of Engineering and Computer Science Faculty Award for Teaching in 2014, the Dr. Wilbert J. McKeachie International Poster Prize for the best poster at the 2013 OU-Windsor 7th Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning, and the Best Overall Paper Award by the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) North Central Section Annual Conference in 2001, among others.

Requirements and Resources

Live Sessions: Master Class sessions will take place in Zoom.

Supplemental Resources: The publication date of Uncommon Sense Teaching by Penguin Random House is June 15, 2021. Participants will receive access to excerpts from the book, along with a complete set of the PowerPoints, which participants can use at their home institutions.

Participants are strongly encouraged to pre-order a copy of Uncommon Sense Teaching: Practical Insights in Brain Science to Help Students Learn and will be provided with a pre-order link.

After the book’s publication date, the published book, along with the PowerPoint slides, may be used as primary source material for participants.

Attendance and Completion

Attendance: Full participation in the Master Class will enhance your learning experience. At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion via email.

If you have questions, please contact