A MIND FOR NUMBERS with Dr. Barbara Oakley
Presented by the Associate Vice President – Teaching and Learning, Faculties of Science and Health, and Lassonde School of Engineering
This signature event featured two seminars and a keynote address by Dr. Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering at Oakland University, Bestselling author of “A Mind for Numbers”, and Co-lead of Coursera’s most popular massive open online course, “Learning how to Learn“. Watch her insightful sessions on the YorkU Science Youtube channel.
Wednesday October 19, 2016, 10:30AM-3:30PM
10:30AM – 11:30AM (Bergeron 125)
Seminar 1: Integrating teamwork and active learning into the classroom
Studies have revealed that allowing students to work in groups and teams both inside and outside the classroom enables them to achieve higher grades, learn at a deeper level, retain information longer, become less likely to drop from a program, acquire greater communication skills, and work more effectively long-term in their chosen vocation. Neither students nor instructors can be naturally be expected to know how to work effectively with student teams. But in fact, there are only a few simple steps instructors need to take to help students form strong teamwork skills while simultaneously reducing the instructor’s own “office hour overload” and ensuring that students receive fair grades for team-related efforts. This workshop provides university-level instructors a simple framework to easily create and effectively handle student teams—a win-win for instructor and student alike!
12:30PM – 1:30PM (Life Sciences Building 105)
Keynote address: Learning how to Learn
Most of us are unaware of best practices in learning—particularly in the STEM disciplines. That’s not surprising. We have never studied it explicitly. Instead, we use a rag bag of methods picked up at school and work, often including practices that research have shown to be ineffective. In this talk Dr Barbara Oakley walks us through how to learn effectively, drawing on her extensive experience as an engineering professor and research and her work as co-lead on Coursera–UC San Diego’s Learning How to Learn, one of the world’s most popular MOOCs, (massive open online courses), with nearly a million students in its first year alone.
- The study techniques that help—and those that don’t
- Why recall and chunking work
- Using the brain’s different learning modes to best effect
- Procrastination—aka “the pain in your brain”—and the Pomodoro technique
2:30PM – 3:30PM (Bergeron 125)
Seminar 2: Lessons from a basement studio: How to make a riveting online class
This talk describes the key elements behind the making of high quality educational videos for online learning, including scripting, filming, and editing. There are many features of top-quality educational videos that are often overlooked by educators, including the importance of motion (“talking heads” do not count as motion); targeted graphics (avoidance of clip art); elimination of extraneous seconds; use of hands; “chunking” of key concepts; why unexpected humor is important; and the value of creating two separate video tracks. This practical talk provides insights from the creator of Learning How to Learn, the world’s most popular MOOC, with well over a million students from over 200 countries in the first eighteen months alone. It is surprising to learn that despite its immense global reach and popularity, Learning How to Learn was put together for less than $5,000 dollars in an amateur basement studio. The easy-to-grasp and inexpensive techniques described in this talk are available to all instructors and course developers who are looking to create high quality online experiences for students.
About Dr. Barbara Oakley
Barbara Oakley, PhD, PE is a Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan; a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, San Diego; and Coursera’s inaugural “Innovation Instructor.” Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. Dr. Oakley’s research 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,” the world’s most popular massive open online course. Her book A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra), (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.
Download the event poster A Mind for Numbers with Dr. Barbara Oakley.