Books & Coffee Reading Group

Fall 2014

Again this year, the Center for Teaching Excellence is hosting “Books & Coffee” reading and discussion groups for faculty.  Over the course of one semester, the group will meet multiple times to discuss the readings, with group members taking turns leading discussions. And yep, we’ll always have coffee.

Book:  Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel
To most of us, learning something “the hard way” implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.
Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.
Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.


Meeting and Topic Schedule

We will meet four times across the semester on Friday afternoons from 2- 3:30 pm.   And we will always have coffee and snacks.
Sept 19 | Ch 1: Learning is Misunderstood & Ch 2: To Learn, Retrieve | Rags 301
Oct 10 |  Ch 3: Mix Up Your Practice & Ch 4: Embrace Difficulties | Rags 301
Nov 7 | Ch 5: Avoid Illusions of Knowing & Ch 6: Get Beyond Learning Styles | Rags 301
Dec 5 | Ch 7: Increase Your Abilities & Ch 8: Make it Stick | Fleck 306


How to Sign Up

Please fill out this short registration form.  We will get in touch with you shortly about how to receive your copy of the book.


Previous Books & Coffee Topics

2014 - Spring - Teaching for 21st-Century Literacies
2013 - Fall - Getting Culture, Incorporating Diversity across the Curriculum - Gurung & Prieto, 2009
2013 - Spring - Teaching, Technology, and Liberal Education in a Digital Age
2012 - Fall - Teaching What You Don't Know - Huston, 2009
2012 - Summer - A New Culture of Learning - Thomas & Brown, 2011
2012 - Spring & 2011 - Fall - How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching - Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010

2011 - Summer - Current Debates about College Teaching and Higher Educaiton
2011 - Spring - What the Best College Teachers Do - Bain, 2004