Center for Teaching and Learning

Frontiers in Higher Education Research Seminar

This seminar series highlights cutting-edge research in college-level learning and instruction. Multidisciplinary in scope, each seminar addresses the broad themes of our work as instructors, including the cognitive processes by which students learn, and the classroom context in which they do so.

All seminars are free and open to the public. Presentations will be followed by a Q&A session and opportunities for discussion.

Questions about the series? Contact the seminar organizer, Colleen Craig (

Autumn quarter seminars:

Ian SchneeActive Enough? Screens and Active Learning Classes

Speaker: Ian Schnee

Tuesday, October 9 (2:30 to 3:20 p.m.) Odegaard 220

There is significant evidence that the use of phones and other screens in class negatively impact student learning. There is also a great amount of evidence that classroom response technologies (CRT), like “clickers” and Poll Everywhere, positively impact student learning. Learning technology companies and universities (including UW) have largely switched to bring-your-own device (BYOD) models of CRT. However, no one has studied whether the fact that this model necessitates screen use in class takes away from the positive benefits of the active-learning allowed by CRT. Dr. Schnee’s work is a three-year project aimed at answering that question.

Ian Schnee is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Washington. His research interests include epistemology and the philosophy of film and video games as well as pedagogy.

RSVP by Oct. 8

Ben WigginsTeaching Decisions That Activate Learners and Make Better Scientists

Speaker: Ben Wiggins

Tuesday, November 6 (2:30 to 3:20 p.m.) Odegaard 220

Instructors make choices on a year-by-year and second-by-second basis that shape the culture within their classrooms. Best practices (both from research and many decades of practitioner implementation) can help to guide instructors at colleges and universities beyond the passive lecture classroom to a wider range of effective techniques. The use of these techniques benefits students’ learning and attitudes towards their own potential but also brings new challenges. Dr. Wiggins will both demonstrate and justify the use of a range of methods that instructors can use across disciplines and student backgrounds.

Ben Wiggins is the Manager of Program Operations in the UW Department of Biology. His research focuses on using active learning in large-enrollment courses at both the University of Washington and Western Washington University.

RSVP by Nov. 5

Professor Katie Headrick TaylorLearning as Stewardship: Students at the Nexus of University-Community Relations

Speaker: Katie Headrick Taylor

Tuesday, November 27 (2:30 to 3:20 p.m.) Odegaard 220

In this talk, Professor Taylor will describe a College of Education undergraduate course that supports students to be stewards of university-community relations. In the course, “Learning Within and Across Settings,” students make and nurture connections to community centers and other public neighborhood assets through outreach, observation, and feedback on the nature of teaching and learning in these spaces. The design of the course positions undergraduates at the nexus of university-community partnerships, relying on the expertise and associations they bring with them from their home communities across the Puget Sound region. As an example of a public-facing education design, the course disrupts classroom instruction as the dominant paradigm of teaching and learning in higher education.

Katie Headrick Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the UW College of Education. In her research, she explores digital media and technology in the lives of children, youth, and their families through ethnographic and mixed-method case studies, classroom and informal design studies, and the development and teaching of undergraduate and graduate courses.

RSVP by Nov. 26