Keynote and Special Sessions

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - Keynote Address
Dr. Stephen Chew


Improving Student Performance by Addressing Student and Teacher Misconceptions about Learning



My presentation examines common misconceptions among both students and teachers that undermine student learning. Students often overestimate their level of understanding, mistakenly believe they can multi-task effectively, and select poor learning strategies. Teachers often believe that student engagement, “active” learning, and struggle are critical to teaching effectiveness when these concepts have serious limitations.  I will discuss and demonstrate some key cognitive principles that must be addressed for any pedagogy to be effective.  Finally, I will describe a series of videos I developed to help students learn to study effectively based on cognitive research.


Stephen L. Chew has been a professor and chair of psychology at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama since 1993. Trained as a cognitive psychologist, one of his primary research areas is the cognitive basis of effective teaching. Chew was selected as a Carnegie Scholar in 1998 as part of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). His research interests include the use of examples in teaching, the impact of cognitive load on learning, and the tenacious misconceptions that students bring with them into the classroom. He is the creator of a groundbreaking series of YouTube videos for students on how to study effectively in college ( The videos have been viewed over a million times and are in wide use from high schools to professional schools. More recently he created a video series for teachers on the cognitive principles of effective teaching ( or 

Chew was awarded the Buchanan Award for Classroom Teaching Excellence from Samford in 1999.  In 2005, he received the Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as the outstanding teacher of psychology at four-year colleges and universities. He was named the 2011 Outstanding Master’s Universities and Colleges U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He regularly serves as a keynote speaker and workshop leader at conferences on teaching in general and on the teaching of psychology in particular. 



Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - Special Session
Dr. Luis Perez


nABLEing All Learners with Mobile Devices


The belief that “inclusion inspires innovation” is reflected in the many groundbreaking accessibility features Apple has introduced over the years. These features embody the universal design philosophy that technology should empower all users to do their best work. Thus, iOS devices such as the iPad include a number of built-in features that support diverse learners in reaching their full potential, including  text to speech, word prediction, dictation and support for closed captions. These universal design features are complimented by a number of accessibility features designed to help users with special needs in overcoming barriers to learning, such as an industry-leading screen reader (VoiceOver) and robust support for switch access (Switch Control).  Apple’s commitment to accessibility even extends to its latest device, the Apple Watch. Join us for this session to learn how accessibility is tightly integrated into the Apple ecosystem. You will also learn about a number of apps for further personalizing learning, as well as best practices for designing educational materials that leverage the built-in accessibility of Apple devices to create learning environments that work for all of your students.


Luis Pérez is an inclusive learning consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida. He has more than a decade of experience working with educators to help them integrate technology in ways that empower all learners. Luis holds a doctorate in special education and a master’s degree in instructional technology from the University of South Florida, and he is the author of Mobile Learning for All: Supporting Accessibility with the iPad, from Corwin Press. Luis has been honored as an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) in 2009, and as a Book Creator Ambassador and a TouchCast Ambassador (2016). He currently serves as the Professional Learning Chair of the Inclusive Learning Network of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). His work has appeared in publications such Teaching Exceptional Children, Closing the Gap Solutions, THE Journal, and The Loop Magazine.  In addition to his work in educational technology, Luis is an avid photographer whose work has been featured in Better Photography magazine, Business Insider,  the New York Times Bits Blog and the Sydney Morning Herald. Luis has presented at national and international conferences such as South by Southwest EDU, ISTE, CSUN, ATIA and Closing the Gap. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - Special Session

Panel Members: Dr. Scott Phillips (UAB), Dr. Heather Pleasants (UA), and Dr. Dan Rochowiak (UAH); Moderator: Ms. Dee Childs (UAH)


UA System QEP Panel Discussion



Details on QEPs Across the UA System


UAB: UAB QEP Information


The topic of the UAB’s QEP is Learning in a Team Environment. With implementation of this QEP, students and faculty at UAB will be exposed to team mechanics and team dynamics. Exposure to these elements of learning will prove beneficial in all stages of the students’ academic experiences and throughout their careers. Without doubt, the skills our students develop through this process will allow them to enhance their learning while at UAB, enhance their engagement throughout all academic and nonacademic activities, and leave them better prepared to succeed in the workforce upon graduation.



UAH: UAH QEP Information


Our Quality Enhancement Plan aims to transform the educational and cultural landscape of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) by placing Collaborative Learning at the center of instruction. This change will increase student engagement in the classroom; provide valuable

enhancements in creativity, cooperation, and inquiry-based learning; and meet the needs of future employers. Equally important, Collaborative Learning will connect students to each other and to UAH by means of academics, replacing isolated students with collaborative learners, a change that we firmly believe will increase the chance of success for all UAH students.


The Collaborative Learning Center, created by the QEP, is beginning operations. In May we will have our first training workshop for FYE teachers. During the summer we will continue to produce new materials for the website and establish procedures for the first round of faculty grants. We will also consolidate the assessment tools and procedure. Ideally we will be ready for the Fall Semester!



UA: UA QEP Information


The University of Alabama’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Learning in Action, uses high quality experiential learning opportunities (ELOs) to improve students’ real-world problem-solving skills and ability to connect academic knowledge to diverse contexts and situations. Learning in Action engages faculty and staff in intensive professional development opportunities that identify the practices of exemplary ELOs and demonstrate how to effectively use these practices to support student learning. Formative and summative assessments of ELOs are built into Learning in Action in order to support outstanding teaching and distinctive curricular and co-curricular programs.  


Session Description:


QEP Directors and/or their designees from each of the three UA System campuses will be on a panel to address a list of questions regarding individual campus’ QEP initiatives going on for each campus currently, as well as plans for the future implementations on their campuses, and how the campuses may be seeking to collaborate on initiatives relating to QEP initiatives and other current UA System collaborative projects. 

Please join us and bring your questions and recommendations to ask the panel. 


Read more about some of the UA System-wide Initiatives: