Motivating and Improving Learning: Metacognition, Motivation, and the Affective Domain

NYC/Long Island, NY - A Local SAGE 2YC Workshop

Workshop Date: Friday, March 6, 2015

Full and part time faculty at 2-year colleges and 4-year colleges and university, in-service and pre-service science teachers are encouraged to attend.


This is the second annual workshop in the SAGE 2YC local workshop series.

In recent years the demand for geoscientists has soared worldwide while enrollment in geoscience programs remains unchanged or has even decreased. Strong undergraduate geoscience education is dependent on effective programs at two-year colleges (2YCs). 2YCs play an increasingly important role in producing literate earth-science citizens, creating a competent and creative geoscience workforce, teaching science to pre-service K-12 teachers and providing a foundation for broadening participation in the geosciences. Improving student success is an important priority at most 2YCs, but is especially challenging given the wide range of abilities, preparation and goals of 2YC students.

This workshop will bring together faculty and education researchers to address these issues and share ideas and experiences. This year's focus is on metacognition and the affective domain. If we understand how students learn we can develop lessons and curriculum to help them succeed. We will assemble a menu of best practices for attracting and retaining geoscience students and for preparing them to transfer. While this workshop focuses on geoscience education, this year's topic reaches across all disciplines.


This year's workshop is supported in part by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). Dr. Karl Wirth will be presenting his work on How Students Learn: Metacognition and the Affective Domain. He will then work with the participants to develop lessons, curriculum, and active learning activities.

Karl Wirth teaches mineralogy, petrology, planetary geology, and field methods at Macalester College. His geoscience research uses trace element and isotopic evidence to investigate questions about the origin and evolution of the Earth's crust and lithosphere. He is also active in education research, and is currently studying student motivation, attitudes, and values as part of the NSF-funded, multi-institutional GARNET (Geoscience Affective Research NETwork) project. He is also interested in developing the global understanding of science students and has been involved in planning, developing, and directing international programs in Botswana, Italy, and Tanzania. Karl recently completed an appointment as Associate Director of the Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching at Macalester; he was a training associate for the IDEA Center. He recently completed a term as a councilor for the National Association of Geology Teachers and he is the assessment coordinator for the Keck Geology Consortium. Karl regularly leads faculty development workshops for national and international audiences on metacognition, learning management systems, active learning pedagogies, course design, critical thinking, and the evaluation of teaching. Karl graduated from Beloit College and earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Goals


The goals of this workshop are to:

  • Document current practices for promoting student success (e.g., activities, instructional approaches, programs, support structures)
  • Explore strategies for effectively teaching all students; discuss best practices in developing courses that motivate students to become life-long learners; develop active learning methods to encourage active student participation; develop methods to help students develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving.
  • Develop approaches to engage our colleagues, including full-time and part-time faculty and administrators, in implementing approaches discussed at the workshop
  • Foster the network of colleagues who will implement and disseminate insights from the workshop


There is no cost to participants


Room 251, College Center Building (CCB) Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York.

For driving directions please go to:

Please come into campus from the Hempstead Turnpike entrance. The entrance to the CCB will be ahead of you next to the G Building. Once in the building take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor. Rooms 251-252 will be to your right from the stairs and ahead of you from the elevator. You will need a parking permit issued by NCC's Pubic Safety office. These will be issued to you upon registration and must be displayed on your car's dashboard. Note that without a permit you most likely be issued a Nassau County parking ticket priced at $90.00 so please obtain a permit.


Continental breakfast and boxed lunch will be provided to participants


In advance of the workshops participants are expected to:

  • complete the registration form answering all questions
  • bring an activity/lesson to share with the other participants. Please also submit the activity to our online collection. The focus can be any or all of the following topics:
    • active learning
    • place based
    • class project

During the workshop

  • participate in all activities from the beginning of the workshop between 8:00 am and 4 pm on Friday, March 6, 2015
  • share your activity/lesson with the other participants.
  • develop an action plan for the next year - How will you implement what you learned?
  • help to form a community of geoscience educators in the Long Island/NYC area
Following the workshop
  • either individually or collectively implement something that has been learned at the workshop and help disseminate insights from the workshop to other geoscience educators.


If you can, please bring in a laptop or tablet to the workshop


Certificates of Attendance will be given as proof of professional development


JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College;; Tracy Imperato, Nassau Community College

Sean Tvelia, Suffolk Community College;; Joan Horn, Suffolk Community College

If you would like further information about the workshop, please contact JoAnn or Sean

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