Abstracts for Keynote Talks and Interactive Workshops

Keynote 1 (60-90 minutes): Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of your College Classroom will Improve Student Learning

Technology is changing higher education, but the greatest value of a physical university will remain its face-to-face (naked) interaction between faculty and students. Technology has fundamentally changed our relationship to knowledge and this increases the value of critical thinking, but we need to redesign our courses to deliver this value. The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom. New technology can increase student preparation and engagement between classes and create more time for the in-class dialogue that makes the campus experience worth the extra money it will always cost to deliver. Students already use online content, but need better ways to interact with material before every class. By using online quizzes and games, rethinking our assignments and course design, we can create more class time for the activities and interactions that most spark the critical thinking and change of mental models we seek. Sample keynote: http://youtu.be/TbkR6I3v6aQ

Keynote 2 (60-90 minutes): Technology, The Liberal Arts and the New Learning Economy: Create a Climate that Supports Student Development

Technology has changed our relationship with knowledge. Our phones may have access to more content then any professor, but they are not actually “smart” phones. This new access to information comes with an even higher volume of hyperbole, satire, lies and foolishness, which has only increased the value of discernment, analysis and critical thinking. At the same time, students and the public have come to see college as either a direct return on investment dollars and training for specific careers. Both positions assume that we are still in the Information Age and that parents and colleges can reasonable predict the jobs of the future. They cannot. No one can teach information that has not yet been discovered for jobs that have not been invented, but we know what skills employers want: complex problem solving in diverse groups. Can colleges do more than just say they teach skills? They should, since we have actually crossed into a new learning economy where graduates will be valued not by how much they know, but by how much they can learn.

Workshop (90-180 minutes):

Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Workshop on Designing Better Classes

This is a practical and active workshop for all faculty that distills the latest research on how students learn into tested techniques and best practices that work. Decades of research have brought an explosion of knowledge about how human evolution has shaped the way we process, think, and remember. Technology also provides new ways for students to receive first contact with material, enhanced opportunities to connect and create community, better ways to ensure that students are prepared for class, and new options for the sequence of learning encounters and activities. Teaching is largely a design problem, and we need to design our classes for the brain in the body. This workshop will suggest lots of easy techniques to improve student learning while providing a process (see figure) to guide faculty in creating better modules and courses. It follows the design process in the book, which can be purchased with a bulk discount from Wiley.


“In summary, I really enjoyed reading Bowen’s book.  I enjoyed his workshop even more. While I was skeptical when I first saw him launching his PowerPoint slides (remember, he advocates for a technology-free “classroom”), I quickly got over that. As a presenter, he’s very engaging, and clearly passionate not just about his course content, but also about teaching as well.   (He also uses PowerPoint as a visual very, very well.) Kate Beverage, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, http://wp.wpi.edu/atc-ttl/2012/10/24/teaching-naked-book-and-workshop-review/


Further Information

The keynote and workshop work well together. The keynote is fun and engaging, but is a slightly more traditional presentation. The main point is to convince faculty that there is value in learning about cognitive science and how technology has changed the human condition for our students. It is largely about the why pedagogy matters.  There are also lots of examples and tips for how small and inexpensive pedagogical changes can improve learning and often disproportionately for first-generation students. The workshop focuses much more on the specifics of how to think about pedagogy as a design problem with lots of specific techniques.

There is no limit on the number of participants of either the keynote or the workshop. The workshop is much more hands-on and works best when all participants have access to a WiFi device. The workshop work best with round tables. Grouping faculty by departments or discipline is also useful.



Keynote 1 + Workshop 1 (3-4 hours total)

The keynote and workshop work best connected–one right after the other, but they can also be separated or (if necessary) reversed in sequence. The lengths are also flexible: the keynote can be one hour followed by a two-hour workshop. They also work as an extended single 3-hour workshop with a break and everyone in one room. When done sequentially the keynote will drive more people to the workshop: some of the skeptical will decide I am not crazy and want to stay for the workshop.  The keynote is more motivational (why) and the workshop more practical (how). That, of course, is one of the research-based practices I demonstrate—that engagement must precede content or learning.


Extended Workshops (up to 3 hours)

The workshop (after a keynote or as a standalone) can also be longer (perhaps for a smaller group of faculty who are further along).  The longer workshops include more content, but mostly more time for faculty to think, process, search for content and create new ideas.  For example, I generally ask faculty to google topics from their syllabi, and I show them how to search only for short videos.  More time allows me more time to offer individual help and allows faculty to find useable sites.  Faculty are often pleased simply to have time to talk to each other about teaching in this context.


Alternative Workshop Title

Flipping 101: Designing Assignments and Activities for Massively Better Classes


Sample: Workshop Preparation for Faculty

More preparation allows the workshop better to model the method. Find a unit or class topic you want to revise.  Review the Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2 of Teaching Naked Techniques and think about/write your learning outcomes and identify the first exposure content you want to use. Bringing both of these will allow for more time on the activity design.

Workshop Learning Outcomes

  • write a learning outcome and design a module
  • identify discipline-specific online content or organize a podcast
  • find an appropriate entry point and write conditional instructions
  • formulate sample test questions using Bloom levels
  • create an assignment as class preparation
  • develop class activities as extensions and applications
  • customize a cognitive wrapper


Departmental Workshops

Curricular reform can be easier when looking at a segment of the curriculum, major, capstone or an introductory sequence. The department should prepare by articulating its learning goals for the major and for the course and agree on some topics. The workshop can then be tailored to this departmental project.

For example: Integrating your Curriculum

This workshop is best done as a casual gathering with an entire department that wants to improve student learning by rethinking curricular progression and integration.  It is highly tailored to individual circumstances. Sample learning outcomes:

  • faculty will review departmental learning outcomes
  • faculty will explore the arithmetic of engagement and small vs. large classes
  • faculty will develop a success model rather than a weed-out model
  • faculty will begin to map learning outcomes onto curriculum
  • faculty will design a unit of a new course


Administrative Leadership Workshops

Motivating and Supporting Change in Faculty

“Teaching Naked” is not an anti-technology approach, but technology is a tool that is only as good as the larger content into which it is fitted.  The real challenge is motivating faculty to redesign courses with clear learning outcomes, assessment, and serious thinking about motivation and environment; students learn best when we combine high standards with a very supportive environment where failure can lead to change.  The same applies to faculty. We need new structures to help faculty re-evaluate the importance of course design.


Chapter 10 from “Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology out of your College Classroom will Improve Student Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2012)


Integrating Learning Experiences

The next book, Transforming the University: Educating for Change is going to be a comprehensive guide to strategic planning in the post-tech era of higher education. My thesis is that since campus education costs so much more than the online competition, it will need to be efficient in new ways, largely by integrating all of the most expensive things we do into a product that has clear and unique value.  Student learning, and growth will need to be at the center, but each campus will need unique and specific goals. Strategic planning, then, will need to be more comprehensive: we will not be able to think of athletics or student health as separate issues: everything needs to be connected to mission if we are to survive. I will begin running previews and providing campus workshops in 2015.


Further Workshops

Book Discussions (90-120m)

A great way to model the method is to have faculty or administrators read the book and come up with questions for discussion. I can then create the most value on campus just like I suggest we do in the classroom, by focusing on the challenges and helping implement unique solutions.

Cognitive Workshop  (for Faculty)    (60-120m)

Cognitive Scaffolding: Integrating Learning Outcomes, Rubrics and Metacognition into your Campus Culture

Forget about technology. The easiest way to improve student learning is to bring clarity to what you want students to learn.  Articulating what students will learn improves their performance and your course design. Employers are also more concerned about skills and thinking. Rubrics can make grading faster, but they also increase learning by defining your criteria and standards. They can also help move students from a focus on grades to more engaged learning. Rubrics are especially useful for promoting higher order thinking (evaluation, synthesis or creating), and they can help clarify what seem like vague goals for students (like metacognition). In this workshop faculty will

  • discover the benefits of rubrics and integration
  • consider big questions to unify the undergraduate experience
  • define your unique value proposition to students
  • analyze existing models of cross-curricular rubrics
  • work in interdisciplinary groups to write a campus-wide rubric either for writing or critical thinking
  • return to departmental units and adapt a rubric for majors
  • review teaching naked cycle and opportunities for integration
  • develop a cognitive wrapper for an assignment


  • Course ReDesign Workshop (6-8 hours)

This series of work sessions will lead faculty through the design of a learning module and prepare faculty to redesign an entire course (in a blended, flipped or hybrid model). We will do a phone or online needs assessment in advance.  I recommend that faculty watch the video and read Teaching Naked or Teaching Naked Techniques in advance and develop questions before the campus visit.

The most important benefits to using technology occur outside of the classroom.  These workshops will demonstrate how technology can be used for first exposure to material, student engagement, preparation between classes, new assignments and to free yourself from the need to “cover” all of the content in the classroom. This creates more class time for direct student to faculty interaction and discussion, which is the best way to stimulate the change in mental models that is real learning (and justify the higher price tag of our physical campus experience).  The classroom of the future is a seminar, but a new type of seminar.

The campus visit works best when faculty have read Teaching Naked Techniques in advance and I can work with faculty for an extended period of relatively unstructured time.  A sample schedule

9am: Teaching Naked Overview and Clarification of Projects

10am: Work Session on Learning Outcomes, Rubrics and Content

11am: Work Session on Entry Point, Motivation, Testing and Feedback

Lunch: Open Lab while JB does Administrative Session: Supporting Faculty Change

1:30pm Work Session Better Assignment and Classroom Activities

2:30pm Open Lab

3:30pm Work Session on Cognitive Wrappers, Syllabus, and E-Communication

4:30pm Conclude.


The workshops focus on the practical questions of immediate interest to faculty and will be tailored to individual departments and university needs.  Participants will be asked to bring a syllabus or a course idea plus a laptop (with internet access). Together the four workshops will allow for the design of one learning module and provide the framework to redesign an entire course. If your learning center has course designers, I would include them and tailor this course to specific institutional needs (like a new general curriculum, for example.)


Reviews of Teaching Naked

“This is one of the most exciting books I have read in a long time.  I could not stop sharing quotes from it with my wife (also an educator), while reading it. It provides incredible insight and foresight in a fresh and bold analysis of what we could be doing and should be doing with technology in higher education.”

Professor L. Dee Fink, author of Creating Significant Learning Experiences


“This is an important book.  Everyone who is concerned about the future of higher education should read it.  In a highly readable and lively style, Bowen makes the most intelligent argument I’ve encountered about how we should think about teaching and learning and emerging technologies.  It is also a powerful guide to more effective teaching and deeper learning.”

Professor Ken Bain, author of What the Best College Teachers Do and            Provost, University of the District of Columbia


“It’s true that Bowen is interested in creating classroom space for interaction, discussion, reflection and engagement. But the book—part persuasion, part how-to—spends a great deal more time on what technology offers for the design of educational experiences…. Teaching Naked [is a] good introduction to some of the most notable and/or promising types of resources for higher education.”

Mary Taylor Huber, “Books Worth Reading” for Change magazine (January/February 2013), p. 67-72


“Teaching Naked is a persuasive proposal for using technology outside the classroom to free up time inside the classroom for more meaningful student-faculty interaction. Insightful and provocative, it is filled with practical advice for teachers, administrators, and institutions on how to navigate the revolutionary present in order to remain relevant for the future.”

Professor Elizabeth Barkley, author of Student Engagement      Techniques and Collaborative Learning Techniques


“..But Bowen doesn’t stop at merely making the case for taking technology out of the classroom. He also offers practical advice to faculty on how to compensate for the missing technology with improved lecture styles and techniques.”

Tim Goral, Editor-in-Chief, of University Business http://www.universitybusiness.com/article/big-ideas-administrators-bookshelf


“What is brilliant about José Bowen’s well known “Teaching Naked” concept is that it affirms technology as a tool for enhancing a humanistic classroom interaction.

Christopher Conway, “That Old Chalkboard Mojo”  April 1, 2013 Inside Higher Ed http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/04/01/essay-teaching-value-chalkboards



Reviews of Teaching Naked Techniques


“Modeling creative educational practice on every page, Bowen and Watson have given higher education faculty and leaders a spectacularly useful guide to student learning in the age of digital innovation and learning research. Focusing firmly on the big picture goals of a liberal and liberating education, the authors show readers, step-by-step, how to help novice college students become engaged, motivated, integrative, adaptive and even voracious learners. While any faculty member will find this book enormously helpful as a guide to designing an effective course, I strongly hope that it will be used at the program, department, and institutional level. Higher education urgently needs a redesign of students’ educational pathways to better support both engagement and deep learning.  This book shows both why creative educational redesign—across the curriculum and co-curriculum– is urgently needed and how innovative faculty across the U.S are starting to make it happen.”

Carol Geary Schneider, Fellow, Lumina Foundation and President Emerita, Association of American Colleges and Universities(AAC&U)


“Teaching Naked Techniques masterfully integrates pedagogy and technology. Saving you days of research, it identifies novel online resources for students’ first-exposure assignments and software for developing your own videos, podcasts, quizzes, games, and other learning activities. And what could be more helpful than the step-by-step application guide, examples, key concepts/summary, and annotated resources that each chapter provides?”

Linda B. Nilson, Ph.D., director emeritus, Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, Clemson University


“In Teaching Naked Techniques you have as rich a resource for assisting higher education teachers in how to improve their course design, transform their ideas about what makes a successful teacher and most importantly, how to improve students’ learning as has been written in a generation. The book guides the reader in how to design highly effective learner centered courses that optimize the opportunities for students to be successful learners. It includes real world examples from college instructors on how they have implemented the ideas the authors put forth in each chapter. Whether you are just beginning your teaching career or are a thirty-year veteran you owe it to your students to read this remarkable book.”

Terry Doyle, author of Learner Centered Teaching and co-author of The New Science of Learning, and Professor Emeritus, Ferris State University


“The authors provide a variety of fascinating, research-based strategies for teachers to use in enlivening their classes. Every teacher would profit from reading this book. I highly recommend it.”

Henry L. Roediger, III, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis


“Jose Antonio Bowen’s Teaching Naked helped college faculty think more creatively and strategically about the role that technology should—and should not—play in their course design, classroom practices, and communications with students.  Teaching Naked Techniques, a welcome companion to the original, provides updated research on the original premise, provocative new ideas about effective teaching for today’s students, and a wealth of teaching tips from instructors in a wide range of disciplines.  The book offers an excellent blend of theory, practical techniques, and resources for teaching faculty.”

James M. Lang, Ph.D., Professor of English and Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, Assumption College


Other Individual Workshops


A: Developing Learning Outcomes and Rubrics

Forget about technology. The easiest way to improve student learning is to bring clarity to what you want students to learn.  Articulating what students will learn improves their performance and your course design. Rubrics can make grading faster, but they also increase learning by defining your criteria and standards, promoting higher order thinking (evaluation, synthesis or creating), and clarifying what seem like vague goals for students. In this workshop

  • faculty will compare the different taxonomies of learning
  • faculty will write learning outcomes
  • faculty will discover the impact of rubrics on learning and grading
  • faculty will design a rubric
  • faculty will evaluate what elements of their courses most support their learning outcomes


B: E-Communication and Social Media for Student Engagement

Technology provides many new opportunities to connect with students digitally and advance student learning. Create more class time. Use email as a teaching technique to introduce readings and stimulate reflection. Turn your office hours into learning hours (and do it at home). Provide more feedback.  Improve motivation and the diversity of discussion with virtual learning communities. This workshop is focused on student engagement to prepare for class. In this workshop

  • faculty will investigate why, when and how to use e-Communication
  • faculty will develop an e-Communication policy
  • faculty will compare the solutions and problems created by Facebook
  • faculty will explore new ways to extend the classroom with Skype
  • faculty will discover how to create virtual learning communities.


C: Easy Technologies for Better Student Preparation, Reading, and Writing 

Death to Powerpoint! Now what? Technology creates new ways for students to receive first contact with material, but it also offers technological solutions for improving reading and writing. We will practice creating active learning assignments that use free internet content, laptops, tablets or phones in or out of the classroom. Start with podcasts and online exams. Lower the stakes and raise standards with micro tests. Give students more opportunities to write.  Study source documents: now that the human genome, congressional record or the Beethoven manuscripts are available online, what might students do in class to learn for themselves? In this workshop:

  • faculty will search for discipline-specific online content
  • faculty will examine the benefits of podcasts and videos for first exposure
  • faculty will analyze the ease and benefits of online exams before every class
  • faculty will experiment with new multiple-choice formats using Bloom levels and apply them in your LMS
  • faculty will identify ways to improve reading and writing with new technology


D: Reassembling the Pieces: New Activities and New Course Designs

Change is the root of learning.  Technology offers a new way to present content, but that rarely sparks the sort of critical thinking or change of mental models we seek.  If technology can give us more classroom time, how can we design experiences that will maximize change in our students?   Dee Fink provides an excellent model for designing courses, but technology creates many more opportunities to rethink the sequence of activities.  Bring a syllabus and we will examine how first contact, learning activities and assessment can all be reworked using new technologies. This workshop provides a framework and practice to redesign class sessions and assignments. In this workshop:

  • faculty will develop new activities for class time
  • faculty will construct a new type of assignment using technology
  • faculty will analyze new options to traditional assessment in light of gaming research

• faculty will reassemble a course using the time shifting of new technologies


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