Teacher of the Week – David Kaplan, Cognitive Science

1. What are your main teaching commitments?

COGS100 “Introduction to Cognitive and Brain Sciences” (co-convened with Prof Mark Williams) (S1 2015)

COGS301 “Current Problems in Cognitive Science” (S2 2016)

What’s the biggest challenge you face as a university teacher?

One of the biggest challenges involves finding new and innovative ways to incorporate aspects of my own ongoing research into the units I teach at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This is vitally important because it keeps things fresh and relevant.

3. What has helped you improve your teaching most and why?

Serving as director of the undergraduate and MRes programs in Cognitive Science, and helping to build from scratch the new undergraduate major in Cognitive and Brain Sciences, has helped me to appreciate how the individual units I teach fit into the bigger picture of the overall major. This has proven invaluable for clarifying and improving the student learning objectives and outcomes for these units.

4. What’s been your most memorable moment in teaching? 

Since coming to Macquarie University in 2014, the most memorable teaching-related moments have been working with a great team in the Department of Cognitive Science to develop our new introductory unit COGS100 (Introduction to Cognitive and Brain Sciences). We are extremely excited about COGS100, which combines traditional lectures and innovative lab activities. In these labs, students will explore the basic principles of neuroscience and cognitive science by conducting their own brain imaging experiments using the latest in consumer-grade EEG-based neurogaming technologies.

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