The blog began as a partnership between an older (Jim Stellar) and a younger (Shwen Gwee) guy. Then when Jim began doing research for the book, he was helped by one of the first blog co-authors (Adrienne Dooley) who became a project manager for a team of researchers, ranging from students to professionals who worked to develop the book and continue to talk in an on-line forum. Now, the three of us have added a third section of short papers that examine topics in greater depth than possible in a blog.
The whole idea of the website is to discuss experiential education programs and learning with a focus on what can be taken from neuroscience, cognitive, and social science research. We believe that this research is showing that the brain is built to operate and make decisions in two ways – in conscious rational decision-making mode and in unconscious instinctive decision-making mode. We think that this dual view, which applies to economics, also applies to higher education. It suggests important and natural ways that learning from direct experience can powerfully complement the classical classroom-based curriculum to improve student outcomes in and after college.
Jim has spent his career beginning as a neuroscience professor and then moving into senior academic administration, first for 10 years as Dean at Northeastern University, then 4 years as Provost at Queens College CUNY, and now as Provost at U. Albany SUNY. In his lab as a professor and in administration he works with others to promote learning from experience combined with classical academics as an educational strategy that fits with how our brains are built. For a talk that puts it all together, look here.
Shwen was an undergraduate in Jim’s lab back in the day before discovering that his passion for social media and science could be a career on its own. He has pursued that career ever since working in a variety of companies, now Biogen. He writes his own blog as well as has other activities that as listed on his LinkedIn page below.
Adrienne earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Media studies at Northeastern University. She was an active participant in the university’s cooperative education program and worked in positions located in Washington, DC and Thessaloniki, Greece. Adrienne went on to her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Northeastern University and is now working in the Boston area.