Class Size and Student Performance in a Team-Based Learning Course

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Minna Ng

Assistant Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience

Dr. Minna Ng teaches and advises for Duke's Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience program. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Biology at City College, City University of New York. After that, she was a research technician in a molecular biology lab that used optogenics. Dr. Ng earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego through the Department of Psychology. She investigated the perception of faces using psychophysical and brain imaging methods. Dr. Ng received postdoctoral training in the Department of Ophthalmology, where she studied glaucoma.

Within the Undergraduate Neuroscience program, Dr. Ng instructs several courses, including the Introduction to the Biological Bases of Behavior (gateway course to the Neuroscience major); Educational Neuroscience; Neuroscience and Nutrition; and Neuroscience Service Learning.  Her approach to teaching prioritizes cognitive diversity and student collaboration, using team-based methods that promote active learning and critical thinking skills. Dr. Ng's current research focuses on identifying teaching practices that increase student learning and improve classroom dynamics. 

Dr. Ng is actively involved in supporting first-generation, working-class and low-income students. She also partners with local community organizations to promote STEM education. 


Thomas Mark Newpher

Associate Professor of the Practice of Psychology and Neuroscience

I teach, mentor, and advise for Duke's Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience program, and serve as the Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in Neuroscience. I also direct the Summer Neuroscience Program of Research in the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. I earned my Ph.D. in molecular biology from Case Western Reserve University. After graduate school, I came to Duke University to receive postdoctoral training in the Neurobiology Department, where my research focused on identifying molecular mechanisms that underlie learning-related synaptic plasticity.

As the director of the Summer Neuroscience Program, I provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for undergraduate research fellows. My courses use a variety of team-based learning activities to promote critical thinking skills, foster collaboration among students, and create an engaging, student-centered classroom experience. As a co-PI in the Duke Team-Based Learning lab, I study the impacts of collaborative learning on student performance and classroom dynamics.

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