About the National Conference for Advanced POGIL Practitioners (NCAPP)

The idea for this event grew from interest within our thriving community of experienced POGIL educators who have been applying their knowledge and skills in new and innovative ways over the past several years.  The goal of the inaugural NCAPP in 2017 was to create a conference where POGIL practitioners could come together to share new ideas, get targeted feedback, engage in in-depth discussions, interact with a diverse community of teachers, and gain a deeper mastery of the POGIL approach.

By all measures, 2017 NCAPP was a huge success for both attendees and The Project.  Click on the photo to the right for a slideshow of the inaugural conference.

The theme for the 2019 NCAPP is Building Bridges/Breaking Barriers.  We hope to foster connections among participants across institutions and disciplines to create a supportive, inclusive community of transformational educators and also address obstacles to collaborative learning and identify strategies to improve the classroom experience for all students.

We hope you'll join us for 2019 NCAPP and inspire us with your ideas, expertise and experience.  Together, we will improve, enhance, and transform education for every student, everywhere.

NCAPP Application

Application Information

Attendance at the National Conference for Advanced POGIL Practitioners is by application.  All conference participants actively contribute to the planned program.  Therefore, in addition to basic information about you and your POGIL experience, the application provides opportunities for you to summarize any work you would like to present in any of the various types of sessions.  Applicants invited to attend the conference are also notified of accepted presentations.

Who Should Apply?

We encourage applications from POGIL practitioners who have previously completed 3-day POGIL workshops or who have substantial experience implementing POGIL in their classrooms or laboratories.  NCAPP is not an introduction to POGIL pedagogy, so we recommend novices start by attending a 3-day regional workshop before applying to attend NCAPP. All conference participants should expect to contribute to the program.

Application Timeline

  • Early August ~ The call for applications is sent out to our database of POGIL users and is also available on our website..
  • November 1st ~ Priority consideration deadline
  • December 15th ~ Applicants who applied by November 1st are notified of an acceptance decision.
  • Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis from November 1st through March 1st, or until the conference has reached maximum attendance.

Conference Details

The next NCAPP will take place June 24-26, 2019 at Washington University in St. Louis.   Registration is $500 and includes lunches and dinners. On-campus housing is $225 and includes breakfasts. Limited scholarships are available for NCAPP attendance.

Conference Schedule

The conference schedule is largely dependent on the accepted applicants and the types of sessions they are interested in participating in and/or presenting.  Therefore, the conference schedule for 2019 NCAPP will be a work in progress through the spring of 2019.  If you'd like a feel for the overall types and balance of session, check out our 2017 NCAPP schedule as an example.

Plenary Speakers

The plenary speakers for 2019 NCAPP will include Dr. Michael J. Bruno, North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics; Dr Sylvia Hurtado, UCLA, and Dr. Susan Shadle, Boise State University.  Other speakers, TBA.

Michael J. Bruno, Ph.D., grew up in Connecticut, and received an A.B. in Chemistry from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cornell University. At Cornell, he studied changes in membrane elasticity caused by polyunsaturated fatty acids. As a post-doc at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, he studied the role of membrane curvature on synaptic vesicle fusion. At UNC, he was a fellow in the SPIRE fellowship program, which combines research support and community service with an emphasis on minority careers in academic science. It was as a SPIRE fellow that he became interested in active learning. He was first introduced to POGIL as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Guilford College. He is currently an Instructor of Chemistry at the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics, a public residential high school for talented students, where he uses POGIL to teach chemistry and biochemistry, and has introduced the practice to many of his colleagues who now incorporate the pedagogy into their own classrooms.

Sylvia Hurtado, Ph.D., is a Professor of Education and was Director of the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles for over a decade. She has written extensively on student development and college experiences, campus climate, and diversity in higher education. She is co-editor of two recent books that won awards for academic-themed nonfiction from the International Latino Book Awards: Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Advancing Research and Transformative Practice(2015, Routledge Press) and The Magic Key: The Educational Journey of Mexican Americans from K-12 to College and Beyond (2015, University of Texas Press). She received the 2018 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association, was named an AERA Fellow in 2011, and served as President of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in 2005. Black Issues in Higher Education (Diverse magazine), named her among the Top 15 influential faculty who personify scholarship, service, and integrity and whose work has had a substantial impact on the academy. She has led several national projects on diverse learning environments and student retention, STEM education and diversification of the scientific workforce, and innovation in undergraduate education.

Susan E. Shadle, Ph.D. is founding Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Boise State University. She arrived at Boise State in 1996 with an undergraduate degree from Colgate University, a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Stanford University, and a National Institute of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.Shadle teaches large-enrollment general chemistry courses and was recognized as the Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year from Idaho in Fall 2015. In addition, she supports faculty development across campus focused on inclusive excellence, effective course design, assessment of student learning, and the development of rich pedagogical toolboxes. She contributes professionally to both the national POGIL Project (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning), the POD Network (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education), and the Accelerating Systemic Change Network (ASCN). Her scholarly interests are focused on factors that impact faculty and institutional change. Rick Moog has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry and is a Professor of Chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College.  He is the Director of The POGIL Project and was recently honored with both the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry and the George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education from the American Chemical Society.  He has used a guided inquiry approach to teaching chemistry since 1994, and is the co-author of POGIL materials for general chemistry and physical chemistry.  He is also co-author of several journal articles and book chapters concerning POGIL, and the co-editor of the ACS Symposium Series book Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning.

Author Coaching

Author coaching is an opportunity to examine your pre-written POGIL activities with an experienced POGIL activity author.  Based on your needs, the time may be spent on looking at your activity's application to the learning cycle; seeking helpful suggestions on writing questions from the model, discussing methods to make the model more robust, etc.  In a one-on-one session, you will meet with your coach once early in the conference for 20-30 minutes, and again on the last day.  Those who participate in author coaching may be asked to share your activities with your coach before the conference begins. 

What does an author coaching session look like?  You and your coach will meet one-on-one in a informal setting.

Birds of a Feather Gatherings

Birds of a feather gatherings, also known as idea exchanges or networking tables, will be organized as part of the conference program. They are relatively small and informal discussion-based gatherings, aimed at building networks and exploring ideas. Although similar in length as a roundtable, this is the only session type for which there is NO formal presentation, instead the facilitators ensure that there is time for introductions among those in attendance and come with questions or ideas to spark discussion around a particular topic area. The information in the 'abstract' section for the session should indicate the topic to be explored, why the topic is of likely interest to a subset of attendees, and a key guiding question to be raised during the session.

What does a Birds of a Feather Session look like? At the beginning of the exchange, the facilitator will welcome attendees and ask each to introduce her or himself and to note their interest in the topic. The facilitator will likely pose a thought-provoking question or challenge, and from there those in attendance are encouraged to share and discuss, to network, and to learn one from another. It is a 'meeting of the minds' and the time together will be whatever you make of it. There is no formal presentation.


Fishbowls are 45-minute classroom simulations.  In this session, the presenter will facilitate an activity of their choice for 20 minutes. Participants will also have the opportunity to serve as an observer and a student during the session. All participants of the conferences will be involved in the fishbowls either as as activity facilitator, students, or observers. The presenter of the activity will be selected through the application process. These sessions are designed to assist both presenter and participants in improving facilitation skills. This experience will provide participants a number of different perspectives to reflect on, including how different strate­gies impact the effectiveness of POGIL activities. 

What does a fishbowl session look like? Prior to the beginning of the conference, fishbowl presenters will be asked to complete the Fishbowl Activ­ity Form and submit the activity. This includes information about the intended student population, place in the curriculum, and prerequisite knowledge. This form also includes: one clearly stated content goal that can be achieved by “students” within 20 minutes and one clearly stated process skills goal. The skill area (teamwork, management, assessment, communication) should be indicated in a parenthetical at the end of the goal.  At the start of the session, a moderator will set up the fishbowl, separating the participants into fish and observers. For the first half of the 45-minute session, you will conduct an activity as if you will have regular students, with attendees acting as students and observers.  Afterwards, the moderator will facilitate a discussion about the strengths of your facilitation, missed opportunities and any insights they gained from their perspective.


Presentation ideas submitted individually will be grouped with others on a common theme and will be allocated 15 minutes as part of a 45-minute session. Suitable topics range widely, including best practices, methodology, facilitation, curriculum, NGSS, scholarly work, etc. Abstracts should detail the focus of the presentation and the way(s) in which it relates to the student-centered learning.  

What does a forum look like? Forums include two presentations on a common theme in a 45-minute session. A moderator will welcome the audience and coordinate the session including keeping time throughout. Each presenter will have approximately 15 minutes to present and discuss the key points of his or her work. The two presenters scheduled in the session are encouraged to communicate about how the session will run in order to maximize interaction with attendees. The moderator will then facilitate a question-and-answer period during which audience questions and discussion points are invited. Forum presenters usually supplement their presentations with audio visual aids illustrating their key points and a computer, LCD projector, and screen are provided in each room in which presentations are held.

Informal Networking

This time is designed to provide participants with a chance to network and work on collaborative projects in a variety of settings.  In order to facilitate this process, organizers and participants will create sign up lists for projects as well as fun and interesting activities. These activities provide an opportunity to expand your network and develop new collaborations and projects in an informal setting.  These activities can be on or off campus and could include a planning meeting for a research project, a shopping trip, a walk, an athletic activity, a museum visit or a chocolate factory tour.  If you have an idea for a project or activity, do a bit of research before the conference so you can take the lead in making it happen.  

Panel Discussion


This formal graphic presentation of your topic, displayed on poster board, offers an excellent opportunity for gathering detailed feedback on your work and reporting on evaluation results. Like a forum presentation, a poster abstract should detail the focus of the presentation and the way(s) in which it contributes to the body of knowledge. The conference provides the tri-fold display boards and pins for posters while presenters provide all items to be attached to the boards.

What does a poster exhibition look like? All posters are presented during one of the poster sessions throughout the conference. Posters are presented on tri-fold display boards placed on tables throughout the room. Poster presenters stand beside their posters and discuss their work one-on-one or in small groups with attendees. Most attendees meander through the posters, stopping to review or discuss those that pique their interest. Some poster presenters supplement their posters with a handout that summarizes their work and provides contact information for further follow-up. 


Present-a-Model sessions (by invitation only) provide a dynamic forum among presenters, a facilitator, and the audience, intended to encourage discussion and sharing of multiple perspectives. Each interactive mini-poster session features 2-3 posters with a common theme or centered on a narrow topic, such as designing SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) projects, best practices, curricular design, etc. In the first part of the session, each presenter engages the audience in the learning cycle as they describe a problem, practice, or project that merits dissemination and can generate discussion and collaboration amongst colleagues. During the second part of the session, a conference moderator will lead the audience and authors in an informal discussion of the posters and the broader topical area. If your work is less suited for this discussion-oriented poster session, consider a traditional poster session.

What does a Present-a-Model session look like? Presenters should have their poster set up in the room on tack boards in the room. Poster presenters stand beside their posters and discuss their work one-on-one or in small groups with attendees for 15 minutes. In the last 30 minutes, the session will more closely resemble a panel discussion. The presenters will respond to each other and to audience inquiries.

Professional Development Workshops

As part of 90-minute sessions taking place during the conference, professional development workshops provide instructors from both high schools and colleges/universities with an opportunity to obtain professional development and to gain new insights into teaching and learning. Professional Development POGIL workshops will be presented by a trained facilitator who is expected to have significant experience both presenting and in the subject area. Workshops will be selected by The POGIL Project from recently developed advanced workshops.

What does a professional development workshop look like? Professional Development Workshops are 90 minutes in length. Participants work together in small groups on facilitated activities designed for interactive learning. Participants receive take-home materials and have an opportunity for interaction with the facilitator and their peers.


Roundtables are 45-minute discussions with attendees seated facing each other. Roundtable presentations typically include 5-15 minutes of presentation, followed by 30-40 minutes of discussion and feedback. Roundtable presenters should bring targeted questions to pose to others at the table in order to learn from and with those attending. Roundtable presentations are among the most flexible format offered at the conference, and may look quite different from session to session. The one thing that they have in common is that each allows for extended discussion among a small group. Roundtables are excellent venues for giving and receiving targeted feedback, engaging in in-depth discussions, and meeting colleagues with similar interests. Topics may include, but should not be limited to group formation, classroom management, metacognition research, feedback on SOTL research projects, facilitation issues, writing activities. The abstract should detail the focus of the presentation.

What does a roundtable session look like? When you walk into a roundtable room you will find the room set up to face one another. When the session begins, the presenters offer their presentation to those seated at their table. Each presenter will be supported by a moderator to include an extended discussion component with ample time for questions. Roundtables typically don’t have traditional audio-visual aids available and most roundtable presenters bring handouts illustrating their work. Roundtables are excellent venues for getting targeted feedback, engaging in in-depth discussions, and meeting colleagues with similar interests. While your attendees may be eager with questions, it is useful to have one or two prepared questions at the ready that you can use, if needed, to stimulate the discussion. Questions need not only be for you as the presenter, they may also be directed to the attendees at the session, encouraging their participation, feedback, and the sharing of lessons learned.