Cognitive Psychology (345)
Thinking (245)
History of Psychology (428)
Office Hours and schedule
Research Interests
My Dog
Class Projects
Educational History
Keith Millis, Associate Professor  

Phone: 815-753-7087 Discourse and Technology
e-mail: kmillis@niu.edu
office: 320 Psychology building


I have learned that active learning and collaborative projects bring out the best in students.  We all want to know why the information in our text books is important.  I have found that it is my role as an instructor to allow the students to discover the importance of the materials for themselves.  Consequently, in addition to lecturing, I give students opportunities to learn in an active and unique ways.  For example, students in my cognitive class constructed a museum which allowed visitors to discover principles of cognition in an engaging way.  Students in my history class also made the History of the Mind and Body Museum and also the History of Psychology Web.  In addition, my students have written magazines that showcase their learning as well as their creativity.  Students have also collaborated with another class to write an edited book on cognition.  We all learn by doing and I want my students to learn in a fun yet effective manner.

Office Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 to 12:00; 2:00 - 2:30; call 815-753-0372 to make an appt.

My office is room 320 of the Psychology building.
Class Meeting times
Cognitive Psychology Mondays 6:00 - 8:40

Research Interests

I am interested in language comprehension, memory, technology, and experimental aesthetics.  I have examined the impact of text devices (e.g., conjunctions), individual differences, prior knowledge, and working memory span on comprehension.  I am particularly interested in how comprehenders build situation models from the discourse. We are also building and testing a measure of comprehension that is based on think aloud protocols.  This new tool is part of our Discourse and Technology Group.  We are working on a large-scale project tutoring project that will "understand" what thoughts readers type in as they are understanding a text, and give informative feedback.   Lastly, I am interested in aesthetic responses to visual art, and using models developed for comprehending discourse to account for these processes.

Class Projects

I like to try out different approaches to learning that are active and which allow students to be creative.  Visit our Museum of the Mind that was constructed by my Cognitive Psychology class.  Check out the cover of a magazine that was written by a student, Lauren DeLong.  Read some sample pages of an edited book created by students in Cognitive Psychology as well as students in Anne Britt's class.  I've had students create games, web pages, web-based storyboards, presentations, and posters in the classes that I've taught.

Educational History
California State University, Fullerton B.A., Psychology 1985
Memphis State University M.A. Cognitive Science 1987
Memphis State University Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology 1989
Carnegie Mellon University Post-doc 1990
I've been extremely fortunate to work with the best in cognitive psychology.  I received my Ph.D. under the guidance of Art Graesser, and I worked with Marcel Just and Patricia Carpenter at Carnegie-Mellon.

Learning Cognition was an edited book created by members of cognitive psychology classes taught by myself and Anne Britt.  Here are some sample pages.

Students have written creative and interesting magazines.  They research, condense, and write up the material intended for a general audience.


My favorite hobby is playing the banjo.  Here I am playing with Katja Wiemer-Hastings at Art Graesser's house.  If my students misbehave, I will bring the banjo to class.  Bluegrass forever! 

My Dog Pufford