James Cooke


As a teaching faculty member, my research is centred on undergraduate student learning. Our group is broadly interested in retention of course concepts by undergraduate students. One ongoing project uses multi-stage collaborative exams to try and improve long-term retention of course content. Our early results suggested that benefits conferred by writing answers in groups varied by individual. As a follow-up, we are measuring student behaviours during collaborative exams to identify whether certain behaviours are predictive of improved retention at a later time point. If we are able to identify specific actions that are beneficial to student learning, we can then guide future students to engage in these behaviours.

Another ongoing project is evaluating whether we can improve content retention and exam performance by reducing the cognitive load due to jargon. We are curious to know if mastering key jargon terms prior to class removes barriers imposed by jargon, freeing up students’ ability to focus on the deeper, conceptual nature of the material. This project is done in collaboration with Dr. Timothy Rickard in the Department of Psychology at UCSD, and with Dr. Mark McDaniel at the University of Washington, St. Louis.

Select Publications

  • Goodman BE, Barker MK, Cooke JE. (2018) Best practices in active and student-centered learning in physiology classes. Advances in Physiology Education. 42: 417–423, 2018
  • Cooke, J.E., Weir, L., Clarkston, B. (2017) Two-stage collaborative exams differentially influence retention in low-, mid- and high-performing students. Accepted.
  • Han, L, Campanucci, V.A., Cooke, J, Salter M.W. (2013) Identification of a single amino acid in GluN1 that is critical for glycine primed internalization of NMDA receptors. Molecular Brain. 6(1): 36-50.
  • Whitehead, R.A., Puil, E., Ries, C.R., Schwarz, S.K.W., Wall, R.A., Cooke, J.E., Putrenko, I, Sallam, N.A., MacLeod, B.A. (2012) GABAB receptor-mediated selective peripheral analgesia by the non-proteinogenic amino acid, isovaline. Neuroscience. 213: 154-160.
  • Cooke, J.E., Mathers, D.A., Puil, E. (2012) R-isovaline: a subtype-specific agonist at GABAB receptors? Neuroscience. 201: 85-95.
  • Cooke, J.E., Mathers, D.A., Puil, E. (2009) Isovaline causes inhibition by increasing potassium conductance in thalamic neurons. Neuroscience. 164(3): 1235-1243.
  • Mathers, D.A., McCarthy, S.M., Cooke J.E., Ghavanini, A.A., Puil E. (2009) Effects of the β-amino acid antagonist TAG on thalamocortical inhibition. Neuropharmacology. 56(8): 1097-1105.
  • Cooke, J.E., Zhang, H., Kelly, J.B. (2007) Detection of sinusoidal amplitude modulated sounds: deficits after bilateral lesions of auditory cortex in the rat. Hearing Research. 231(1-2): 90-99.
  • Kelly, J.B., Cooke, J.E., Gilbride, P.C., Mitchell, C., Zhang, H. (2006) Behavioral limits of auditory temporal resolution in the rat: amplitude modulation and duration discrimination. The Journal of Comparative Psychology. 120(2): 98-105.


James Cooke received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Cooke joined the faculty in 2015. He is currently the Head Faculty Advisor for the Saltman Quarterly.