NEU 300 Neurobiology

Summer 2020

Part 1: Course Information

Online from May 13 through August 14

Course content located on Desire to Learn and Microsoft Class Teams.

3 credits


NEU 300 will allow you to explore how the mammalian nervous system functions. In order to provide insight into experiences like vision, taste, stress, fear, learning, and social bonding, the course will begin by examining basic properties of the cells that make up your nervous system and build to analyzing research data and drawing big picture conclusions about nervous system function.


At the end of the course, NEU 300 students will be able to

  • Use the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning to draw conclusions from primary literature graphs
  • Predict results of experiments and manipulations based on neuroscience concepts and content presented in the course
  • Communicate science accurately in small group discussions
  • Practice being a strong, reliable team member
  • Evaluate self-learning via metacognitive reflections

Required Textbook

Bear, M., B. Connors, M. Paradiso. Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, 4th edition, Williams & Wilkins, 2015. ISBN number: 9780781778176.


As your read through the syllabus, you will encounter a number of tech terms that may not (yet) be familiar to you. Words like Channel and Tab refer to specific places in the Class Team. Don’t get concerned if this seems like a lot to take in right off the bat! We will use the beginning of the semester to get used to navigating the course. There are How To documents once you get into the class. You can start by reviewing the Technology Terminology page on the digital syllabus. No one is going to lose points because they are struggling with the technology. I am very excited about the Class Teams setup, and I think it provides an active and engaging learning space for our course!

Learning Management Systems (Online Classrooms)

We will be using two Learning Management Systems in NEU 300: Desire 2 Learn and Microsoft Class Teams.

You should consistently check your D2L email (or forward your D2L email to your MSU email

Desire 2 Learn (D2L)

D2L will be used for the following course components:

  • Gradebook
  • Discussion Forums
  • Exams

RECOMMENDATION: Forward your D2L email to your MSU Account

Microsoft Class Teams

Microsoft Class Teams is a tool that is a part of the Office 365 suite of apps made available to all MSU students, staff, and faculty.

Class Teams will be used for the following course components:

  • Scheduling and organizing of assignments (Problem Sets, Learning Reflections, Synthesis Question Revisions)
  • Distribution of all handouts (Learning Objectives, Case Studies, Synthesis Questions)
  • Review videos and web lessons
  • Collaborative chat space with classmates
  • Private chat with me

All announcements, updates, and other information will be shared through the General Channel in Class Teams. It is recommended that students review their notification settings to make sure announcements are not missed. The mobile app does a great job of alerting when there are new posts! For assignments, each student gets their own copy of the document.

Technical Assistance

The first week will be learning how to navigate. I do not expect anyone to be an expert in these technologies! You will learn and succeed in the course!

If you need technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem, you can:

Part 2: Instructor Information

Instructor: Dr. Casey Henley (Dr. Henley or Dr. H)

Office: 207 Giltner Hall

About Me

My name is Dr. Henley (or Dr. H), and I am the Director of Online Programs in the Neuroscience Program. I have been the primary instructor for NEU 300 for 4 years but have played a role in the course for much longer than that. I assisted with the course during my post-doc and graduate school and was even an undergraduate learning assistant after taking the course myself! I love teaching this class and hope we can all have a great experience this summer!

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Course Assistant

Nikhil Pasula, a recent MSU graduate, will be our course assistant for the summer. Nikhil has quite a bit of experience assisting with the course, and I am very excited to be working with him again! Make sure to reach out to Nikhil with any questions, comments, or concerns throughout the semester. 

Pronouns: he/him/his

Contact Information

Class Teams Private Chat

Instead of communicating by email, I ask all students to ask me questions via the Chat tool in the Class Teams. Only you and I can see the content in a private chat. I will address any grading or emergency questions as soon as possible. To improve our communication, I ask that at the beginning of your message, you use one (or more, as appropriate) of the following keywords:

  • Content – for questions on course material
  • Grading – for grading questions or concerns
  • Emergency – for any circumstance that affects your ability to proceed with course material
  • General – for topics such as D2L issues (contact tech support first), team issues, or other miscellaneous things that might pop up

IMPORTANT: Please review your notification settings within the Class Team, so you receive notifications when I reply.

Response time

I will do my best to answer questions posted within the private chat within the following time frames:

  • For Emergency topics: as soon as possible
  • For Content, Grading, and General topics: within 48 hours


Updates and information will often be posted within the Class Team. Please make sure you review your notification settings, and check your “Activity” tab in the upper left-hand corner of your Teams app.


  • If you have questions about the problem set content, please post in the Unit Channel Conversations Tab first. Work collaboratively with your classmates. If you feel your question is not answered sufficiently there, please ask me in your private chat.
  • If you have questions or concerns about grades, please create a message in your private chat with the keyword “Grading.”
  • If you are having issues with D2L or Teams, please contact MSU Tech Support

Part 3: Course Structure


Neurobiology is divided into Units. For each unit, you will be expected to complete an assigned reading in the textbook, interact with classmates in a discussion forum, submit a problem set assignment, review the week’s material, and submit a learning reflection. As a 3-credit, 14-week course, you should plan to spend about 9-10 hours each week on course material. This should look like 2-3 hours to complete the prep material (reading and problem set), 3 hours to complete the discussion (original synthesis question post and replies), 2 hours to revise your synthesis question response, and 2 hours to review the material. Problem set and synthesis questions are often complex, requiring you to analyze data or find information outside of the text. Despite this, you should not spend significantly more time than outlined above on the assignment. If you get stuck, give it your best shot.

Important Information

The assignments are challenging, but educational research shows that when students generate answers to novel problems (like those seen in the problem sets and synthesis questions), it requires higher-order thinking about previously learned material (e.g. from the readings). Recalling learned information strengthens the memory of that content and increases the ability to remember it later. By creating answers, you are actively engaging with the material and not simply receiving knowledge passively, which is often forgotten.

It is also important to know that even if you get the problem set answers incorrect on your initial try, you have still retrieved important knowledge, making connections between old and new information. Additionally, when errors are made initially, as long as those are corrected through feedback (from the video reviews), the errors are not learned. Learning should not be effortless and errorless, but corrective feedback is a necessary step. Embrace the difficulties in the class knowing that they are solidifying your neuroscience knowledge.

Commercialized Lecture Notes

Students may not post recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class without the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings. Please see Course Policies for more information.

The Unit

Each student will be assigned to a team of approximately 10 students.

A unit consists of

  • Learning Objectives
  • Checklist
  • Reading assignments and mini-lectures
  • A case study
  • A problem set assignment
  • Team discussion
  • Synthesis Question Revision
  • Help forum
  • Review videos

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives outline the tasks you should be able to complete in preparation for the exam. They are not part of the assignments. There is nothing to submit for a grade, but it is highly recommended that you use the learning objectives to test your knowledge as you study. Each exam question will test a learning objective skill.


Use the checklists to make sure you are completing all the required work for the unit. You can download the document to check off each item.


Each unit will have a reading assignment from the textbook that gives background information needed for completing the problem set assignments.

Case Study

Each unit will start with a short case study about a patient. Use the content gained through the reading and problem set assignment to diagnose the individual.

Problem Sets

Problem set documents will be accessed through the Assignment Tab in the General Channel within Class Teams. You can edit your answers directly on the Word document. However, these are NOT assignments that must be submitted for a grade. The problem sets will allow you to engage with the science and develop an understanding of the material; the problem sets will lead you in the right direction for answering the discussion prompts. Use the problem sets to help you form answers for the discussion forum. Exams will cover the problem set material

Team Discussion

Synthesis Questions related to the problem set material will be posted as prompts for each weekly discussion. Each student will generate a response to the prompt questions. Acceptable responses will require that you have gone through the entire problem set. After posting the initial response, you will be able to view responses posted by teammates, and you will then post replies to at least two teammates.

The initial Synthesis Question discussion post will be graded on effort.  A random set of questions will be selected for grading for each discussion. Grading will be based on a serious attempt at answering the question. The answer does not need to be correct to receive points, but if it is determined that the given answers do not show an adequate attempt at a response, points will be lost.

Replies to teammates will be based on a rubric that measures both content – correct information, citations, grammar, conciseness, clarity – and teamwork – positive attitude, good listening, reliability. Your posts need to reflect that you have thought about the topic in order to receive points.

One discussion forum post and one pair of discussion forum replies will be dropped from the final grade

Read about Discussion Forum Expectations (must have MSU NetID).

Help Forum

Each unit will also have a help forum for students to ask (and answer!) questions about the problem set questions directly. This will be located in the Conversations Tab of the Unit channels in the Class Teams. If you have a question about the material, most likely someone else does too, so the help forum is there to provide assistance to everyone. Post your questions, but make sure you are specific:

  • What problem set question are you referring to?
  • What do you understand about the question?
  • Where do you need help?

Students are highly encouraged to jump in an answer questions in the help forum. Although participation in the help forum is not required, by answering questions posted by others you are

  • Solidifying the content for your own learning
  • Helping to build our learning community
  • Earning yourself “good neighbor” points

What are good neighbor points? Well, they are not extra points or extra credit for the course. But they are special incentives that could boost your grade at the end of the semester if you are on the border of two grades!


The review videos will go over the answers to the problem sets. Make sure to follow along and use the feedback in the review videos to correct your answers. IMPORTANT: Correcting your misunderstandings is crucial to succeed in the course. The exam covers problem set material.


Exams will cover the content found in the problem sets and synthesis questions. They will be multiple choice and short answers and will be available for a 24-hour period on the date listed from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm Eastern Time. Once the exam has been started, it will be timed. There will be one question per page. Everyone will be able to take the exams regardless of the content that has been submitted prior.

I strongly encourage students to start the exam early enough to fully complete the test prior to the exam closing time at 11:59 pm. If you are working on the exam after 11:59 pm, and an error within D2L occurs that could normally be solved with a simple browser refresh, you will not be able to reenter the exam due to the end time having passed.

Exams 1-4 will each cover 2-3 weeks of material and will not be cumulative (but note that material will build on previous content, so knowledge gained in earlier units cannot be forgotten). There will also be a cumulative final exam.

Exams 1-4 will take place on Sundays. The final will take place on the last day of the semester – Thursday, August 13. All course materials (e.g. textbook, problem sets, notes) can be used during the exams, but collaborating with classmates is not allowed.

One exam grade will be dropped from the final grade.

Exam Corrections

For each exam, I will allow corrections to be submitted if the exam was attempted. For each question you get incorrect,

  1. Explain why you chose the answer you did. What was your thought process? This is important for me to know, so I can figure out where/how/why misconceptions are occurring. If you didn’t understand something about the question, tell me here. It would help me most if you answered this prior to moving on to steps 2 and 3, to get the most accurate answer without the correct answer affecting your recollection.
  2. Give the correct answer.
  3. Explain why that answer is right instead of the one you chose. Cite course materials (not Google searches) in addition to your explanation. Writing “Unit 2 Question 6” is not a sufficient explanation. Explain why “Unit 2 Question 6” proves your new answer to be correct. This is your opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the concept. If the explanation is not sufficient, points will not be awarded.

For each question you correct properly and give explanations for, you will get back 1/3 of the points you lost. If you do not provide the 3 required pieces of information, you will not receive credit for the question. All course materials can be used during corrections. This assignment is optional.

Learning Reflections

One of the best study techniques to learn is metacognition, or the practice of being aware and reflecting on your own thinking and learning. Some assignments will ask you to evaluate your work and answers on the assignments in comparison to the answers discussed in the review video. Some will ask you to evaluate your performance on the exams. They will also help me understand where students are having trouble with the content. Please complete the unit reflections after you have watched the review videos. There will be four content reflections covering the material for each exam (excluding the final), and four exam reflections that assess performance on the tests (excluding the final due to time restraints).

Two reflection submissions will be dropped from the final grade.

Due Dates

Assignments are due by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the date listed.

Suggested Weekly Schedule

Content weeks

Each unit will open on Friday. The problem set is due on Tuesday. The initial discussion post answering the synthesis questions is due on Wednesday. The discussion forum replies are due on Thursday.

Suggested work schedule

  • Wednesday and Thursday: read for the current unit while attempting the problem set and checking the problem set review video for clarification
  • Thursday and Friday: use background knowledge from readings and problem set to generate responses to the synthesis questions
  • Saturday and Sunday: reply to two teammates in discussion forum
  • Monday and Tuesday: use discussions to revise and submit responses to a subset of the synthesis questions
  • Wednesday and Thursday: watch synthesis question review video (while starting next unit)
  • Every day: use help forum located in Posts tab

Suggested weekly schedule; see text for details.

During Exam 1-4 weeks

  • Sunday: submit unit learning reflection; complete exam
  • Monday and Tuesday: review exam; submit exam learning reflection; complete exam corrections (optional)

During finals week

  • Thursday: complete Exam 5

    Academic Responsibility

    It is the responsibility of each student to generate original work for all assignments. This means all submitted work must be in your own words. Plagiarizing from any of, but not limited to, the internet, readings, videos, popular press articles, other students, and/or research articles is grounds for receiving a zero for that assignment. IMPORTANT: This means that even though you are working in teams, the work you submit must be in your own words. Please see Part 4: Course Policies for more information.

    Part 4: Grading Policy

    Graded Course Activities

    Assignment Points Possible Total Points Description
    Introduction 24 24 Practice assignments to introduce you to the course structure
    Discussion Post (Synthesis Questions) 21 on each 168 Top 8 scores from 9 discussion posts
    Discussion Replies (2 per week) 9 on each pair 72 Top 8 scores from 9 pairs of discussion replies
    Synthesis Question Revision 21 on each 168 Top 8 scores from 9 synthesis question revisions
    Learning Reflections 8 on each 48 Top 6 scores from 8 reflections
    Exams 180 on each 720 Top 4 scores from 5 exams
    Total 1200 Possible points

    Grading Scale

    Grade Points Percentage Performance
    4.0 1116 to 1200 93 to 100% Excellent Work
    3.5 1044 to 1115 87 to 92% Nearly Excellent Work
    3.0 972 to 1043 81 to 86% Very Good Work
    2.5 900 to 971 75 to 80% Good Work
    2.0 828 to 899 69 to 74% Average Work
    1.5 756 to 827 63 to 68% Below Average Work
    1.0 684 to 755 57 to 62% Poor Work
    0.0 0 to 683 0 to 56% Failing Work

    Viewing Grades

    Grades will always be available on the D2L gradebook. Problem sets and learning reflection grades are based on participation and will be posted as promptly as possible. Problem set grading is based on a serious attempt at answering the question. The answer does not need to be correct to receive points. Answers for the problem sets will be given in the review videos. The multiple-choice portion of the exams will be automatically graded but will not be available to students until after the exam closes. Short answers will be graded by hand and will not be completed until the day after the exam.

    Any grading questions or concerns should be addressed as soon as possible. At most, questions about grades should be submitted within one week of the grade being posted to D2L.

    Work Submission Policy

    The teamwork nature of this course requires that students keep up to date with their assignments and actively engage in the activities. Since the review videos open immediately after the assignment’s due date, late work cannot be accepted. One problem set, one discussion post, one pair of discussion replies, one learning reflection, and one exam will be dropped to accommodate the occasional issue that arises.

    Sometimes, though, life gets complicated. In the case that one dropped assignment is not sufficient, please review the guidelines for excuses absences below.

    Excused Absences

    Illness or Injury

    Email me if will be missing the exam/assignment prior to the start of the exam day/due date. Within 24 hours of the missed exam/assignment, provide me with a note from a medical provider that states your name, the name and address of the healthcare provider, the date you were seen, a statement excusing you from classwork for the date you missed for medical reasons, and a signature of the healthcare provider. Notes stating that you were seen but not excused will not be accepted. I recognize that it can sometimes be difficult to see a medical provider on short notice, but this policy is in place to create fairness for all students. If it is impossible for you to obtain documentation, please contact me via your private discussion forum.

    Bereavement due to death in the family or similar tragedy

    Email me if you will be missing the exam/assignment prior to the start of the exam day/due date. Within 48 hours of the missed exam/assignment, I should also receive an email notice from the Dean’s office that you have been approved for a grief absence. In order to request a grief absence, you must fill out the Grief Absence Request Form within 7 days of the event and provide the requested documentation.

    Chronic health issues, physical disabilities, and learning disabilities

    If you experience severe and chronic health issues, physical disabilities, or learning challenges that prevent you from completing assignments by the deadlines, we can attempt to devise a plan to help support you.

    Please provide me with a VISA issued by RCPD. I am extremely willing and able to provide accommodations for students with such conditions, but a VISA is required in order to do so. Information regarding a VISA is kept confidential, and you will not be asked to provide personal health information related to the diagnosis. Students eligible for a VISA are HIGHLY encouraged to obtain one and provide it to me as soon as possible. If you have applied for a VISA but it has not been issued, please inform me, and send me the name of your RCPD advisor.

    Part 5: Course Schedule

    The schedule is tentative and subject to change. Any changes to the schedule will be announced ahead of time. Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due at 11:59 pm Eastern Time on the due date. Late work will not be accepted.

    Each unit will open on Wednesday. The original discussion post is due on Friday. The discussion forum replies are due on Sunday. The revised synthesis questions are due on Tuesday.

    Exams 1-4 will take place on Sundays, and corrections will be due on Tuesdays. The Final (Exam 5) will be on Thursday, the last day of class.


    Due Date Assignment
    Tue, May 12 Welcome discussion forum post
    Wed, May 13 Team problem set, intro quiz, initial private chat with Dr. Henley

    Exam 1 Content: Building Blocks

    Unit 1: Neuron Function

    Read chapters 3-4

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, May 15 Discussion Post
    Sun, May 17 Discussion Replies
    Tue, May 19 Synthesis Question Revision

    Unit 2: Neuronal Communication

    Read chapters 5-6

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, May 22 Discussion Post
    Sun, May 24 Discussion Replies
    Tue, May 26 Synthesis Question Revision

    Exam 1: Units 1 and 2

    Due Date Assignment
    Sat, May 30 Content Learning Reflection
    Sun, May 31 Exam 1
    Tue, Jun 2 Exam 1 Learning Reflection
    Tue, Jun 2 Exam 1 Corrections (Optional)

    Exam 2 Content: Input / Output

    Unit 3: Vision

    Read chapters 9, 10

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jun 5 Discussion Post
    Sun, Jun 7 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Jun 9 Synthesis Question Revision

    Unit 4: Somatosensory and Chemical Senses

    Read chapters 8 and 12

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jun 12 Discussion Post
    Sun, Jun 14 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Jun 16 Synthesis Question Revision

    Unit 5: Motor

    Read chapters 13-14

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jun 19 Discussion Post
    Sun, Jun 21 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Jun 23 Synthesis Question Revision

    Exam 2: Units 3, 4, and 5

    Due Date Assignment
    Sat, Jun 27 Content Learning Reflection
    Sun, Jun 28 Exam 2
    Tue, Jun 30 Exam 2 Learning Reflection
    Tue, Jun 30 Exam 2 Corrections (Optional)

    Exam 3 Content: Systems I

    Unit 6: Stress

    Read chapter 15 excluding Diffuse Modulatory System Section; Also pages 756-763

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jul 3 Discussion Post
    Sun, Jul 5 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Jul 7 Synthesis Question Revision

    Unit 7: Social and Sexual Behavior

    Read Reinforcement and Reward Section pages 566-569; Chapter 17

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jul 10 Discussion Post
    Sun, Jul 12 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Jul 14 Synthesis Question Revision

    Exam 3: Units 6 and 7

    Due Date Assignment
    Sat, Jul 18 Content Learning Reflection
    Sun, Jul 19 Exam 3
    Tue, Jul 21 Exam 3 Learning Reflection
    Tue, Jul 21 Exam 3 Corrections (Optional)

    Exam 4 Content: Systems II

    Unit 8: Emotions

    Read chapter 18

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jul 24 Discussion Post
    Sun, Jul 26 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Jul 28 Synthesis Question Revision

    Unit 9: Learning and Memory

    Read chapters 24 and 25

    Due Date Assignment
    Fri, Jul 31 Discussion Post
    Sun, Aug 2 Discussion Replies
    Tue, Aug 4 Synthesis Question Revision

    Exam 4: Units 8 and 9

    Due Date Assignment
    Sat, Aug 8 Content Learning Reflection
    Sun, Aug 9 Exam 4
    Tue, Aug 11 Exam 4 Learning Reflection
    Tue, Aug 11 Exam 4 Corrections (Optional)

    Cumulative Final Exam

    Due Date Assignment
    Thu, Aug 13 Final Exam

    Part 6: Course Policies

    Learner Support

    Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

    From the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD): Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a Verified Individual Services Accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc.). Requests received after this date may not be honored.

    Resource Persons with Disabilities (RCPD)

      Student Resources

        Academic Honesty

        The Spartan Code of Honor states, “As a Spartan, I will strive to uphold values of the highest ethical standard. I will practice honesty in my work, foster honesty in my peers, and take pride in knowing that honor is worth more than grades. I will carry these values beyond my time as a student at Michigan State University, continuing the endeavor to build personal integrity in all that I do.” In addition, Article 2.III.B.2 of the Student Rights and Responsibilities states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.” The Neuroscience Program adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations.

        Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use sites like or to complete any course work in this course. Students who violate MSU academic integrity rules may receive a penalty grade, including a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also the Academic Integrity webpage.)

        Faculty are required to report all instances in which a penalty grade is given for academic dishonesty.  Students reported for academic dishonesty are required to take an online course about the integrity of scholarship and grades.  A hold will be placed on the student’s account until such time as the student completes the course. This course is overseen by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.

        Please review the documents posted in the Unit 0 folder on D2L.


        Course Climate

        We are all working together toward the same goals in this course! By building a strong learning community from the start, we all benefit.

        Please review the documents posted in the Course Climate Tab in the General Channel in the Class Team.

        Student-student interactions

        Get to know your team members. You will spend the next 14 weeks discussing the material and helping each other learn. It is critical that all behavior in the class is respectful. Part of being a strong teammate is being a good listener (or reader in our case), being motivating and empathetic, and providing constructive feedback. We will focus on these characteristics throughout the semester.

        Student-teacher interactions

        If you find that you have any trouble keeping up with assignments or other aspects of the course, make sure you let me know as early as possible. As you will find, building rapport and effective relationships are key to becoming an effective professional. Make sure that you are proactive in informing me when difficulties arise during the semester so that I can help you find a solution.

        Appropriate Netiquette

        • Be professional. Interact with your fellow classmates and instructor as you would in your professional life. Use appropriate language and grammar. Be clear and concise.
        • Have opinions but be respectful of disagreement.
        • Be cautious with humor or sarcasm. It’s not that we want to create a dull environment devoid of fun, but it is very easy for these tones to be lost in text. If you want to make jokes or be sarcastic, indicate your intent with emoticons or a sarcasm tag “/s”.
        • Read all posts within a thread before replying. Avoid repeating what others have already said.
        • Be kind. Be respectful.

        Disruptive Behavior

        Article 2.III.B.4 of the Student Rights and Responsibilities at Michigan State University states: “The student’s behavior in the classroom shall be conducive to the teaching and learning process for all concerned.” Article 2.III.B.10 states that “The student and the faculty share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships based on mutual trust and civility.” General Student Regulation 5.02 states: “No student shall obstruct, disrupt, or interfere with the functions, services, or directives of the University, its offices, or its employees (e.g., classes, social, cultural, and athletic events, computing services, registration, housing and food services, governance meetings, and hearings).” Students whose conduct adversely affects the learning environment in this classroom may be subject to disciplinary action through the Student Judicial Affairs office.

        Technology Resources

        MSU Tech Support

        Microsoft Software

        Desire 2 Learn

        Other Policies

        Limits to Confidentiality

        Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University’s student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees, including instructors, may not be able to maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues to protect the health and safety of MSU community members and others. As the instructor, I must report the following information to other University offices (including the Department of Police and Public Safety) if you share it with me:

        • Suspected child abuse/neglect, even if this maltreatment happened when you were a child,
        • Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment when they involve MSU students, faculty, or staff, and
        • Credible threats of harm to oneself or to others.

        These reports may trigger contact from a campus official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared. In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting you are encouraged to make an appointment with the MSU Counseling Center.

        Drops and Adds

        The last day to add this course is May 17 (8:00 pm). The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is June 5 (8:00 pm). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is June 28 (8:00 pm). You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.

        Commercialized Lecture Notes

        As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:

        Students may not post recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class without the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings.

        Commercialization of lecture notes and university-provided course materials is not permitted in this course.

        Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions, including receiving a penalty grade in the course.

        Part 7: Frequently Asked Questions

        Who can enroll in this course?

        All non-Neuroscience major juniors and seniors who have completed the two semester biology series (BS 161 / 162 or LB 144 / 145) are able to enroll. Neuroscience majors should enroll in the two-semester series NEU 301 / 302.

        Why do I have to work in a team?

        Research shows that a team will outperform all of its members individually, even the top member. You will also be entering fields (medicine, research, technology) that frequently require co-workers to collaborate on projects. Additionally, the Association of American Colleges and Universities has ranked the ability to work in teams as one of the three most important skills employers look for in college graduates (the ability to think critically and the ability to communicate effectively are the other two). Practicing this skill in courses can help you succeed in future endeavors.

        Why do I have to complete these problem sets? They are too hard.

        The problem sets are difficult, but educational research shows that when students have to generate answers to novel problems (like those seen in the problem set), it requires higher-order thinking about previously learned material (e.g. from the textbook). Recalling learned information strengthens the memory of that content and increases the ability to remember it later. By creating answers, you are actively engaging with the material and not simply received knowledge passively, which is often forgotten.

        It is also important to know that even if you get the problem set answers incorrect on your initial try, you have still retrieved important knowledge, making connections between old and new information. Additionally, when errors are made initially, as long as those are corrected through feedback (from the in class and online reviews), the errors are not learned. Learning should not be effortless and errorless, but corrective feedback is a necessary step. Embrace the difficulties in the class knowing that they are solidifying your neuroscience knowledge.

        Why aren’t there more lectures?

        This course is structured differently than most traditional courses. Here, you do reading up front and try to work through the material yourself (with the help of your team) first. After that, review videos explain the questions in detail. Essentially, this course is set up backward from what you are probably used to. Instead of lecture, then assignment, then exam, we have reading, assignment, lecture, exam. The idea is to get you to be engaged with the content. Listening to a lecture is passive, but researching through the text to find the appropriate background information and then apply that information to a problem is active. That type of learning will help retain content longer.

        I have an RCPD VISA that allows me more time on an exam (or other accommodation). What do I do with it?

        Have your RCPD Advisor send me ( your VISA and accommodation, and we will work together to make sure the course runs smoothly for you.

        Why do you use private chat instead of email?

        The private chat provides a space to keep all our communication together, unlike email. We could end up having dozens of email threads, possibly covering some of the same issues. In the private chat, our history is readily accessible at any time. It also allows me to have all student communication located in one place.

        Why is the exam set up to only have one question per page?

        Although it does take longer for a student to proceed through the exam when it is structured this way, there are two main reasons for this decision. First, it helps students who need to use assistive technologies like screen readers to take the exam. When the entire exam is listed on one page, it makes it very difficult to navigate, and it is inaccessible to an entire population of learners. Secondly, it also deters unethical practices during the exam such as working with friends or looking up answers.