Frequently Asked Questions

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 (mcgove14@msu.edu) your VISA and accommodation as soon as possible, and we will work together to make sure the course runs smoothly for you.

Why do I have to work in a team?

Research shows that a team will outperform all of its members individual, 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 am I teaching myself all the content?

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.

Why do you use private chat instead of email?

The private chat provide 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 discussion, our history is readily accessible at any time. It also allows me to have all student communication located in one place.