NEU 841 Medical Neuroscience

Spring 2019

Part 1: Course Information

Online from January 7, 2019 – May 3, 2019

Course content located on Desire to Learn

3 credits

Course Description

NEU 841 will allow you to explore how the mammalian nervous system functions. Focus will be on the human nervous system and clinical applications of the content. To understand nervous system disorders, the underlying neuroanatomical and physiological mechanisms must first be understood. The course will use a systems approach to understand the healthy nervous system and begin to dive into the dysfunction that occurs in disease.

Required Textbook

Neuroscience. Sixth Edition. Editors: Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, Hall, LaMantia, White. Sinauer Associates, Inc. 2018.

Technology Requirement

To succeed in this course, you must have access to a computer, high-speed, reliable internet. All coursework, including timed exams, will take place online. We will use two Learning Management Systems in NEU 841: D2L, and Microsoft Class Teams.

Disclaimer

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 first couple weeks 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 will provide an active and engaging learning space for our course!

Desire 2 Learn (D2L)

D2L homepage.

D2L will be used for the following course components:

  • Gradebook
  • 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 and Learning Reflections)
  • Distribution of all handouts (Learning Objectives, Case Studies, Synthesis Questions)
  • Discussion forums
  • Review videos and web lessons
  • Private chat with me

All announcements, updates, and other information will be shared through the Start Here! 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 (Please call me Casey)

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

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 or Class Teams 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

Announcements

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.

Suggestions

  • 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

Medical Neuroscience is a fully online course. Each week you will be expected to complete a reading assignment prior to completing a problem set and participating in a discussion forum on that week’s topic. As a 3-credit, 15-week course, you should plan to spend about 9-10 hours each week on course material. This should look like 1-2 hours to complete the prep material, 3 hours to complete the problem set, 3 hours to write your discussion posts and interact with your teammates, and 1-2 hours to review the material. Problem set 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.

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 Part 5: Course Policies for more information

The Unit

Each student will be assigned to a team of approximately 7-8 students.

A unit consists of 

 

  • Learning objectives
  • A checklist
  • A reading assignment
  • A problem set
  • Team discussion
  • Review video for the problem sets
  • Learning Reflections

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 problem set assignment. 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.

Checklists

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.

Reading

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

Problem Sets

The problem set assignments will be accessed through the Problem Set Tab in each Unit Channel within Class Teams. 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.

The problem sets are difficult, but educational research shows that when students 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, if those errors 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.

Use the problem sets to help you form answers for the discussion forum. Exams will cover the problem set material.

Team Discussion

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 discussion grade is going to 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.

Initial posts are due by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Friday of each week (excluding exam weeks). Replies to at least two teammates are due by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Sunday of each week. Replies should be original viewpoints. Posts such as, “Yeah, I had that question, too,” “I agree with the last post,” or posts not about the problem set content will not earn you points. Review the “Discussion Forum Expectations” document in the Start Here Channel for more detailed information.

Reviews

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. This is your opportunity to correct your problem set answers to prepare for the exam.

Learning Reflection

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 problem set 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 problem set review video. There will be three content reflections covering the material for each exam, and three exam reflections that assess performance on the tests.

Exams

Exams will cover the content found in the problem sets, the reading assignments, and the lectures. 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 ET. 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. Students can use course materials on the exams.

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 will be on Tuesdays.

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.

Due Dates

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

The Schedule

Content Weeks

Each unit starts on Friday. The initial discussion post is due on the following Tuesday, and the replies are due on Thursday.

Suggested Work Schedule

  • Friday through Sunday: Read for the current unit while working on the problem set
  • Monday and Tuesday: Write and submit responses to discussion prompts
  • Wednesday and Thursday: Watch review videos for problem set questions and reply to two classmates in discussion forum
  • Friday and Saturday: Watch discussion prompt review videos (while starting next unit)

Exam Weeks

Exams will be on Tuesdays. Muddiest Points are due on the same day as the exam. Exam corrections are due on Thursdays.

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 6: Course Policies for more information.

 

Part 4: Grading Policy

Graded Course Activities

Assignment Points Possible Total Points Description
Introduction 20 20 Practice assignments to introduce you to the course structure
Discussion Prompt 20 on each 200 Top 10 scores from 11 discussion prompt posts
Discussion Replies 12 on each 120 Top 10 scores from 11 discussion replies
Learning Reflection 10 on each 60 3 content learning reflections and3 exam learning reflections
Exams 200 600 Multiple choice and short answer
Total 1000 Possible points

Grading Scale

Grade Points Percentage Performance
4.0 900 to 1000 90 to 100% Excellent Work
3.5 840 to 899 84 to 89% Nearly Excellent Work
3.0 780 to 839 78 to 83% Very Good Work
2.5 730 to 779 73 to 77% Good Work
2.0 670 to 729 67 to 72% Average Work
1.5 620 to 669 62 to 66% Below Average Work
1.0 560 to 619 56 to 61% Poor Work
0.0 0 to 559 0 to 55% Failing Work

Viewing Grades

Grades will always be available on the D2L gradebook. Problem sets and muddiest point 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 will not be accepted. One assignment from each of the following categories: problem set, discussion forum, muddiest point, is dropped to accommodate the occasional issue that arises.

Sometimes, though, life gets complicated. In the case that one dropped assignment is not sufficient, or an exam must be missed, 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.

Within 7 days of the first day of class (if diagnosed prior to the start of the semester) or within 7 days of diagnosis (if diagnosed during the semester), you must 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. All assignments are due at 11:59pm Eastern Time on the due date.

Welcome

Due Date Assignment
Wed, Jan 8 Introduction post in welcome discussion forum (learn how to post in discussion forums)
Thurs, Jan 9

Team introduction assignment (learn how to submit assignments in class teams)

Intro quiz (learn how to take quizzes and exams in D2L)

Initial private chat with Casey (learn how to contact your instructor)

Exam 1 Content

Unit 1: Organization of the Nervous System

Read Chapter 1 and the Appendix

*The reading for next week is a little heavy. I suggest starting it early*

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Jan 14 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Jan 16 Discussion Replies

Unit 2 Neuronal Signaling

Read Chapters 2-4

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Jan 21 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Jan 23 Discussion Replies

Unit 3 Synaptic Transmission – TWO WEEKS TO COMPLETE

Read Chapters 5-7

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Feb 4 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Feb 6 Discussion Replies

Exam 1: Units 1-3

Due Date Assignment
Tues, Feb 11 Content Learning Reflection 1
Tues, Feb 11 Exam 1
Thurs, Feb 13 Exam Reflection 1
Thurs, Feb 13 Exam Corrections (Optional)

Exam 2 Content

Unit 4 Somatosensory & Pain

Read Chapters 9-10

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Feb 18 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Feb 20 Discussion Replies

Unit 5 Vision

Read Chapters 11-12

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Feb 25 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Feb 27 Discussion Replies

Spring Break March 2 through March 6

Unit 6 Auditory & Vestibular

Read Chapters 13-14; Actions and Innervations of Extraocular muscles pg. 448-450; Clinical Applications pg. 453-454

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Mar 10 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Mar 12 Discussion Replies

Unit 7 Chemical Senses

Read Chapter 15

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Mar 17 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Mar 19 Discussion Replies

Exam 2: Units 4-7

Due Date Assignment
Tues, Mar 24 Content Learning Reflection 2
Tues, Mar 24 Exam 2
Thurs, Mar 26 Exam Reflection 2
Thurs, Mar 26 Exam Corrections (Optional)

Exam 3 Content

Unit 8 Motor

Read Chapters 16-17

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Mar 31 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Apr 2 Discussion Replies

Unit 9 Basal Ganglia & Cerebellum

Read Chapters 18-19

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Apr 7 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Apr 9 Discussion Replies

Unit 10 Plasticity & Repair

Read Chapters 8, 26

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Apr 14 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Apr 16 Discussion Replies

Unit 11 Emotion & Addiction

Read Chapters 31

Due Date Assignment
Thurs, Apr 21 Discussion Prompt Post
Sat, Apr 23 Discussion Replies

Exam 3: Units 8-11

Due Date Assignment
Tues, Dec 10 Unit 8-11 Muddiest Point
Tues, Dec 10 Exam 3
Thurs, Dec 12 Exam Corrections (Optional)

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 rcpd.msu.edu. 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 www.allmsu.com or www.koofers.com 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.

Resources

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 information 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 January 10 (8:00 pm). The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is January 31 (8:00 pm). The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is February 26 (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

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 National Association of Colleges and Employers 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.

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.

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.