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 5 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!
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.
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.
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.
Approach to Teaching
My approach to teaching and learning was greatly influenced by work with my graduate advisor, Lynwood Clemens. While I was in graduate school, Lyn attended a seminar on team-based learning and became so excited about what he learned, he decided to shift his upper-level Neurobiology course from a standard lecture format to a team-based, flipped-classroom environment. Lyn introduced me to education research and demonstrated the importance of incorporating evidence-based practices into my teaching.
In 2017, the National Association of Colleges and Employers1 determined that the most important skill employers look for in college graduates are a) problem solving skills, b) teamworking skills, and c) communication skills. I place these skills at the forefront of my learning goals. I want my students to be confident and capable in their critical thinking abilities as they move forward in their education and future careers. Content knowledge is important and necessary, but these skills are essential for a successful scientific career, whether in health care, academia, government, or industry.
I accomplish these goals by creating learning objectives that target the full range of cognitive domains of Bloom’s taxonomy, making sure to focus on higher order intellectual processes. To that end, I make use of activities that use evidence-based practices to provide students with an effective environment for learning. Through backward design2, I develop assessments aligned with the pertinent learning objectives to evaluate student learning outcomes in a meaningful manner.
“Student success” was not a concept I had encountered before Lyn showed me that pedagogical changes could improve student learning. Many years later, I have built on the foundations laid in graduate school and take pride in my goals for learning in my classroom. Using evidence-based practices in the classroom creates a powerful learning environment where students can improve skills needed to succeed after graduation. I have been convinced by successes in my course that critical thinking, teamwork, and effective communication are all products of engaged learning.
- National Association of Colleges and Employers. Job Outlook 2018. (2017) at NACE
- Wiggins, G. P. and McTighe, J. Understanding by Design. (2005) Alexandria, Va, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.