Course Structure

Spend 2-3 hours doing prep work, 3 hours to complete the discussion, 2 hours to revise your synthesis question response, and 2 hours to review the material.


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 the following material (click on each heading to learn more):

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

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.

Synthesis Question Revision

After you have had a chance to discuss the synthesis questions with your teammates, you will revise and submit responses for a subset of questions for grading. The rubric will assess that the question is correct and will also assess appropriate citations, grammar, conciseness, and clarity.

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 Posts 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!

Review Videos

Review your workThe 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.


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.

Avoid computer errors. Start your exam early.

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.

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: instructors grade exams
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: 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.