Course Structure

tl;dr

(too long; didn’t read)

  • An exam will cover two weeks of material
  • Ungraded assignments prepare you for exams and for reflecting on how you learn
  • Assignments focus on skills like science practices, team work, communication, critical thinking
  • Submitting content to / using answers from websites like Chegg or CourseHero is a copyright violation and academic dishonesty
  • Descriptions of all content are below

Overview

This class is structured to provide flexibility while still helping everyone meet course expectations by the end of the semester.

Neurobiology is divided into four units.

Each Unit will consist of

  • Assigned textbook readings
  • Textbook quizzes and review questions
  • An application question assignment
  • A synthesis question assignment
  • Informal discussion
  • See more details

The graded exam for each unit will consist of

  • 1 pre-exam reflection
  • 4 exam questions
  • 1 exam discussion
  • 1 post-exam reflection
  • 1 optional exam revision
  • See more details

The semester will also include

  • Introduction assignments to learn the technology and get to know each other
  • End of Semester Reflection
  • See more details

Why this Structure?

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 application questions 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.

The National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education, a recent document outlining a research-based approach toward facilitating a coherent, in-depth understanding of the sciences, outlined scientific practices that a science education should teach. This class focuses on

  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Constructing explanations
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
  • Engaging in argument from evidence

Finally, the National Association of Colleges and Employers determined a few of the top skills employers look for in college graduates are a) problem solving skills, b) teamworking skills, and c) communication skills. In this course, you will work to practice and improve these skills so that you can be confident and capable in your critical thinking abilities as you move forward in your 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.

Tutoring / Homework Website Usage

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. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor. Please see Course Policiesfor more information.

Weekly Content and Assignments

Each Unit will have the following components:

  • Checklist
  • Learning Objectives
  • Reading assignment
  • Textbook questions
  • Application questions
  • Synthesis questions
  • Help forum
  • Answer videos for the assignment

Checklist

Use the checklists to make sure you are completing all the required work for the unit.

Learning Objectives

The learning objectives outline the tasks you should be able to complete in preparation for the exam.

Reading

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

Application Questions

The application questions will allow you to engage with the science and develop an understanding of the material; these questions will build upon the textbook reading and prepare you for answering the synthesis questions. Exams will cover the application question material.

Synthesis Questions

The synthesis questions will build upon the content in the problem sets and provide practice with the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning framework that will be used on the exams. Exams cover the synthesis question material.

Help Forum

Each unit will also have a help forum for students to ask (and answer!) questions about the assignment questions directly. This will be located in the Course Content discussion forum. 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 assignment and 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

Answer Videos

The answer videos will go over the answers to the assignments. Make sure to follow along and use the feedback in the answer videos to correct your answers.

IMPORTANT: Correcting your misunderstandings is crucial to success in the course. This is your opportunity to correct your assignment answers to prepare for the exam.

Other Assignments

Introductory Unit

A few assignments will be given the first few days of class to learn how to use the technology in the course.

End of Semester Reflection

The End of Semester Reflection is going to ask you to look back on your learning growth during the course. How did you improve on the skills we practiced? How has your neuroscience knowledge grown? How have your study techniques changed? What have you learned about yourself as a learner? How will all this help you as you move forward in your academic and professional career?