Course Structure

Overview

The last year and a half has been extremely challenging. Trying to focus on class while working increased hours, or working decreased hours, or being completely isolated, or being sick, or having sick family members, or… (the list, unfortunately, continues), can be difficult.

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

Neurobiology is divided into 4 Topics, each with 2 Units.

Each Unit will consist of

  • An assigned textbook reading
  • Textbook quizzes and additional review questions (not submitted or scored)
  • A problem set assignment (optional, see below)
  • A synthesis question assignment (optional, see below)
  • Informal discussion options (not scored)

Each Topic will consist of

  • 2 Units
  • 1 pre-Exam reflection
  • 1 Exam assignment
  • 1 Exam Flipgrid post 
  • 1 post-Exam reflection

The semester will also include

  • Introduction assignments to learn the technology
  • End of Semester Reflection 

Semester Assignments

Below is a list of all the assignments for the semester. Scoring information can be found below on the Scoring page.

  • 1 Intro Reflection (required; scored on Credit / No Credit scale)
  • 8 problem sets (optional; on-time submission of 7/8 required for grade bump; scored on Credit / No Credit scale)
  • 8 synthesis questions (optional; on-time submission of 7/8 required for grade bump; scored on Credit / No Credit scale)
  • 8 Exam reflections (required; scored on Credit / No Credit scale)
  • 4 Exams
    • Version 1 (required; scored on Credit / No Credit scale; opportunities for revision)
    • Flipgrid post (required; scored on a Credit / No Credit scale)
    • Version 2 (required; scored on Strong / Satisfactory / Weak scale; opportunities for revision)
    • Revisions (optional; scored on Strong / Satisfactory / Weak scale)
  • 1 End of Semester Reflection (required; scored on Strong / Satisfactory / Weak scale)

Weekly Workload

Suggested work plan; details in text.

As a 3-credit, 15-week course, you should plan to spend about 9 hours each week on course material. This should look like

  • 2 hours to complete the prep material (reading, textbook questions)
  • 2 hours to complete the Problem Set
  • 5 hours to review and correct Problem Set answers
  • 2 hours to complete the Synthesis Questions.
  • 5 hours to review and correct Synthesis Question answers

The assignments in this class are sometimes complex, requiring students 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.

Suggested work schedule

Each unit will open on Monday. The Problem Set is due on Wednesday. The Synthesis Questions are due on Friday.

  • Sunday and Monday: Complete textbook reading and textbook quizzes
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: Complete problem set
  • Wednesday through Friday: Complete synthesis questions
  • Thursday and Friday: Watch problem set answer videos to correct your work
  • Saturday and Sunday: Watch synthesis question answer video to correct your work
  • Every day: Use help forum located in Posts tab

Suggested weekly schedule; details in text.

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 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.

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.

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.

Weekly Content and Assignments

In the Class Team, each Unit will have the following components:

  • Learning Objectives
  • Checklist
  • Reading assignment
  • Case study
  • Textbook questions
  • Problem set
  • Synthesis questions
  • Help forum
  • Answer videos for the problem sets and synthesis questions

Learning Objectives

Location: Learning Objective Tab in each Unit Channel

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

Checklist

Location: Checklist Tab in each Unit Channel

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

Location: In Checklist

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

Case Study

Location: Case Study Tab in each Unit Channel

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 in the synthesis questions.

Textbook Questions

Location: At end of textbook chapters

The material for each Unit / Topic is scaffolded from fact recall questions (textbook quizzes) to application of facts to novel problems (problem sets and synthesis questions) to forming scientific arguments based on evidence (synthesis questions and exams). The textbook questions are the first step in the process. These questions will help you check that you understand the facts about the content before moving on to more challenging problems.

Problem Sets

Location: Assignment Tab in the General Channel

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 Synthesis Questions. Exams will cover the problem set material.

Optional assignments – see Scoring section

Synthesis Questions

Location: Assignment Tab in the General Channel

The Synthesis Questions will continue to help prepare you for the Exams. Some of these questions will practice using the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning framework; others will make you apply the science you have learned to new problems.

Optional assignments – see Scoring section

Help Forum

Location: Posts Tab in each Unit Channel

Each unit will also have a help forum for students to ask (and answer!) questions about the problem set and synthesis questions. 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 and 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, which will be important for the Exams

Answer Videos

The answer videos will go over the answers to the problem sets and synthesis questions. Make sure to follow along and use the feedback in the answer videos to correct your answers. IMPORTANT: Correcting your misunderstandings is crucial to succeed in the course. The Exams cover problem set and synthesis question material.  

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?