Course Structure

Overview

Spend 3 hours on Saturday and Sunday doing reading and the problem set, 2 hours Monday through Wednesday to complete the discussion, 2 hours Wednesday through Thursday to submit your synthesis questions, and 2 hours Friday and Saturday to review and reflect on 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, 15-week course, you should plan to spend about 9 hours each week on course material. This should look like 3 hours (Sat-Sun) to complete the prep material (reading and problem set), 2 hours (Mon-Wed) to complete the discussion, 2 hours (Wed-Thurs) to revise your synthesis question response, and 2 hours (Fri-Sat) 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 8-12 students.

A unit consists of the following material (click on each heading to learn more):

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 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.

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.

Problem Set

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

One problem set assignment will be dropped from the final grade.

Team Discussion

The Flipgrid Discussion is meant to be a space where you can interact with classmates and get help forming your responses for the Synthesis Questions. Use the Synthesis Questions as a guide for your posts and reply. What have you come up with so far for the answers? Where are you having trouble? What did you find exceptionally cool

Each student will post a reflection on the Synthesis 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 discussion post will be graded on effort. We need to see you working with the content. Your answers to the synthesis questions do not need to be correct at this point, 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 Flipgrid post and one pair of Flipgrid replies will be dropped from the final grade.

Synthesis Questions

Location: Assignment Tab in the General Channel

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

One synthesis question assignment will be dropped from the final grade.

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. The Unit Reflections will ask you to evaluate your work and answers on the Synthesis Questions in comparison to the answers discussed in the review video. The Exam Reflections 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 Synthesis Question Review Video. Please complete the exam reflections after you have completed the exam and reviewed your responses.

Two Learning Reflections will be dropped from the final grade. NOTE: If you choose not to take the final exam, the last exam learning reflection must be a dropped score.

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 Conversations 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!

Reviews

Review your workThe review videos will go over the answers to the problem sets and synthesis questions. 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

Exams will cover the content found in the problem sets and synthesis questions. Exams are written assessments that will follow the Claim-Evidence-Reasoning format. Everyone will be able to take the exams regardless of the content that has been submitted prior.

Exams 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). 

All course materials (e.g. textbook, problem sets, notes) can be used during the exams, but collaborating with classmates is not allowed.

Instead of giving a cumulative final, I have decided to allow exam revisions at the end of the semester to increase exam scores. Details TBD. 

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?

Due Dates

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

The Schedule

Content weeks

Each unit will open on Saturday. The initial Fligrid post is due on Tuesday. The Flipgrid replies are due on Wednesday. The Synthesis Questions are due on Thursday. The Unit Learning Reflection is due on Saturday.

Suggested work schedule

  • Saturday and Sunday: Read for the current unit while working on the problem set
  • Monday and Tuesday: Watch problem set review videos to correct your work. Use background knowledge from readings and problem set to generate responses to the synthesis questions. Share those responses and questions that still exist with teammates in Flipgrid
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: Reply to two teammates in Flipgrid
  • Wednesday and Thursday: Use Flipgrid discussions to revise and submit responses to the synthesis questions
  • Friday and Saturday: Watch synthesis question review video and complete Unit Learning Reflection
  • Every day: Use help forum located in Posts tab

Suggested weekly schedule; see text for details.

Exam 1-4 weeks

  • Saturday: receive exam question assignment
  • Tuesday: submit exam assignment
  • Wednesday and Thursday: instructors grade exam
  • Friday: review exam feedback and submit Exam Learning Reflection

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.