Frequently Asked Questions

Who can enroll in this course?

All non-Neuroscience major juniors and seniors who have completed the two semester biology series (BS 161 / 162 or LB 144 / 145) are able to enroll. Neuroscience majors should enroll in the two semester series NEU 301 / 302.

I have an RCPD VISA that allows me more time on an exam (or other accommodation). What do I do with it?

Have your RCPD Advisor send me (mcgove14@msu.edu) your VISA and accommodation as soon as possible, and we will work together to make sure the course runs smoothly for you.

Why am I teaching myself all the content?

 

Why are there so many due dates and assignments?

The online version of this course is structured differently than the in person version. In person, we meet twice a week, and the discussion and assignment submission occur synchronously at that time. To allow for student flexibility, the online version is run asynchronously. To have successful discussion, this requires two separate due dates – one for an initial post and one for replies. One due date often does not allow enough time for replies as many initial posts are shared at the due date deadline. There is also a due date for the assignment after the discussion occurs and a reflection on the assignment itself. This leads to four separate due dates throughout the week.

Can I share course information with other people or upload to tutoring websites?

No.

As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:

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.

Commercialization of lecture notes and university-provided course materials is not permitted in this course.
Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions, including receiving a penalty grade in the course.

Why do I have to work in a team?

Research shows that a team will outperform all of its members individual, even the top member. You will also be entering fields (medicine, research, technology) that frequently require co-workers to collaborate on projects. Additionally, the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Colleges and Employers have ranked the ability to work in teams as one of the three most important skills employers look for in college graduates (the ability to think critically and the ability to communicate effectively are the other two). Practicing this skill in courses can help you succeed in future endeavors.

Why aren’t there more lectures?

This course is structured differently than most traditional courses. Here, you do reading up front and try to work through the material yourself (with the help of your team) first. After that, review videos explain the questions in detail. Essentially, this course is set up backward from what you are probably used to. Instead of lecture, then assignment, then exam, we have reading, assignment, lecture, exam. The idea is to get you to be engaged with the content. Listening to a lecture is passive, but researching through the text to find the appropriate background information and then apply that information to a problem is active. That type of learning will help retain content longer.

Why do I have to complete these assignments? They are too hard.

The assignments are challenging, but educational research shows that when students have to generate answers to novel problems (like those seen in the problem set), it requires higher-order thinking about previously learned material (e.g. from the textbook). 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 received 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 in class and online 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.

Why do you use private chat instead of email?

The private chat provides a space to keep all our communication together, unlike email. We could end up having dozens of email threads, possibly covering some of the same issues. In the private chat, our history is readily accessible at any time. It also allows me to have all student communication located in one place.