[FUN_Mail] Question about overlap in courses for a neuroscience major

Malinda Fitzgerald via FUN_Mail fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
Tue Sep 23 17:06:16 EDT 2014


Sounds like unifying theme for neuroscience symposium

Sent from my iPhone

> On Sep 23, 2014, at 3:56 PM, "Susan Kennedy via FUN_Mail" <fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org> wrote:
> 
> I smell a conference.......or at least a gathering to talk about this, and
> other matters related to undergraduate neuroscience....
> 
> Susan
> 
> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 10:27 AM, Jan Thornton via FUN_Mail <
> fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org> wrote:
> 
>> At Oberlin we offer a 200-level Intro course in Neuroscience.  First-years
>> have to have bio as a pre-req but sophomores can take it without any
>> pre-req.  It is required of all the psych majors (takes the place of physio
>> psych).  It is very popular across the campus.
>> 
>> That means we have to cover some basic bio and chem (which is good) but we
>> still get to the basics of neurophys, neuropharm, neuroanat, sensory and
>> developmental, and behavioral/cognitive aspects of neuroscience.  And of
>> course we include fun, exciting examples throughout.  It is a challenging,
>> but doable course for nonmajors. It is required as a gateway to the upper
>> level courses.
>> 
>> Then I can teach an upper level Behavioral Neuroscience course and the
>> department teaches many other upper level courses e.g. Neuropharmacology or
>> neuroanatomy.  For most of the upper level classes we review the basics
>> that are needed for that area of neuroscience...but the students need
>> repetition to actually, truly learn the material any way. By the time they
>> leave they actually KNOW something about action potentials,
>> neurotransmitters, G proteins, etc...they haven't just memorized them for
>> one test and forgotten them.
>> 
>> And yes, there are fewer students in the upper level classes but that is a
>> plus.  We can do more discussion and workshop type work.
>> Its a good idea to bring the faculty together to discuss what they cover
>> so not everyone emphasizes the same neural disorders.
>> Jan thornton
>> 
>> 
>>> On 9/23/2014 10:11 AM, David J Bauer via FUN_Mail wrote:
>>> 
>>> We had a similar problem at Viterbo when our Biopsychology major was
>>> created. At that time the only neuroscience-related courses were
>>> upper-level and our psychology majors (50% of the students) had a very
>>> difficult time with the material and seriously lagged behind the BIOP and
>>> BIOL majors. This resulted in a simplification of the material such that
>>> the course was upper-level in name but lower-level in content... not
>>> optimal.
>>> 
>>> Ultimately we created a lower-level intro/lab course that serves as a
>>> prerequisite for our upper-level offerings and fulfills the "biological
>>> basis of behavior" requirement for the PSYC majors. This has worked very
>>> well for us although the trade-off is fewer students in the upper-level
>>> courses because these are not required for PSYC majors. However, the
>>> students in the upper-level courses are now guaranteed to have received
>>> introductory education and are much more prepared for the challenges of
>>> 300- and 400-level coursework.
>>> 
>>> Best of luck!
>>> 
>>> -Dave
>>> 
>>> --------------------------------------
>>> David J. Bauer, Ph.D.
>>> Viterbo University
>>> 608-796-3712
>>> djbauer at viterbo.edu
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: FUN_Mail [mailto:fun_mail-bounces at lists.funfaculty.org] On Behalf
>>> Of Susan Kennedy via FUN_Mail
>>> Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2014 9:00 AM
>>> To: Lorig, Tyler
>>> Cc: fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org
>>> Subject: Re: [FUN_Mail] Question about overlap in courses for a
>>> neuroscience major
>>> 
>>> Same issues here at Denison, where Neuroscience is a "concentration" (not
>>> a major, more than a minor).  For example, there is (necessarily?) some
>>> overlap between our Introductory Neuroscience (Neur 200; an overview course
>>> covering the basics--first seven chapters in Bear's book) course and my
>>> 300-level Biological Psychology course.  We had some issues a few years
>>> back with students who enrolled in BioPsych prior to N200 (couldn't be
>>> helped; scheduling demands); since then, we have worked hard to make
>>> certain that students take these courses in their proper and logical
>>> sequence.
>>> 
>>> I will say, however, that overlap is not necessarily a bad thing.
>>> Neuroanatomy, in my view, is something students NEED to hear in different
>>> contexts, more than once, in different courses.
>>> 
>>> This is an interesting and important discussion, and I look forward to
>>> hearing from others!!
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> On Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:49 AM, Lorig, Tyler via FUN_Mail <
>>> fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Hello Rick!
>>>> 
>>>> We have been doing this quite a while at W&L and also have a great
>>>> deal of overlap...As long as the courses serve multiple curricula, I
>>>> don't think there is a way around having more overlap than
>>>> needed...You can improve the situation by putting all the neuroscience
>>>> program faculty in a room and discussing the lecture schedule in
>>>> required courses and asking if anyone else is covering that info...If
>>>> one faculty member knows the info is being covered elsewhere, it may
>>>> free them up to reduce the time on that topic or change their
>>>> approach. For us, the overlap is action potentials...everyone covers
>>>> this a little but there is really only one required course where
>>>> students get a lot of depth.   We are willing to let this stand because
>>>> the
>>>> redundancy only lasts a couple of days in class and isn't a bad
>>>> reminder...We also use very different approaches to teaching the same
>>>> info and those perspectives are, I think, good for the students to see.
>>>> 
>>>> All the best to you and your colleagues at Hendrix!
>>>> 
>>>> Tyler
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> -------------------------------------
>>>> Tyler S. Lorig, Ph.D.
>>>> Ruth Parmly Professor and
>>>> Chair, Neuroscience Program
>>>> Washington and Lee University
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> On Sep 22, 2014, at 2:42 PM, Murray, Rick via FUN_Mail <
>>>> fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org<mailto:fun_mail at lists.funfaculty.org>>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> Hi everyone,
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>  We are in the process of developing an interdisciplinary neuroscience
>>>> major here at Hendrix College and we are faced with a problem of too
>>>> much overlap in content in our core courses. Since we are a program
>>>> and not a department, all of our faculty and most of our courses have
>>>> homes in different departments (biology, psychology, philosophy
>>>> etc...). Due to limited resources we plan to use many of these
>>>> existing courses in our major (eg. Cellular and Molecular
>>>> neurobiology, behavioral neuroscience etc...), but that means that the
>>>> courses will serve two masters. Once the major is introduced, these
>>>> courses will be populated with a combination of neuroscience majors
>>>> and also majors from our home departments. Neuroscience majors will
>>>> know basic neuroscience concepts from our intro course but majors from
>>>> our home departments will not. That means that each course will have
>>>> to introduce basic concepts for non-neuroscience majors but the
>>>> neuroscience majors will hear this material in 4 or 5 different courses.
>>>> Unfortunately we can't make the introductory neuro course a
>>>> prerequisite for the others or we'll essentially be preventing our
>>>> non-neuroscience majors from taking it (they won't have room in their
>>>> schedule for both courses). We suspect that others may have faced this
>>>> problem and would like to ask; how did you deal with it?
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Rick
>>>> 
>>>> Richard Murray
>>>> Chair, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program Chair, Neuroscience
>>>> Program Judy and Randy Wilbourn Odyssey Associate Professor of Biology
>>>> Hendrix College
>>>> 1600 Washington Ave
>>>> Conway, AR 72032
>>>> 
>>>> Phone: 501-450-4588
>>>> 
>>>> MAILMAN_MIMEDEFANG WRAP
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>>> --
>>> Susan Kennedy-Davis, Ph.D.
>>> Associate Professor, Department of Psychology Neuroscience Concentration
>>> Coordinator Denison University Granville, OH  43023 MAILMAN_MIMEDEFANG WRAP
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> 
> 
> -- 
> Susan Kennedy-Davis, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
> Neuroscience Concentration Coordinator
> Denison University
> Granville, OH  43023
> MAILMAN_MIMEDEFANG WRAP
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