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Neuroscience in the News

Instructor: Kayleigh Hood | Room: TBA | Date: TBA | Time: TBA

Photo: Christoph Straub

Contact Office: Jordan Hall 243
Office Hours: TBA

Required Materials Course Overview

Does brain training make you smarter? Can a brain scan
predict your career? How is neuroscience shaping fields
like marking, technology, and education? While news
articles about advances in neuroscience are generally
My Stroke of good sources of information, they can also exaggerate
Insight or misrepresent research findings. Through learning
by Jill Bolte basic concepts and techniques in lecture and computer
Taylor, PhD labs and comparing news articles to primary source
articles, students will gain the skills necessary to
become informed consumers of neuroscience
Computer Lab
The Brain basic Article Discussion
That Changes neuroscience hypotheses of Apply
Final Project
concepts. basic
Itself by concepts
concepts and Create an
techniques to
Norman using evaluate the
original news
neuroscience article based
Doidge M. D. quality of a on a research
techniques. news article. article.

Syllabus Template: Amy Nusbaum

Learning Objectives
At the end of this course you should be How is this
able to: assessed?
Explain the components and purpose of the scientific
method. Guided Note
Explain fundamental neuroscience anatomy and Questions and
1) Understand how physiology concepts. Recall Quizzes
neuroscientists Summarize common techniques used to study
answer questions neuroscience today.

about the brain. Engage with a variety of common neuroscience

techniques using authentic data sets and simulations. Computer Lab
Apply neuroscience techniques and concepts to Worksheets
answer a question using the scientific method.
Compare and contrast primary and secondary
scientific literature sources.
Evaluate the validity of news articles based on your
2) Become an knowledge of neuroscience techniques and the Article and Book
educated consumer scientific method. Discussions
of science Apply your understanding of neuroscience techniques
and concepts to understand both primary and news
journalism. articles.
Write an accurate news article based on a primary
literature article.
Final Project

Instructor Background & Technology

Teaching Philosophy Laptops and other devices are
Professor Hood is a PhD candidate in biology with a permitted in class and 1 laptop per
focus in Behavior/Physiology. Her dissertation work pair of students is required for lab.
aims to identify the role of the neurotransmitter
serotonin in encoding context of vocalizations in Please be respectful to your
auditory regions of the brain. She is excited to have classmates and do not use your
the opportunity to share her knowledge and passion devices in a distracting manor.
for neuroscience to the students in the Collins Living
and Learning Community. She values providing Note: Research suggests that
students with authentic learning experiences both as students who take notes by hand
a research mentor and instructor. Her goal for the retain more information than
semester is to provide students with a collaborative students who take electronic notes.
learning environment where the students can work
together to become more informed readers of 2/attention-students-put-your-laptops-
science news. away
Code of Conduct Plagiarism
In order to have productive discussions, it
is vital that we all commit to respecting The Code of Student Rights,
one another. During the first class, we will Responsibilities, and Conduct (2005)
as a group agree on a code of conduct indicates that students may be disciplined
and the consequences for not adhering to for several different kinds of academic
that code of conduct. misconduct. These include cheating,
Note: As a part of this commitment to fabrication, interference and violation of
respecting one another, I ask that in your course rules. In particular, the code states:
written assignments you adhere to the
“Plagiarism is defined as presenting someone else's
language guidelines described on the work, including the work of other students, as one's
following sites: own. Any ideas or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be fully
capping-language.aspx acknowledged, unless the information is common knowledge. What is considered "common knowledge"
may differ from course to course.
a. A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas,
Attendance opinions, theories, formulas, graphics, or pictures of
another person without acknowledgment.
b. A student must give credit to the originality of others
Attending and being an active participant and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever:
in class is the best way for you to engage 1. Directly quoting another person's actual words,
with the material and your peers’ whether oral or written;
2. Using another person's ideas, opinions, or theories;
experiences and for your peers to benefit 3. Paraphrasing the words, ideas, opinions, or theories
from your unique perspective. of others, whether oral or written;
4. Borrowing facts, statistics, or illustrative material; or
Students are permitted 3 excused 5. Offering materials assembled or collected by others
absences. Additional absences will in the form of projects or collections without
result in point deduction. However, acknowledgment.”
attending class may not always be
possible. Students that are unable to
attend class are responsible for
completing all work for the missed class Deadlines and Late Work
and submitting that work by the next class Assignment deadlines are listed in the
period. Lab materials and recordings of syllabus. Work turned in after the
lectures and article discussions will be deadline will be deducted one letter
posted online. Ideally, every student is grade (10%) for every day late. For one
able to attend every class, so if there is assignment (excluding the final project and
anything that can be done to make extra credit assignments), students may
attendance possible for you, please turn in that assignment one class past the
contact Professor Hood to discuss options. deadline without any point deduction.
20% of Final Grade Article Discussions
During 6 class periods throughout the
Leading Discussion semester we will discuss a news article and
Every student must lead discussion at the original primary source article in order to
least once. compare and contrast the two. Professor
Groups must meet with Professor Hood at Hood will lead the first discussion.
least once before their discussion date. Subsequent discussions will be led by
The meeting should be at least 1 week groups of 3-4 students. Students who are not
before their discussion to answer any leading discussion are required to complete
questions about the article and to discuss and submit the Pre-Discussion Assignment
strategies for leading their discussion. on Canvas by midnight the night before the
Groups will be given 2-3 article pairs to discussion.
choose from but can also select their own.
All members of the group must complete
the Discussion Leader Assignment in
place of the Pre-Discussion Assignment All students must participate in each
that focuses on creating discussion discussion to receive full credit. To receive
questions. full points for participation, students must
We will sign up for discussion either verbally participate in discussions or
groups/topics during the first week of submit a written response to the
class. discussion by the next class period.

Computer Labs 21% of Final Grade

While working in pairs, students will explore the scientific research process and
neuroscience concepts we cover in lecture. Labs will use either simulations or data sets
from the techniques we are covering that week. All labs will require 1 laptop computer
per pair of students. Students will complete a worksheet that will guide student progress
through that week’s activity. Pairs can complete worksheets work together during lab but
each student is responsible for turning in their own worksheet.

10% of Final Grade Guided Note Questions

Prior to each lecture, students will use the posted powerpoint and resources for the lecture
to answer a series of multiple choice questions on Canvas. There will be 1 Guided Note
Question assignment for each lecture, but only the 20 highest scoring Guided Note
Question assignments will count towards your final grade.
10% of Final Grade Book Discussions
During this course, we will read the books
Extra Credit Opportunity My Stroke of Insight and The Brain that
Changes Itself. Professor Hood will lead a
Each week’s scheduled book reading will discussion of these books during weeks 6
have an optional response worksheet that and 15 respectively. Students are required
students may complete for extra credit. All to read each book and submit a written
extra credit response worksheets must be response to that book on Canvas at
submitted within 1 week of the scheduled midnight the night before the discussion. To
reading. 1 worksheet is worth 3 1/3rd get full credit for participating in the book
points. Students may complete up to 1 discussions students must fulfil the
worksheet per week for 50 points total requirements described under the Article
extra credit. Discussion assignment. A recommended
reading schedule is included in the syllabus.
Final Project 29% of Final Grade
Each student will create and then present
their own news article based on an Final Project Schedule
academic article. Students will select the
topic of their academic article. After our final
article discussion, we as a class will come Topic Selection Week 12
up with a rubric for what, in the 6 article
discussion articles, were the important parts Rough Draft Due Week 13
of an accurate news article. During the final
exam meeting for the class students will Peer Review Week 14
submit a written news article and will present Week 16
their article to the class in a 10 minute oral Final
Both the written final article and presentation Week)
are each worth 10% of the final grade.

10% of Final Grade Recall Quizzes

Every week, students will take a brief in-class multiple choice exam to assess
understanding of the previous week’s material. Only the 10 highest scoring quizzes will
count towards your final grade.
Note: Practice multiple choice quiz questions will be available on Canvas after each lecture.
Summary of Total Points
Article Discussions
Pre-Discussion Worksheets (5) 20 pts each 100 points
Discussion Participation (5) 10 pts each 50 points
Leading Discussion 50 points
Computer Labs
Worksheets (7) 30 pts each 210 points
Guided Note Questions
Guided Note Questions (20) 5 pts each 100 points
Book Discussions
Book Discussion Responses (2) 25 pts each 50 points
Book Discussion Participation (2) 25 pts each 50 points
Extra Credit Book Responses (15) 3 1/3rd pts each 50 points
Final Project
Rough Draft 30 points
Peer Evaluation 60 points
Written Submission 100 points
Final Project Presentation 100 points
Recall Quizzes
Quizzes (10) 10 pts each 100 points
TOTAL__________ 1000 points

Total Points A+ 1000-990 B+ 899-880 C+ 799-780 D+ 699-680

A 989-920 B 879-820 C 779-720 D 679-620 F <600
Required for:
A- 919-900 B- 819-800 C- 719-700 D- 619-600

Strategies for Success

Before Class During Class After Class
- Complete assigned work. - Have note-taking - Review notes and take
- Be prepared to fully materials, including access practice quizzes to identify
participate in labs, article to powerpoints, note outline, topics you are comfortable
and book discussions. On articles, or lab materials. with and topics you need to
discussion or group work - Discuss your questions spend more time studying.
days you are expected to with your peers during - Attend office hours
come to class prepared to appropriate points in class
start right away.
Office Hours
Office hours are your chance to get questions answered and to get one on one help. You can use
office hours to talk about the course, study skills, mental health issues, your background, your
career, advice for future courses, or anything else. Feel free to come to office hours alone or with
a friend. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Please ask for help early and often and do not wait
until the end of the semester to address any issue you may have regarding this course.
Weekly Schedule
Week Topic/ Outcomes Readings Assignments Due

Unit 1 – Learning Outcomes:

The -Understand foundational neuroscience terminology
Electric -Understand how individual neurons send and receive signals
Brain -Identify differences in primary and secondary scientific literature

-Define foundational
neuroscience terms
My Stroke of Lab 1 - Parts of a
-Distinguish between primary
1 Insight Chapters neuron and brain -Lab 1 Worksheet
and news articles
-Describe parts of a typical nerve 1-3 (36 pgs) model dissection

-Understand how the scientific

method can be used to test My Stroke of
hypotheses -Pre-Discussion
Insight Chapters
-Distinguish between different Worksheet
4-6 (30 pgs)
2 types of variables and Article Discussion 1 -Extra Credit (E. C.) My
experimental groups Stroke of Insight
-Identify differences in the Discussion 1
Chapters 1-3 response
primary and secondary literature Articles
publication process

-Describe the electrical and

chemical processes that occur in
an action potential -Lab 2 Worksheet
My Stroke of
-Explain the role of chemical and Lab 2- -E. C. My Stroke of
3 Insight Chapters
electrical gradients in action Electrophysiology Insight Chapters 4-6
potential firing 7-10 (30 pgs)
-Describe the role of action
potentials in sensory receptors

-Define neurotransmitters My Stroke of

-Explain how neurotransmitters Insight Chapters
can modify action potential firing 11-13 (32 pgs)
4 Article 2 Discussion -E. C. My Stroke of
-Describe how modification of
action potential response can Insight Chapters 7-10
Discussion 2
lead to changes in cell function response
Weekly Schedule
Learning Outcomes:
Unit 2 – -Understand how neuroscientists differentiate between regions of the brain
Neural -Identify functions of commonly studied brain regions
Anatomy -Understand the value of using non-human model organisms to study

-Discuss historical
connections between brain
anatomy and behavior.
-Identify and describe the 6
-Lab 3 Worksheet
main parts of the central My Stroke of
Lab 3- Comparative -E. C. My Stroke of
5 nervous system: spinal cord, Insight Chapters
Neuroanatomy Insight Chapters 11-13
medulla oblongata, pons, 14-17 (29 pgs)
cerebellum, midbrain,
diencephalon, and cerebral

-Identify and distinguish

between the frontal, parietal,
occipital, and temporal lobes
of the cerebral cortex -Book Response
My Stroke of
-Discuss the identification of My Stroke of Insight -E. C. My Stroke of
6 Insight Chapters
functional regions of the Discussion Insight Chapters 14-17
18-20 (28 pgs)
human cerebral cortex response
including, Broca’s area,
Wernicke’s area, Motor area,
and Somatosensory cortex.
-Compare similarities and
differences between central
The Brain that -Lab 4 Worksheet
nervous system structures of Lab 4- Birdsong
Changes Itself -E. C. My Stroke of
7 different vertebrates Neuroanatomy and
Chapters 1-2 (45 Insight Chapters 18-20
-Examine the role of animal Physiology
pgs) response
research in the study of
-Describe how motivational, The Brain that
sensory, and motor Changes Itself -Pre-Discussion
processes are represented Chapter 3 (48 Worksheet
8 in the brain. pgs) Article Discussion 3 -E.C. The Brain that
-Identify the four principles Changes Itself
that govern the organization Discussion 3 Chapters 1-2 response
of major functional systems. Articles
Weekly Schedule
Unit 3 – Neural
Learning Outcomes:
Networks and
-Understand how neurons influence firing in other cells
-Understand how different regions may interact to perform complex functions
-Compare how patterns of -Lab 5 Worksheet
The Brain that
interconnection of nerve cells Lab 5- Neural -E.C. The Brain that
9 Changes Itself
and brain regions can convey Networks Changes Itself Chapter 3
Chapter 4 (39 pgs)
complex information response
The Brain that
-Describe the distribution and Changes Itself
function of the dopaminergic, Chapter 5 (32 pgs)
10 Article Discussion 4 -E.C. The Brain that
serotonergic, and
Changes Itself Chapter 4
noradrenergic neuron groups. Discussion 4
-Understand how hormones, The Brain that -Lab 6 Worksheet
including sex steroids, and Changes Itself Lab 6- PET -E.C. The Brain that
other non-neurotransmitters, Chapter 6-7 (32 Dopaminergic System Changes Itself Chapter 5
influence brain function. pgs) response
Unit 4 – Learning Outcomes:
Applied and - Understand how anatomical changes can be applied to function and changes in function
Behavioral seen in neurological disorders
Neuroscience -Describe integration of neuroscience and technology
-Identify and discuss possible ethical issues involved in technological applications
The Brain that
Changes Itself
-Explain how and when Worksheet
Chapter 8 (19 pgs)
12 changes in brain structure can Article Discussion 5 -E.C. The Brain that
result in changes in function. Changes Itself Chapters 6-
Discussion 5
7 response
-Understand how -Lab 7 Worksheet
The Brain that
neuroscientists investigate Lab 7- Neural -E.C. The Brain that
13 Changes Itself
brain disorders. Networks pt 2 Changes Itself Chapter 8
Chapter 9 (30 pgs)
-Student selected topic response
Final Project Peer Review
The Brain that -Final Project Rough Draft
-Apply news article evaluation
Changes Itself 10 - Pre-Discussion
criteria used in Article
(13 pgs) Worksheet
14 Discussions to peer writing. Article Discussion 6
-E.C. The Brain that
-Collaborate to create a rubric
Discussion 6 Changes Itself Chapter 9
for the Final Project
Articles response
-Discuss technological
The Brain that -Book Response
advances in neuroscience and The Brain that
Changes Itself -E.C. The Brain that
15 ethics of neuroscience Changes Itself
Chapter 11 (29 Changes Itself Chapter 10
advances Discussion
pgs) response
-E.C. The Brain that
16 Final Project Presentations
Changes Itself Chapter 11
(Finals Week)
Student Resources
Academic Help Other
Psychology/Brain Sciences Peer Tutor:
One-on one tutoring in neuroscience and Counseling and Psychological Services
psychology. (CAPS): Support for the mental health of all students
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phase of the writing process The Division of Student affairs has a variety of resources for ethics, misconduct
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