The human brain has more than 85 billion nerve cells, also known as neurons. Ever since the original description of the neuron by Santiago Ramón y Cajal in the 19th century, neuroscientists have known that understanding the neuron is key toward understanding how the brain works.
This course is an introduction to neuroscience in which we will examine the inner workings of the neuron: how it computes information, generates signals, communicates with others, and allows us to learn about and experience our world. We will also focus on the development of new technologies that have allowed us to study neurons in ways that were impossible just a few years ago.
Students will gain not only conceptual knowledge about basic neuroscientific concepts, but also unique insight into the behind-the-scenes activity that goes on in science labs working at the cutting edge of their field, and about how science is made and published.
The course will consist of a series of modules that will introduce the students to the basic material, engage them in virtual laboratories and research projects using online resources, take them on virtual tours of several neuroscience laboratories at Brown, teach critical skills for evaluating scientific claims, and allow for engaging interactions with their peers and instructors. The course is geared toward anyone who is curious about neuroscience, including future science majors, those contemplating medical school, and anyone interested in understanding how brain cells and brains work.
"During the time when everyone was working on their final projects, the instructor helped push me out of my comfort zone. Because of the instructor’s motivation, I was able to approach the project more scientifically. As a result, I got so much more out of the project and learned new research skills. The instructor really cares about his students."
- Neuroscience in Action student, Summer 2015
Time commitment: Your course will open on a Monday, two days in advance of the Wednesday course start date to give you time to get to know Canvas (Brown's learning management system), review course expectations and strategies for your success, learn about your instructor, and help us to learn a bit about you. These introductory activities should take you just a few hours to complete.
Plan to spend approximately 10 hours per week on coursework. To be successful in this course, you must have reliable internet access, and will be expected to participate in the course multiple times each week.
Computer with reliable, high-speed internet connection | Note: Mobile devices (smart phones, tablets) are also supported, but may be less than optimal for some required assignments. We recommend using these as supplemental access points in addition to your computer. We also recommend downloading the Canvas Mobile App for iOS or Android devices for the best experience on mobile devices.
Up-to-date Internet browser supported by Canvas, Brown's learning management system
Headphones, earbuds or speakers
Webcam and microphone
Adobe Flash Player browser plugin (Course elements may require Flash and will not work on an iPad.)
Word Processing application to save and open Microsoft Office formats (.doc,.docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx)
Supplementary materials: none