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Online course

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics

What do we know and what are we discovering about the form and function of the human brain? Find out with this online course.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its length + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics

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This course is part of the Good Brain, Bad Brain program, which will enable you to explore the human brain, for CPD or as a gateway to further study.

Why join the course?

This free online course is an introduction to the key concepts of the human brain and is designed for the non-specialist. It gives you basic information and explanations, so that you may better understand your own amazing brain.

Understand your own amazing brain

We will look at what your brain is made of, how these components are organised and how they function.

This information is helping neuroscientists across the globe understand the brain - and how it is able to do everything from stopping you falling off your bike, to making you feel sad that your football team lost their game, to helping you learn how your brain works.

Understand the terminology of neuroscience

Like all specialist areas, the field of neuroscience has its own terminology, and often a single word or short phrase can carry a whole paragraph’s meaning. This course is designed to introduce you to this specialist lexicon and the key biological processes underpinning brain function.

Learn more with the Good Brain, Bad Brain program

This course is the first of three in the Good Brain, Bad Brain program from the University of Birmingham. It will help you become familiar and confident with the basics, so you can go on to learn more about Parkinson’s disease and drug origins.

When you complete all three courses and buy a Certificate of Achievement for each, you will earn a FutureLearn Award as proof of completing the program of study.

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What topics will you cover?

  • The cells of the nervous system: neurones and glia
  • Basic neuroanatomy of the brain and the concept of the relationship between structure and function
  • Basic properties of neurones, including an introduction to the action potential
  • A brief introduction to the functioning of the synapse
  • Examples of drugs (legal and therapeutic) that alter the function of neurones and synapses
  • Examples of brain disorders that illustrate how some functions are highly localised, such as the sensory systems, whilst others are distributed throughout the brain, such as emotion

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

  • Describe the key features of the cells that make up the human nervous system that allow them to carry out their function
  • Explain how the arrangement of these cells within the human brain relates to brain function
  • Explain how drugs can impact on the normal function of neurones of the brain
  • Discuss how brain disorders can impact on the functioning of the brain

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out the fundamentals of how the human brain works. It assumes that you will have basic school-level biological knowledge.

You might be doing your A-levels and considering a neuroscience-related degree; a computer-scientist interested in neural networks; or in business and wondering how the workings of your employees’ brains influences the culture of your business.

Who will you learn with?

Alison Cooper

Alison Cooper is a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where she teaches neuroscience and pharmacology.

Who developed the course?

The University of Birmingham is a public research university, consistently listed as a leading UK university and ranked among the top 100 in the world.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its length + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps)
  • Access to quizzes and assignments
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For £69 you’ll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose take to a course for free.

A Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your Linkedin or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.