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The future of the brain

Lead educator for the University of Birmingham’s free online course ‘Good brain, bad brain: basics’, Alison Cooper, discusses human fascination with the brain and what you can learn in this MOOC which starts on Monday.

Good brain bad brain: basics

The brain has long been a source of fascination for humans. We all possess one but nobody knows exactly how it works. However, most of us have some experience of what can happen if it gets injured or diseased and so we might wonder why and how brain function changes. This, of course, gets us around to thinking about what we can do to improve brain function now and what the possibilities might be in the future.

If any of the ideas above are things that you too find interesting then the free online course ‘Good brain bad brain: basics’ is for you. Before the course starts you might want to reflect on what made you sign up and which key things you would like to understand better by the end of it.

Putting the MOOC together has been challenging but a rewarding experience for me; I have had to decide what to put in and what to leave out to make it both interesting and comprehensible to a broad range of people from across the world but also intellectually stimulating enough for all. This has required me to draw on my experience of teaching here at the University of Birmingham, reflecting on what has and what hasn’t worked over the years and why.

I look forward to this course starting on Monday when learners will all be engaging with the materials, hopefully generating questions of their own, and identifying and sharing what is most fascinating about the brain for them.

I hope that everyone finds the course interesting and accessible for their prior level of knowledge and that this initiates a desire to advance their knowledge of the brain further in the future. So, if you haven’t already, sign up now at

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