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How to study on this course

How to study on this course
Silver, metallic looking illustration of a brain
© University of Birmingham

We all might like to know why we think, act or feel like we do; it may be the reason you have enrolled onto the Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics of the brain course.

However, before we can get close to thinking about the brain at that level we need to understand something about its basic biology so we can see how that biology allows it to work in the amazing way that it does – and that is the aim of the “basics of the brain” course. Then we might be able to work out why it is that brain function can change, possibly to the detriment of the individual.

In Week 1 we are going to take a brief tour of the human brain and its cells, so that in Week 2 we can investigate how some very basic biological processes allow it to do the amazing things it does. Then in Week 3 we will be able to look at some examples of what studying the brain has told us so far about how it is that you can do the crossword, plan next year’s holiday or perhaps why it is that someone you know can no longer remember what they had for breakfast this morning.

In each week you will find a variety of activities designed to give you simplified but necessary bits of information to go on to subsequent weeks. Sometimes this means that you will be introduced to some technical jargon but every effort has been made to try and explain this jargon so that you can understand the key messages.

The activities include articles and videos which will provide you with some basic information. There are also case studies which focus on a single topic and contain tasks for you to do. Finally, there are discussions, where I have posed you a topical, controversial or thought-provoking question which you can post your thoughts about and discuss with the others on the course.

Tips to get the most from the course:

Finding sources of information: The internet is full of all sorts of resources but of variable quality. At various points in this course I will give you a basic introduction to a concept but then suggest that you go off and search for some specific information. Of course, you may also wish to find additional information beyond the introductory information provided. As a general guide, look for internet sites that are associated with official organisations eg Universities or associations dedicated to particular disorders/diseases.

Make your own glossary: each of you will have your own level of experience, so to personalise the course, I suggest that you construct a glossary of terms that are new to you.

Downloadable video still shots: for some of the videos, you will find a still taken from the video at the end of the transcript pdf. You can use these to support your learning by annotating them with the key points that you identify.

© University of Birmingham
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Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics

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