Intro to Neuroanatomy
This one-week intensive class
provides an introduction to mammalian neuroanatomy. Teaching is through
lectures (the introductory lecture focusing on structure, and the concluding
lecture focusing on function), and through hands-on lab experience. The course
covers human neuroanatomy which consists of a human brain demonstration
dissection, plus a sheep brain dissection lab designed to ground the
undergraduate/graduate students/postdocs in the basics of the three
dimensionality of the brain. There is also an introduction to the different
imaging modalities. The class is targeted to med students, engineers, scientists (life,
physical and computer) and business students. This is a class that I have been
teaching for 10 years at MIT.
This is a class I co-developed and
co-teach at MIT (via Skype, live conferencing, or in-person) each year that
addresses the fundamentals of technology and the commercialization process. It is a seminar and project-oriented
course on the challenges of envisioning, planning, and building startups to
bring neurotechnology innovations to the world.
It brings together people from many
different disciplines and puts them together in a project-oriented class where
the final project, in some cases, results in a company that develops and
commercializes a new technology.
No more than two engineers, two med
students, two business students, and two scientists are put together on the
teams. We, the professors, do not select what the students want to do; they
decide based on presentations of ideas and science that have resulted in a new
technology; or is an idea that will produce a new piece of technology. This
class is centered on anything that has a component of 'neuro' in it.
The results are numerous patents and patent
applications in the past five years and some groups have gone on to win the MIT
100k competition and started viable companies. Not everyone is interested in
taking their work to this end however; we provide the avenue for each to take
the work to the conclusion they desire. This entire process is built on trust,
which is not always easy for the international students. Also, not all of the
team members are students; some are professors and others are from other institutions
that want to be a part of the class.
The class also provides a common language
for communication, since neuroscience, as well as many areas of science and
engineering, have different 'languages'. This common language better enables
communication. It sounds simple, but it is actually more complicated than it
first appears. Communication is the critical key to success; and after working
in Asia and Europe I've learned that even when everyone is speaking English the
meaning of words do not always translate.
2001 I introduced the Paperless Classroom to MIT using TabletPCs. This was
across three distinct fields: Humanities, Engineering and Brain and Cognitive
Sciences (Chinese to Neuroanatomy). For Chinese, students spent their time
learning the language instead of figuring out how to use the keyboard
workarounds. In 2005 I introduced it to the University of Hong Kong. All course
reading materials were scanned at the beginning of the semester and available
for download at any time, eliminating the need to carry books around. The
PowerPoint class lectures were available for download before each class. The
class lectures were digitized and were available at the end of each class. The
students used their TabletPCs to take notes directly on the PDF reading
materials and class lectures. They could listen to the lecture as many times as
necessary. It was easy for them to carry a light TabletPC in a backpack with
all class materials on it. Students were able to study anytime, anywhere. At
both MIT and the University of Hong Kong the students learned 25% more material
and the bottom 25% of the class improved by one letter grade.