Effective Use of Computer Simulations in an Introductory Neuroscience Laboratory

Joel P Bish, Stephanie Schleidt

Abstract


Introductory Neuroscience courses are being offered more regularly at diverse institutions. On the other hand, the creation of an independent laboratory curriculum for introductory neuroscience courses puts a strain on financial and human resources of a small college. A solution to this situation might be presented through the use of relevant simulation software in order to eliminate the binding of resources; but nevertheless, provide sufficient, effective, and engaging education to students. This paper suggests the use of a combination of different software during Introductory Neuroscience laboratory sessions, which are finely tuned with the material presented during lecture. Two student cohorts were evaluated and compared using three types of measures: exam grades, course evaluations, and software evaluations. The results show that the use of software simulations had a positive effect on the performance of students on exams, and on the favorability of course ratings. The findings suggest the use of software simulations for Introductory Neuroscience courses to be beneficial for the learning experience of the students.

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