Contemporary research on brain development is revolutionizing our understanding of learning, memory, health, and human change. How does this revolution affect our professional practice with people? How does a person who is not a neuroscientist sort out what is useful from the torrent of headlines, articles, and books on the brain? How can we tell the myths and the overhyped fads from the solid understanding that can inform our practices and help us become more effective practitioners?

University of Vermont’s Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education and Social Services, and Department of Psychological Science offer several courses to help answer these questions and inform professional practices with children and adults in a wide range of professional fields.

Brain Research & Learning Courses

EDCI 200: Society, Stress & the Brain (3 credits)

Society, Stress & the Brain familiarizes students with brain development and the learning process in the context of complex social conditions such as poverty, instability, and fear. Throughout this course, students study the effects of stress on the learning process and consider methods of instruction and interaction that address the various developmental needs of children in diverse contexts (i.e. schools, families, and discursive contexts). This course is particularly relevant to those invested in the fields of education, counseling, psychology, and sociology, as we explore different methods of interaction and discourse that relate to locus of control and agency.

PSYC 121: Biopsychology (3 credits)

Biopsychology (behavioral neuroscience) is the study of the biological basis of behavior. In this course we will examine many of the important issues in this field, including the nuts and bolts of the nervous system, the effects of drugs, perception, biological basis of emotion, and brain plasticity. Our primary goal is to provide you with a knowledge foundation that will allow you to think critically about topics and research in the field of behavioral neuroscience. Prerequisite: PSYC 001

PSYC 222: Behavioral Neruoscience (3 credits)

This class introduces students to various molecular-, cellular- and system-level approaches used to investigate the formation, retention, and expression of memory. We will examine findings from animal and human research on the neurobiological mechanisms of learning. Memory neuropathology will also be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 121

EDCI 200: Universal Design for Learning (3 credits)

UDL is a framework for designing learning experiences that engage wide ranges of learners. Through UDL, it is possible that every student in a classroom will experience more deeply connected learning. Optimal use of UDL principles reduces the need for individual accommodations, because the classroom environment is designed without barriers to learning. Through this course, participants will connect advances in cognitive science and the neuroscience of learning to UDL practice, develop UDL curriculum, and become familiar with the national policy environment with regard to UDL.

EDCI 200: Ethics of Neuroscience in Education (1 credit)

This course explores ethical issues related to current and developing neuroscience research, with particular attention to the field of education and students placed at risk through poverty. The field of neuroscience is committed to advancing the understanding of the brain and how it works. Exciting discoveries are being made every day in this field and are being used to inform decisions in medicine, public policy, and even education. However, the ethical issues related to such research and related decisions are seldom explored. Understanding the ethics of neuroscience becomes increasingly important as we consider correlations between neuroscience, behavior, and health. Here, issues such as chronic stress, SES, addiction, and brain development can have a significant impact on one’s availability for learning, quality of life, and even lifespan.

EDCI 200: Curriculum Development and Universal Design (3 credits)

This course will focus on designing curriculum with the learning needs of all students in mind. An overview of theories of curriculum design will be covered, with a particular focus on applying action research to change and inform practice in the classroom. Universal Design for Learning Principles, in combination with existing neuroscience research, will be studied as methods to rethink and reinvent the design of curriculum. Students will leave this course having completed an Action Research project using UDL principles in either K-12 education or higher education.

HDFS 295: Sex Differences in Learning (1 credit)

Sex Differences in Learning is a 1-credit online course based on the book by Lise Eliot, Pink Brain, Blue Brain. We will read and discuss the book, compare the author’s conclusions to other research on sex differences, and consider implications of sex differences for teaching, caregiving, and parenting. We will examine fallacies in current popular views of differences between the sexes. Students develop a better understanding of the origins and meaning of sex differences and consider their own practices in working with children and adolescents.

EDCI 200: Teaching Learners to Use Their Brains (1 credit)

Research on the neuroscience of memory and learning reveals potentially useful explanations as to how various types of learning occur. Students read and review selected research about the cognitive, affective, and motor aspects of learning, including how the neuroscience perspective of UDL extends the knowledge base of cognitive learning theory. Students design meaningful pedagogy that takes into account the variation present among any given classroom of learners. This class explores ways to motivate and to engage students in their learning by helping them understand the functions of the brain. Research from the neuroscience of learning will inform a practical approach to applying this knowledge in classroom settings.

Brain Research and Learning Summer Courses

    There are no courses that meet this criteria.

    Brain Research and Learning Fall Courses

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