This fall semester I decided to embark on an adventure through the mind by learning about different disorders and disease affecting our brain in the neurochemistry class at Concordia College. Prior to the first day of class, I thought the class was going to be very difficult and boring because of the overwhelming amount of biochemistry present in the subject. Also, I was concerned that I would be clueless about what was happening because I have had very limited exposure to diseases affecting the brain prior to this class. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that, although there is a lot of biochemistry, the class was one of the most satisfying classes I have taken at Concordia College and I recommend it to everyone.
What makes this such a great class? Well, I’m glad you asked. First, the class is set up differently than any other science class I have ever taken. Each week we attempt to tackle a new disease by investigating biological pathways which are disrupted as a result of the disease or disorder. Over the weekend we are assigned to read a research paper and write down questions that arise. In class on Monday’s background information about the paper is provided to help with our understanding of the disease or disorder. Additionally, questions are asked about the paper and these questions assigned to different members of the class to research and answer. On Wednesday, each member reports what they learned about their assigned question. Finally, during Friday’s class, the class is split up into groups and a discussion ensues about possible solutions to the disease or disorder. Honestly the Friday discussions are my favorite part because by the end of the week I feel I understand enough of the disorder and the research paper to adequately debate what is causing the disorder and if there is anything that can be done. Also I like our side-tracked discussions which tend to take place. After the discussion we write blogs about some aspect of what we learn through the course of the week and post it on the class blog page (the very site you are looking at).
Second, everyone can relate to at least to one or two of the disorders and diseases presented in the class. Although we did explore some conditions which few people in our class have been directly affected by, like bipolar disorder, most of the topics were familiar to everyone such as obesity, concussions, and alcohol consumption. This means people were more willing to research and debate the disorder or disease in class. So what I think makes this a great class is that I am encouraged to explore each topic as in-depth as I want and share what I have learned with others. I feel this is a more effective way of teaching than being told information and expected to memorize it for a test at the end of the class.
Finally, I would like to quickly say what I have learned as a result of taking this neurochemistry class. First, as I’m sure you have expected, I have learned a lot about the different types of diseases which we focused on in class. Prior to studying each disease I had little knowledge regarding of what the diseases were and how they worked in the body. However, now I view people with the disorders or diseases in a different way. Second, I feel more comfortable discussing hot button topics concerning the diseases and sharing information about the disease to others not in the class. Finally, I have learned how to present valuable information quickly and effectively as a result of our 3 minute time limit on Wednesday classes. This has helped me realize what information is important and which is not. Therefore, overall the neurochemistry course at Concordia College is an excellent way to learn of diseases and disorders seen daily in society and to see what is being done to help these people.