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For a class to be considered and capstone course at Concordia it must meet five qualifications.  One, it must instill a love for learning.  Two, the student develops foundational skills and a transferable intellectual capacity.  Three, the student develops an understanding of disciplinary, interdisciplinary and intercultural perspectives and their connections.  Four, they need to cultivate an examined cultural, ethical, physical and spiritual self-understanding.  Last but not least, it must encourage a responsible participation in the world (BREW).  What class meets all of these qualifications?  The Neurochemistry course at Concordia College does.  This class not only does those five things but goes beyond them.

Like most classes if a love of learning is instilled then that is a successful class.  Without this want to learn a student will get bored and won’t try or remember what the class was about.  Neurochemistry didn’t have a problem with this.  The first four weeks of the class dealt with teaching the class the basics of neurochemistry.  Without this main of us wouldn’t have understood any of the articles due to the complicated material.  The remainder of the semester was broken up weekly, each week dealing with one article on a different neurological disorder.  Every Monday the class talked about the article we read over the weekend.  The purpose of this was to get a better sense of what the article was getting at and after that the class would pick subjects about the article to taking about on Wednesday.  In the days leading up to Wednesday, as individuals we did research on our topic.  On that Wednesday we present the important parts of our topic in front of the class.  All of this work was done to meet on Fridays for group discussions.  The class would divide up into two groups each with 2-3 group leaders which would lead the groups in discussions.  This is where most of the class’s capstone qualities come from.

The discussions were probably the most fun but beneficial part of the course.  It allowed the class to openly talk about their ideas of the topic at hand.  With many of the topics dealing with diseases and hot topic issues, like concussions, Alzheimer’s and endocannabinoids, we could make connections with the research.  Some subjects were easier than others, but over all we could figure out why the research topics were important.  Although a lot of things were learned from each article one question always came up. That question was “how can we prevent these conditions”?  This question embodies the capstones requirements.  This question allowed us to come up with ideas on how to prevent diseases by making us and then the other people more a where of what not to do.

Neurochemistry was a fun and an important experience.  I personal am use to taking classes based on lecture where I sat quietly listening to the teaching talk for an hour.  In neurochemistry the class taught each other with the teacher’s guidance.  It allowed me to be more outgoing and talk about my ideas and personal experiences unlike any other class.  The nature of the class had a relaxed laid back feel to it which helped with learning.  I thoroughly enjoyed the class and although I may never look at neurochemistry again, I will never forget what the class was about.

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