Specialization Neuroscience: Perception, Action and the Brain
Duke University has designed this specialization for advanced baccalaureate and prospective or current graduate students who are pursuing degrees in the brain sciences. Duke University has had one run of the Capstone project of this specialization on Coursera’s session based platform.
The Specialization consisted of 4 courses:
- Medical Neuroscience or Foundational Neuroscience for Perception and Action, both by Prof. L.E. White. Medical Neuroscience is designed to provide learners with the foundational knowledge needed in basic neuroscience and clinical neuroanatomy for success in the health professions. It is a 13 weeks comprehensive course consistent with the rigors of medical education. Foundational Neuroscience is a shorter course, based on the material in the full Medical Neuroscience course, that covers the organization and physiology of the human central nervous system, especially designed for the specialization. Unlike its parent course, this shorter course is not so clinically focused.
- The Brain and Space by Prof. J.M. Groh. A course where students trace the brain’s detective work to create this sense of space and learn that the brain’s spatial focus permeates our cognitive abilities, affecting the way we think and remember.
- Visual Perception and the Brain by Prof. D. Purves. A The course where students consider how what we see is generated by the visual system, and what visual perception indicates about how the brain works.
- The Final Capstone project. The Capstone had three options: (1) write a research proposal (for experimental research on perception and action) OR
(2) write a popular press article (in non-technical language) that summarizes current knowledge about a topic pertinent to perception and action OR (3) create a video demonstration or multimedia application (a virtual or real-world demonstration of how sensory signals give rise to perceptions and/or actions).
At this moment the courses ‘The Brain and Space’ and ‘Visual Perception and the Brain’ and ‘Medical Neuroscience’ are making the transition from the session based format to the on-demand format. ‘The Brain and Space will be available very soon and ‘Visual Perception and the Brain’ will make the transition a month after that. It is expected that ‘Medical Neuroscience’ will open on the on-demand platform on May 2nd. It is very unlikely that ‘Foundational Neuroscience for Perception and Action’ wil transfer to the new platform.
Current developments on the Specialization
Several students in Duke’s neuroscience MOOCs have been asking when the capstone (final project) course for the specialization, “Perception, Action and the Brain” will open again for enrollment. At present, Drs. White, Purves and Groh, together with the course staff at Duke, have decided to suspend effort on the capstone (final project) course. This means that it is not possible at this time to earn a specialization certificate. It is possible that this specialization program will be reconfigured and refocused with a new capstone course sometime in the future. At present, the Duke neuroscience faculty and staff are focused on updating their current courses.