Teaching motor control disorders using a new case study in online and hybrid neuroscience and psychology courses

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Teaching Motor Control Disorders Using a New Case Study in Online and Hybrid Neuroscience and Psychology Courses


Dr. Stephanie Babb earned her Ph.D. in Psychology, with an emphasis in Neuroscience and Behavior, from the University of Georgia. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, she accepted an Assistant Professor of Psychology position at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). As an Associate Professor, her research interests have shifted from memory and animal behavior to adult education. UHD is a large, urban, non-residential university. It is also a Minority- and Hispanic-serving institution, with approximately 15,000 students, who are primarily undergraduates. The UHD student population presents a unique opportunity to study learning and achievement in nontraditional and minority undergraduate learners. Dr. Babb has presented and published original research in areas such as distance learning, best strategies in hybrid education, academic entitlement and locus of control in nontraditional undergraduates, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, and resilience in nontraditional undergraduates.

Extended Abstract

The COVID pandemic transformed undergraduate teaching from more traditional to digital delivery methods, which presented challenges and opportunities in student engagement and learning. Active learning pedagogy such as case study teaching is a great way to engage students in face-to-face settings. We wanted to investigate whether it is also effective in both fully online and hybrid settings. To accomplish this, we wrote a new case study on Alzheimer’s disease and piloted it in a hybrid Introduction to Neuroscience course and an online Biological Psychology course from Spring of 2021 through Spring of 2022. We also implemented a control course in Biological Psychology, whereupon a literature review paper on Alzheimer’s disease was assigned in lieu of the case study. To evaluate learning, we used exam questions and collected student survey data, which showed no significant difference in learning but improved engagement and positive feedback in the case study group. Furthermore, we have learned valuable lessons regarding the strengths and weaknesses of this new case, along with some pedagogical insights on teaching case studies in online and hybrid courses.