U. Wisconsin Professor Comments on Her Use of NIA2 in Discussions and Lecture

Nov. 17, 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

Dr. Donata Oertel sent me this entry for posting on the NIA blog:

"NIA2 has revolutionized my teaching. The simulations are wonderful for giving students a chance to get involved during discussion sections; the minimovies are wonderful during lectures. They are just the right length to illustrate a point, the screens have no distractions, and they are technically foolproof. It was especially fun to ask students what they thought would happen and then use a minimovie to do the experiment. The moans from the audiomonitor made us all laugh.
"For years I struggled to teach honors undergraduate students how to think about electrical signaling; it was always a particular challenge to help students envision three dimensions when considering voltage changes in both time and place. It was then a wonderful improvement to be able to use simulations in NIA to illustrate how signals propagate. There is a lot to do and think about while giving a lecture; one has to be considering what to say, how to say it, and what to write on the blackboard. Using simulations requires additional thinking about what parameters to change in what direction... In NIA2 I have the simulations for discussions and the minimovies for lectures. What fun it was this year for all of us!"

Neurons in Action wins an award at the SfN meeting!

Nov. 12, 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

Well, actually, the Educator of the Year award was given to me by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) at the FUN social on Monday evening (Nov 5). But, in presenting the award, Bruce Johnson, the current president of FUN, made reference to me as the author of Neurons in Action so I consider that NIA was a co-recipient. I am deeply grateful to FUN for choosing me for this year's award and am sharing the pleasure of it with John Moore, my co-author.

NIA2 to be demonstrated at the Sinauer Booth at the Society for Neuroscience Meeting

Oct. 31, 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

We will be holding demos of NIA2 at the Sinauer Associates booth on Monday (Nov 5) at 2:00 PM, and on Tuesday at both 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. In addition, a poster entitled "Using Neurons in Action Version 2 in Teaching Medical Students" will be displayed during the entire meeting at location 27.24 in the Teaching Posters section. I will be presenting the poster on Saturday (Nov 3) from 1:00 to 5:00PM. Please stop by!

Article describing various uses of NIA is to be published in an on-line journal

Oct. 17, 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

My article entitled "Neurons in Action in Action" has been accepted for publication in a special issue of the on-line journal Brains, Minds and Media. This issue, entitled "Interactive Educational Media for the Neural and Cognitive Sciences" and edited by Soeren Lorenz and Martin Egelhaaf, is to be published in November 2007. "Neurons in Action in Action" describes the various ways in which I and others have been using NIA in various teaching settings: in both didactic and interactive lectures, in computer lab, in conjunction with a wet lab, in graduate physiology and neurobiology discussion-based courses, or as tutorials done by the individual student.

The SPINES course at the Marine Biological Laboratory uses NIA2

June 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

This June, for the fourth summer in a row, the 16 students of the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Survival (SPINES) learned basic neurophysiology using NIA2. The students worked through selected tutorials in teams of two or three every morning for six days, a total of 18 hours. Some of the most fundamental tutorials, such as the Na Action Potential, or the Chattering Channels tutorial on single ion channels, were done by all of the students. Other tutorials were assigned to groups who then presented them to the rest of the class. Although from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from psychology to cellular neuroscience, the students claimed to enjoy learning this challenging material in this hands-on manner.

NIA2 workshops held at this year's SYNAPSE meeting

March 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

On March 31, 2007, we offered two workshops previewing NIA2 at the Symposium for Young Neuroscientists and Professors in the Southeast, this year held at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.

Neurons in Action Version 2 is released!

April 5, 2007 • Posted by Ann Stuart

Neurons in Action Version 2 (NIA2) was published by Sinauer Associates on April 5, 2007. This version was made possible by a Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) grant of the Department of Undergraduate Education (DUE) of the NSF. The interface has been radically redesigned for (1) better navigation through each tutorial and (2) quick access to explanations of basic neurophysiological concepts and equations. Nine new tutorials brings the total number to 25, now divided into Basic and Advanced groups. As with NIA1.5, 19 minimovies illustrating fundamental concepts are available for importing into presentations.