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eshuster's picture

This class is confusing

I am a third year biology major at BMC that has been shopping this class since my spring semester of my first year. Both my freshman and sophomore year I went to the first week of this class and decided not take it because I felt intimidated. Why should someone read my writing every week or my papers for the class? I had never taken a web based class before and was intimidated by that idea. Also, I heard (through people) that you will either love or hate this class. I couldn’t decide whether I would like it or hate it and the fear of hating the class made me choose a less risky class for that semester. As this is my last year at BMC I decided to try it out. It wouldn’t matter how well I would do in the class because I already have plans for next year, it would be a class for myself to see if I loved it or if I hated it. I also wasn’t sure I liked the idea that anyone could read my writing because it’s something I’m not confident in, since it isn’t my first language. I had many reasons to take this class, for the experience, and many reasons to avoid this class, because it may have been too different from what I was comfortable with.

Now that I have attended class and experienced the web emphasis I find that I’m challenging myself and my previous understanding of science. I am questioning what I know and what I am currently being taught. I don’t know how or why I come out of class confused but I know that I am trying to think about what is said in class and what I felt like I knew. Was I taught to think the wrong thing, through simplification? Did I interpret my previous understanding of neurons and the nervous system improperly what I originally learned it? How could almost everything I have always thought I new about the nervous system seem to be negated by one class? It’s as though this class is my class to be wrong in, something students try so hard not to do because we are afraid that our grade will suffer.

 I have always thought that the brain was the “central hub” of the nervous system and that the neurons must send signals through the spinal chord. Now I see that organisms have central generators that are not located at or near the brain. They act on each other and not through a central hub of information. I have seen that we can experience phantom limbs that we think are there but it’s because the nerves think that they are there. I was so confused in class this past week because my brain couldn’t wrap around the fact that we can feel what is not there. How can this be? Why don’t our nerves realize what has been lost? If we think it is there why can’t we start regenerating it?

Another aspect of this class that I like is that, I can be wrong without worrying about my grade. It’s the first time that it’s ok to be wrong. We have always been taught that we should learn from our mistakes but if we make a mistake on a test we can learn from it but our grade will suffer. This class is like the opposite. We have to be wrong in order to find the right answer and without being wrong we cannot do well because we then cannot find the right answer.

Overall, I’m really glad I took this risk and I think it came at a good time. I don’t know how I would have felt about this class if I took it earlier or later but it feels right or maybe it feels right because I can be wrong. This is my interpretation of the first half of the class I don’t know how I will feel in the second half but being wrong has never felt so right.  

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