Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Problem of Neuroanatomy

I looked forward to this class for 18 months and it is, without a doubt, the worst class I have ever taken.  Its not that it is boring, I'd take mind crushingly boring in a second, but that its run in the most amazingly incompetent way imaginable.  Exams don't relate to class material or to the exam study guide, powerpoints are unreadable, and most of the information presented appears to have to taken directly from Wikipedia. 

We were (finally) supposed to dissect brains today... with butter knives.  No amount of excess verbiage can properly describe how much I wish I was making that up.  Halfway into one of the most ridiculous classes of my entire life, the professor realized that doing a dissection with tools from a dissection kit would probably be a good idea.  Not only that, but the dissection manual was a complete joke.  Turns out that you can't see stained brain regions in a sheep brain fixed in formaldehyde that has never been stained.  Not to mention the fact that none of the normal biohazard procedures (sheep brains are organic material after all) were observed or even mentioned.

We tried, as students concerned for our educations, attempted to reconcile the ludicrous syllabus for this class with our own needs.  We met with the professor over and over and she promised to change things in light of our suggestions.  Turns out "changing things" equals "make things even more incomprehensible."  Who would have thought that someone with a PhD in quantitative neuroanatomy would have absolutely no idea how to teach it.  

Thankfully my adviser is encouraging me to focus on my research over my coursework.

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