To set up the course structure and activities, the teachers defined their teaching strategy based on learning models studied in neuroscience. The models chosen here include the principles of control, spaced repetition, critical thinking and transparency.
At the start of the semester, students are introduced to the topics they will be tackling. For each topic, the teachers have indicated readings to be done. Each student chooses a particular topic from the list presented.
The course is organized in one-week cycles. At the beginning of each week, the teachers indicate the readings to be done for a given subject. In particular, they select 2 scientific articles. The choice of these articles is very meticulous, as they must meet several criteria: address new approaches in the field studied, thwart neuroscience biases (gender, ethnicity, age, etc.) and encourage open science practices. In this way, they demonstrate by example the new uses of neuroscience and encourage students to think critically.
At the beginning of the week, all students read the articles associated with the weekly theme. Each student then formulates 2-3 questions for collective discussion, providing another opportunity to exercise critical thinking using Socratic questioning. A quiz is also offered on Moodle to test learning after the readings. At the same time, students who have chosen a theme for the week's lectures prepare a presentation on a particular article. In this way, they become active participants in their own learning by taking part in the teaching process (reinforced sense of control). For their part, the teachers compile the discussion questions sent in and prepare the group discussion. Starting with article reading, the proposed activities mobilize spaced repetition through passive (reading) and active (formulating questions and quizzes) repetition of content. After reading, taking a quiz constitutes a first repetition of the content.
During the face-to-face course, the teachers introduce the weekly topic. The student who has prepared an article presents it and is responsible for moderating the ensuing discussion, based on the questions posed by his or her colleagues. The teachers help to co-moderate and frame the discussion. This is an example of an activity that generates a sense of control in the student, as it encourages the generation of ideas and connections with prior knowledge.
Shared discussion is also an opportunity to repeat content at intervals after a rest period, and to re-engage students' critical thinking. This encourages learning, as it enables them to appropriate the knowledge they have acquired and use it judiciously.
At the end of the session, the teachers take up the correct answers to the quiz and do a short review with the students, i.e. a new repetition of the content in a more synthetic form. In addition, each student writes a Minute Paper, allowing them to reflect on and formulate in their own words what they have learned most during the course. This is a final, spaced repetition of the content in a metacognitive form.
All the activities and their layout are designed to promote learning according to the literature studied. This makes for a particularly rich learning experience for students. The project is innovative in its conception, since it puts into form the substance of the subject covered in class; a mise en abîme of effective teaching methods, since the learning strategies studied and used in class make students more autonomous and enable them to gain in efficiency.
Assessment is included in this weekly cycle, and is said to be participatory and transparent, providing additional leverage for learning. Criteria are announced from the very first class, and teachers and students use the same evaluation methods to assess their peers (same evaluation grid, same methods, same criteria). The individual presentation is assessed by the teachers (60% of the grade) and by the peers (40% of the grade). The final grade includes evaluation of the presentation (50%), completion of the Minutes Papers (10%), completion of the quizzes (20%), preparation of the 2-3 questions for each article (10%) and completion of the peer presentation evaluation (10%).