I enjoy teaching exciting facts about the nervous system to interested students! I teach a variety of courses including the large, intermediate-level course Neural Systems, a medium sized junior/senior level learning and memory course, and smaller seminars on brain regions and neural data analysis. I also co-created the Coursera Course: Exploring Neural Data.
As an instructor, I am always interested in learning about new ideas to try. I am constantly working to improve pedagogy in my classroom. I use technologies including iClickers, online assignments, eBooks, and computer-based assessments to enhance student learning. I encourage a reflective approach to learning. I perform research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to formally assess my learning methods.
I am also a member of Brown's Contemplative Studies Initiative. I am interested in a contemplative approach to teaching as well as contemplative pedagogy for the classroom.
My training focused on plasticity in the visual system, using extracellular recording methods in awake rodents. Since I began teaching neuroscience, I have also enjoyed bringing elements of my computational background - including the use of MATLAB and Python - into the classroom.
|Ian A. Harrington William Grisham D. J. Brasier Shawn P. Gallagher Samantha S. Gizerian Rupa G. Gordon Megan H. Hagenauer Monica L. Linden Barbara Lom Richard Olivo Noah J. Sandstrom Shara Stough Ilya Vilinsky Michael C. Wiest. "An Instructor's Guide to (Some of) the Most Amazing Papers in Neuroscience." Journal of undergraduate neuroscience education : JUNE : a publication of FUN, Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, vol. 14, no. 1, 2015, pp. R3-R14.|
|Olivo RF, Burdo JR, Calin-Jageman R, Grisham WE, Linden ML, Rosenberg RL, Symonds LL, Thornton JE. "ERIN: A Portal to Resources for Higher Education in Neuroscience." Journal of undergraduate neuroscience education : JUNE : a publication of FUN, Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, vol. 13, no. 3, 2015, pp. A126-30.|
|Linden ML, Heynen AJ, Haslinger RH, Bear MF. "Thalamic activity that drives visual cortical plasticity." Nature Neuroscience, vol. 12, no. 4, 2009, pp. 390-2.|
M.L. Linden, A.J. Heynen, R. Haslinger, M.F. Bear. Thalamic activity that drives visual cortical plasticity. Nat Neurosci. 2009 Apr;12(4):390-2
|2008||PhD||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|2002||BS||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
Barrett Hazeltine Citation for Excellence in Teaching, Guidance and Support, presented by the graduating senior class (2018)
Zern Endowment Recipient – Brown University Dean of the College, to support improvements to NEUR1030 – Neural Systems (2018)
Wolfram Summer School Participant (2017)
Barrett Hazeltine Citation for Excellence in Teaching, Guidance and Support, presented by the graduating senior class (2017)
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Advising and Mentoring in the Biological Sciences (2017)
Writing Across the Curriculum Faculty Seminar (2017)
Society for Neuroscience Early Career Policy Ambassadors Program (2017)
Brown University Elizabeth LeDuc Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Life Sciences (2016)
Brown University Teaching with Technology Model Course Award (2015)
ASMCUE Early-Career Faculty Travel Award (2015)
Brown University Undergraduate Council of Students Teaching and Advising Award (2014)
ASM Biology Scholars Research Residency – Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (2014)
ASM Biology Scholars Research Residency Travel Grant (2014)
Brown University Summer Institute for Teaching and Technology (2012, 2014)
Elizabeth Leduc Award for Excellence in Teaching - Nominee (2014)
Teaching with Technology Award – Nominee (2014)
FLO: Facilitating Learning Online Certificate (2014)
Brown University Sheridan Center Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow (2013)
Brown University Pedagogy Grant for Contemplative Studies (2012)
Brown University Sheridan Teaching Certificate I (2012)
MIT School of Science "Spot" Award (2010)
MIT School of Science "Dot" Award (2010)
National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Predoctoral Fellowship (2007)
Walle Nauta Award for Continuing Dedication to Teaching (2006)
Dean's Educational and Student Advising Award MIT School of Science (2005)
Agnus MacDonald Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2005)
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2002)
National Physical Science Consortium Fellowship (2002 declined)
MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Award for Academic Excellence (2002)
Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
Sigma Xi Research Honor Society
Society for Neuroscience
Editor for ERIN - Educational Resources in Neuroscience (2011 - 2014)
Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (Councilor 2011-2013 )
American Society for Microbiology
My teaching philosophy is centered on an ideal to create a safe, supportive, and scholarly learning environment for my students. I firmly believe that a student’s own learning is primarily their own responsibility. By providing them with the best possible environment for their learning, they should be fully equipped to be a successful learner. I create this environment by challenging my students to think critically and become problem solvers, by encouraging them to participate in the classroom, and by creating a supportive atmosphere in my interactions with them. I also help students learn to learn and encourage them to reflect on their learning experiences. I refine my own teaching through the reflective process as well, and am constantly seeking professional development to improve my teaching and my students’ learning.
Creating a learning environment begins in the classroom. Whether I’m leading a seminar with 15 students or lecturing to 150, my top priority is to encourage the students to participate in their own learning in the classroom setting. I want each student to feel safe expressing their ideas and raising their questions in my classes. On the first day of class, I explicitly tell the students I want to hear their voices. Regardless of classroom size, this means they are expected to shout out answers to questions I pose of them and encouraged to interrupt and ask questions as often as they like. To support their engagement, I provide structured ways to participate in the classroom. In medium and large classes, I use iClicker technology to gauge student understanding of new concepts in real time. Depending on the student responses to the clicker questions, I may ask students to discuss their answers with those around them or to attempt to persuade their classmates of their answer. In smaller classrooms, students are explicitly graded on participation, which provides incentive to get them talking. To further facilitate participation, especially by the shy students, I call on particular students by name to ask them to share comments with the class that they may have already shared with me through reading reflections, I require each student to lead discussion of primary research, and I provide opportunities for students to participate in smaller “break out” discussion groups. Additionally, students in seminars complete “seminar reflections” which include an opportunity for the student to consider their own contributions to the classroom discussion and to reflect on how each week’s seminar contributed to their own learning.
While in the classroom, I also hope to present myself in a way that students find approachable so that they feel comfortable attending my office hours. I always set aside specific times that students can attend office hours, provide students access to private appointment slots, and accept requests for meetings at other times via email. Ideally, every student who wants to come talk to me will find no barrier to meeting with me. When students do meet with me, I try to get to know them as a whole person and allow them to know more about me as well. While I’m more than happy to help them work through challenges with course material, we often discuss other topics in neuroscience, what they plan to do in the summer, and what they may do when they finish their undergraduate education. It is of utmost importance to me that my office be a safe space where students can allow themselves to be vulnerable and get whatever assistance they need to succeed in my classroom and to succeed as a Brown student. This is the same approach I take with my advisees. This results in several students coming to me for advice, even when they are no longer in any of my classes! I love engaging with my students, so I thoroughly enjoy having this connection with them.
Because I provide my students with a safe and supportive learning environment, I feel comfortable pushing them to higher levels of mastery of their scholarship. I expect a lot from my students. While the learning objectives for each class depend on the course level, I always expect students to focus on understanding concepts (for example, students should be able to apply the concepts they have learned to new situations), and on analyzing and interpreting data (again, with an emphasis on analyzing and interpreting experiments that may be different from those seen in the classroom). In some cases, particularly in higher level courses, students should be able to predict experimental results and propose new experiments. To ensure that students are mastering these learning objectives, I assess students using primarily short answer and essay-style questions – even in my large lecture class. The majority of my students are already goal-oriented learners. To accommodate those students, and to encourage a goal-oriented approach for all students, I make all of my learning objectives explicit to the students as a way to help guide their study methods and approaches to learning and to help prepare them for my assessments.
In general, I hope to increase the problem solving and critical thinking skills of my students, as working on these processes will be valuable to them regardless of what they do with their degree. Students are rarely asked to memorize. For some students, this requires them to modify the way they prepare for class and study for exams. I am constantly refining my pedagogical techniques to attempt to ensure that all students can learn the material and perform well in my courses. Additionally, in one of my courses (Neurobiology of Learning and Memory) students are asked to reflect on their own learning throughout the semester. Observing the students’ reflections has opened up my eyes to how students are approaching their own learning and has shown me how much they can change on their own by just prompting them to reflect on what works for them and what doesn’t. I love using student reflection as way to teach my students how to learn. I feel like I have succeeded in my job when my students can solve problems, think critically, and can continue to learn effectively for the rest of their lives.
Because I want to provide my students with the best possible learning experience each and every day, I am constantly engaging in ways to improve my teaching both within and outside of the University. I was a Biology Scholars Research Resident (sponsored by the American Society of Microbioology) to improve my work in the Scholarship of Teaching in Learning. I also take advantage of the resources around me. At Brown University, this includes attending many workshops, seminars and other development opportunities offered by the Sheridan Center, seeking mentorship both from within and outside of my department, working with the Instructional Technology Group to incorporate technology into the classroom, and by participating in groups focused on pedagogy like Science Friday at the Science Center. I am also always asking students for feedback and provide ample opportunities for students to leave anonymous comments. I read all feedback carefully and address student concerns as quickly as I can. Furthermore, I am constantly reflecting on my own teaching – from how I am lecturing, to how I design assignments and assessments, to how I interact with the students both within and outside of the classroom. I try to reflect without bias and to make changes as necessary. Through professional development, student feedback, and critical self-reflection I hope to meet my goal of maintaining a safe, supportive, scholarly environment for all the students with whom I have the pleasure to work.
|NEUR 1030 - Neural Systems|
|NEUR 1540 - Neurobiology of Learning and Memory|
|NEUR 1930L - Neurobiology of Love|
|NEUR 1930N - Region of Interest: An In-Depth Analysis of One Brain Area|
|NEUR 2060 - Advanced Systems Neuroscience|