Flexible Learning Spaces Fellowship: Scott Huettel

Scott Huettel, Psychology and Neuroscience
David Smith (graduate student), Psychology and Neuroscience

As a fellow in CIT’s Flexible Learning Spaces Fellowship (2008), Scott Huettel (Psychology and Neuroscience) and David Smith (graduate student in Psychology and Neuroscience) participated in meetings, mini-workshops, and other fellowship activities centered around the concept of ‘flexible learning’ – specifically focused on the uses of the technology and space arrangements made possible by Duke’s new teaching and learning space, the Link.

Course overview

During Fall 2008, Huettel taught the course “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging” in Link Classroom 4. Upon completion of the course, students would be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of functional magnetic resonance imaging, an important technique in cognitive neuroscience for understanding how different aspects of cognition are instantiated in the brain.
  • Gain the ability to critically evaluate fMRI research design and analysis methods, both in the primary literature and in self-generated projects
  • Develop skills with fMRI analysis during in-class laboratory exercises.
  • Develop practical experience with the completion of an fMRI experiment through the student project, which involves designing and running an fMRI study

Uses of technology and flexible learning spaces

  • Used the flexibility of the classroom space to allow the integration of both lecture and laboratory aspects of the course
  • Encouraged active group discussions throughout all components of the course
  • Facilitated small-group interaction while planning their projects
  • Took full advantage of the new technology for teaching complex new fMRI concepts and visualizing multidimensional data

To meet the goals of the course, students used wireless laptops provided via the Link’s laptop cart to access MATLAB and many specialized fMRI software applications. In the following video, Huettel describes the use of the Link’s laptops in his course:

Link tip: Huettel wanted to be able to quickly annotate projections of fMRI data. In his classroom (Link Classroom 4), the projector screen drops down in front of the whiteboard. By raising the projection screen and projecting directly onto the whiteboard, Huettel could ‘draw’ directly onto the projected image as part of his lecture.

Huettel’s teaching in the Link was also featured in a Duke News story in early Fall 2008.