Semester 1: The Formation and Decline of Memory

The first semester of Project Learn will kick off this coming Monday, November 1 and will last through January 2011. This gives us 13 weeks to explore our unforgettable (ha!) topic at hand, The Formation and Decline of Memory! In that time, we have 2 feature-length films, 2 TED talks, 5 books (1 fiction, 4 non-fiction) and 1 website to get through. There are also 4 assignments (which are obviously pretty specific to me, but if you want to write a personal essay, go for it!).

My plan is to continue blog life as normal, but my assumption is that many of the posts will be memory-related. And if I get through the materials quickly, I think the syllabus is flexible enough that we can consider it a work-in-progress. At the end of the semester, I'll post my best answers to the Questions to Consider. You can take that as my final exam, proof of the learning and motivation to not publicly shame myself by failing my own course. Ha.

I'm going to post the syllabus in the newest section of this website- Project Learn! You can always consult it or keep an eye out for posts tagged with "PL: Memory."

Ok, enough details, what am I, a registrar?! Belong, please find my humble syllabus for an introduction to memory:

Questions to consider:
When does memory begin?
Do men and women remember differently?
Can you erase a memory?
What is Alzheimer's? How can you prevent it?
Can you improve your memory? How?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The riddle of experience vs. memory: a TED talk by Dan Kahneman
How brain science will change computing: a TED Talk by Jeff Hawkins

101 Theory Drive by Terry McDermott
Losing my Mind by Thomas DeBaggio
Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks
Man Walks into a Room by Nicole Krauss

Other Resources
National Library of Medicine on Memory

Write a personal essay about a memory and submit it for publication.
Make a gift for someone based on memories.
Find out how memory works in a computer. Document it in a really simple way.
Publish a memory post every Friday.

Want to play along? I'm starting with 101 Theory Drive by Terry McDermott. Go grab it at a bookstore this weekend and let's get reading!


Anonymous said...

I just love your project idea Jebn. If it weren't for something called a PhD I would totally be jumping in there and joining you. How cool would it be to have a community learning and exchanging about memory through your blog. Love it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry JEN, I can spell your name and that would be from Ciara - too lazy to sign into gmail to post comments with my name!

Jen said...

Thanks Ciara! No worries, you can follow along as I digest Memory for you all, baby-bird style. ;)


Puebs said...

I don't know how this missed the course materials list, but it's amazing (and incredible relevant). Probably a good 'introduction' piece to the course:


Erica said...

Your questions about memory reminded me of something I saw on the Internet a few months ago. Luckily I remembered where, and I'd like to share it with your "class":

This American Life on NPR: How memory lies

I know that I've experienced this myself (esp given my bad memory, I tend to take on others' interpretations of the same events), and I'm wondering how many others have experienced this too?