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Bird Song System

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Bird Song System is an instructional tool for teaching the neuroanatomy of bird song, the epigenetic effect of gonadal steroids on development, and it requires only a computer.  Bird Song System is available for FREE, along with student and instructor tutorials, and an image library of songbird nuclei (Area X, HVC, and RA).

Read the latest draft of the article about using a digital library of zebra finch brains to teach the Bird Song System module:

Download Bird Song System Files

Students and Faculty can download the Image J Program, the Bird Song System Image Database and Bird Song System Tutorials for free.

(1)  Download the Image J Program (from the NIH Website):  This program allows for quantification of structural areas.

(2)  Download Statistics Software (two options):  The following programs are available for FREE, and allow for effective analysis of data collected in this module.

(3)  Download the Bird Song System Image Database:  In order to access the image database, you must first fill out the User Consent/Download Questionnaire (after which you will be directed to the download button).  Note that you will still be allowed to download Bird Song System even if you choose NOT to consent to anything.

Download the image database now:

(4)  Take the Student Pre-Test:  If you are a student and are about to begin the Bird Song System module, please take our Pre-Test [NOTE: this will NOT affect your grade].  We are asking you to participate in a study on the efficacy of the teaching module delivered by your instructor.  This study will help us to revise this teaching module to make it more effective and to develop new modules in the future so that they are educationally effective, are easy to understand, and successfully meet student needs.  Not only will your participation help us make better teaching modules, but your participation may also help your understanding of the material (again, this will not figure into your grade).

-->  We ask that you take a short Pre-Test BEFORE the material is presented and also take an idential Post-Test AFTER the module has ended.  These little quizzes will help us gauge your gains from this module.  The quiz can be taken over the web and should take about 10 minutes.  When you take the tests online, please use the SAME, real email address each time, as we will need them for tracking data.

-->  Since we are going to ask you to take the quiz as well as fill out an opinion questionnaire after the unit is completed, we request that you give us your email address so that we can send you one, and ONLY one, reminder email.  We will NOT be sending you any further emails, nor will we submit your email address to any outside sources.  Note: providing you email address is voluntary, as is your participation in this study (see below).

-->  Participation in this study is completely voluntary.  You are not required to participate to receive or use the materials included in this module.

-->  First download the Questions (PDF) then input your answers into the Answer Form (electronic).

  • Student Pre-Test - Questions (PDF)
  • Student Pre-Test - Answer Form (electronic)

(5)  Download the Bird Song System Tutorials:

(6)  View Lecture and Lab Materials:  The following are PowerPoint files that should serve as a guide to Bird Song System instruction.  Each lecture, taught by Dr. William Grisham (UCLA), is available with and without voiceover.

Lecture 1: Introduction to Bird Song System and organizational effects of steroid hormones.

Lecture 2: Background for students' current study, and exceptions to the central dogma of organizational effects.

Lecture 3: Instructions on writing the abstract, introduction, and methods sections, and review of ANOVA and inferential statistics.

Lecture 4: Instructions on writing the results and discussion sections.

Lab 1: Overview of the study and analysis.

(7)  Watch the Lectures:  If you would like to view a series of lectures given by the teacher and developer of the Bird Song System module, please follow the links below.

(8)  Take the Student Post-Test:  If you are a student and have completed the Bird Song System module, please provide us with your level of scientific knowledge coming out of the module by taking the following Post-Test.

  • Student Post-Test - Questions (PDF)
  • Student Post-Test - Answer Form (electronic)

(9)  Fill out the Student Materials Evaluation:  If you are a student and have completed the Bird Song System module, please provide us with basic feedback on the materials used in this module by filling out the multiple choice Materials Evaluation.

  • Student Materials Evaluation

    For Faculty

    Faculty members interested in accessing faculty-related materials will need to obtain an account.  Please see the Faculty Web Page for more information:

    Faculty members that already have an account may log in and go directly to the Faculty Bird Song System Web Page:

    which includes:

    1. original .doc versions of all Bird Song System tutorials
    2. Bird Song System Treatment (Estradiol Dosage) Key
    3. Bird Song System Final Report Grading Key

    If you are a faculty member that has individually completed or taught the Bird Song System Module, please provide us with basic feedback on the materials used in this module by filling out the multiple choice Faculty Materials Evaluation:

    • Faculty Materials Evaluation


    (1)  Practice running through the Bird Song System module with sample data, collected from UCLA Behavioral Psychology students in the Fall 2010 quarter.

    (2)  Browse through a zebra finch atlas online:

    (3)  Institution Review Board (IRB) exemption documentation.  (NOTE: Viewing this PDF file requires login.)

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    License Information

    Modular Digital Course in Undergraduate Neuroscience Education—Revised: Bird Song System by Dr. William Grisham, Ph.D., is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    Creative Commons License

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    National Science Foundation            UCLA Office of Instructional Development

    Funded by the National Science Foundation and the UCLA Office of Instructional Development