L:earnign cellular neurophysiolgy has the reputation of being the hardest part of the year-long first-year graduate neuroscience course at my university. This is understandable. After all, the generation of action potentials through the interaction of sodium and potassium channels is governed by complex differential equations (Hodgkin-Huxley). Almost ten years ago, when I started out as faculty, I was asked to teach some lectures on the topic. I decided to introduce two new approaches that I have refined over the last decade:
(1) My first idea was that the key concept is the abstraction of biophysics into electric circuit diagrams that are completely foreign to almost all biology students. I had thus decided to formally introduce the students to the basic elements of electric circuits (current source, voltage source, resistors, capacitor) and the "syntax" (Kirchhoff rules) before shifting gears to discussing the passive cell membrane, followed by the action potential itself. I have now produced a series of videos inspired by the lectures I have been teaching. I hope they are of help!
These materials were the foundation for the chapters on cellular neuroscience (and some of the toolboxes) in my book Network Neuroscience that goes into some more detail (including voltage and current clamp etc). The book covers "network neuroscience" through a wide-angled lens that captures neurophysiology from the level of neurons and synapses all the way to complex large-scale network stuff. Check it out!