A. Specific Learning Outcomes. At the end of this course students will be able to:
- Describe the chemical and physical properties of major food components, their biological/commodity origins within farmed organisms and the role of food processing in altering the composition, structures and functions of these food components.
- Discuss how the chemical and structural composition of food components react with the complex sensory apparatus of humans (vision, taste, smell, touch, hearing), how evolutionary pressure guided our innate responses to food and how individual experiences shape sensory preference and food choices.
- Describe the chemical and biological basis of food hazards including both chemical toxicity and pathogenic infections that cause food-borne illness and understand the effect of agricultural practices, food processing and handling in altering food hazards and safety.
- Describe the biological basis of the chemical concentrations of essential nutrients in commodities and final food compositions and understand the effects of food processing on the concentration, stability and degradation products of essential nutrients in foods.
- Explain the diversity of food composition, structure and function and the diversity of individual responses to food across the human population and discuss their implications to the challenges of diet and public health.
- Discuss, write and defend published evidence in the debate of the complex issues of modern food science, diet and human health. Evaluate the quality of published information and the concepts of scientific peer review and curation of knowledge, especially within the context of modern social media.
- Describe the complex variables that drive the agriculture and food enterprise from farm based commodities to marketplace competition to personal food choices. Put into perspective the history of food development with an appreciation of how the future of food can be guided to improve food quality, safety and human health.
How this course addresses IFT Core Competencies:
FST 100B is a 4 unit lecture and discussion course in advanced level food chemistry for food, nutrition, agriculture and dietetics majors. 100B is a high enrolment (~300 student) course with 3 hours of formal didactic lecture and 2 hours of smaller discussion sections per week for each student. Discussion sections are limited to 40 students to maintain excellence in student learning opportunities. The discussion sections participate in intensive, student participation debates on the major food issues of the modern food science and chemistry discipline. These discussions paralleling the lecture materials build knowledge in: Basic Food Chemistry, Food Quality and Safety, Food Processing and its effects on quality and safety, Chemical and sensory basis of food preference and food choices, and Chemical and Biological stability of essential nutrients during food processing and distribution.
FST 100B builds on principles taught in FST100A and complements FST 101A & B to meet the competencies in the Food Chemistry and Analysis, Sensation, Nutrient content and Food Safety and Microbiology and to complement these more focused course curricula. In addition, the coursework lectures and discussions meet aspects of Applied Food Science, Integrative and deductive reasoning and Success skills required by IFT.
B. Tools used to assess program outcomes.
Bloom’s levels I-VI.
Dr. German is a ‘seasoned’ instructor having taught Food Science for 25 years and this particular course for 10 years. This course is considered to be core to the food chemistry knowledge content, as wells as being integrative in assembling advanced material from sensation, nutrition, microbiology and agriculture into the context of food chemistry. The course has as its highest priority the instruction of students in the intellectual processes of integrating complex knowledge acquired in previous classes. Student performance and mastery of the information and concepts is evaluated throughout the course through several formal technologies. Students are examined using standard exams at 3 points thought the quarter. Every lecture utilizes iclicker technology to pose questions and obtain immediate feedback from the students within the classroom. The student performance is shown to the class as part of the process and where a significant faction of the class failed to answer correctly, the concept is reviewed to ensure mastery. More personal interactions and assessment is accomplished within the format of the discussion sections. Students are required to participate in all forms of discussion. The learning objectives of discussion include: quality of information sources, diversity of opinion in complex food issues, integrating across disciplines, assembling multiple perspectives on individual food products, quantitative versus qualitative data of food composition, structure and function, diversity of foods and diversity of humans. Students in discussion are further required to form teams with different skillsets, choose a topic related to the core principles of the course and assemble a coordinated view of the topic for presentation to the course. The teams present their perspective, defend it to the class in the form of questions and answers and finally present a written project summary as a co-authored document. These required tasks both encourage and assess students in team building, integrating information across disciplines, presentation skills, debating skills and written performance, all within the context of food chemistry.
The course is in part coordinated around the campus website ‘smartsite’ that hosts published information, online debates as chats, shared experiences of food in the marketplace and evaluation of discussion progress.
C. Brief summary of assessment results to date.
The instructor and teaching assistants meet regularly to discuss past and upcoming lecture materials, student mastery of material and evaluation of student performance in formalized exam results (3 exams through the quarter). The instructor and the teaching assistants review the grade distribution after each exam, evaluating the performance on each of the questions for signs of asymmetry in class understanding. Where appropriate, material is reviewed during class and/or discussion to explore the basis of confusion or bias. At the end of the quarter students are required to complete a formal course evaluation for the course. The numerical scores using a scale of 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) for a series of specific questions. These questions are discussed and recommendations for course modifications forwarded to the course design process for the following year. In addition, students include in the evaluation self-inspired verbal comments that form a body of critique for the material, process and assessment formats. The course and the instructor are evaluated separately to ensure that the course material is the focus of improvements. (the instructor is probably too old for significant improvements at this point)
The use of iClicker technologies during the lecture format has been incorporated into lecture material gradually during the past 3 years. This is a technology that is both powerful and yet potentially disruptive and requires a careful scrutiny of the quality of the questions and their positioning in the flow of the lectures. It is clear that this form of real-time assessment and evaluation will be a valuable and dynamic component of the course going forward.
Future plans: The instructors of the various core courses meet regularly to enhance the interactions between different courses and the best way to optimize the educational experience. In particular the combination of lecture/discussion courses 100A&B and formal laboratory courses 101A&B provides an opportunity to reinforce conceptual knowledge acquisition with hands-on practical experience. This interactive process will continue to be an ongoing priority and path to a more powerful and inspiring educational environment.