FNH 200 Exploring Our Foods

Sessional Lecturer, 2009 to present, On Campus, approximately 150 students in each section

Instructor, 2003 and 2006, Distant Education & Teaching, on-line with about 30 students in each section
Teaching Assistant, in various sections between 2004 and 2007

FNH 200 Course Site with Syllabus, Content and Notes

FNH 200 is an introductory course to Food Science. Multiple sessions are offered in the Fall, Winter and Summer terms. Seven on-line sessions are also offered through Distance Education. My session is the Winter session offered on campus with approximately 150 students. Students in the Food, Nutrition, and Health Program are required to enrol in this course. About 20% of the class are Arts students taking this course to fulfill their science requirement and about 20% of the class are senior Science students taking this course to fulfill their general elective requirement.

FNH 200 is a large class. In order to maximize active learning opportunities in the classroom, I post all of my content on-line and use class time to highlight key concepts and engage students in various class activities to promote deep learning. Below is a list of activities I introduced in class and throughout the course in reverse chronological order. Click on the title to see more details.

2013 W iClicker Question
2012 W  Student Generated Exam Question
2012 W  Group Exam
2012 W  Sharing Knowledge through Videos
2010 W  Frequent Feedback through Online Quizzes
2010 W  Connecting to Real Food Samples

New Activities I implemented in 2013 w (Jan to April 2014):

Though iClicker has been around for years as a Classroom Response System, I finally decided to use it to:

  • Assess student preparedness at the beginning of class: Since I expect my students to have read the course notes prior to class, I like to include a few questions that are directly related to the notes to activate their existing, though recently acquired, knowledge.
  • Introduce the overall structure and flow of the upcoming class: The answers and distractors are arranged in such a way that can be doubled as a class outline.


New Activities I implemented in 2012 w (Jan to April 2013):

Student Generated Exam Questions through PeerWise

I have asked students to contribute to exam creation as a classroom assessment technique since I started teaching FNH 200 in 2009. Usually a week before the mid-term and the final exams, I asked students to contribute a question, a set of correct answer and reasons why the question should be included on the exam.  Since I asked them to anonymously contribute on index cards, I showed the questions and answers to the whole class using a document camera. It engaged almost everyone in class: those who contributed and those who were keen to know ‘what would be on the exam’. Through the ‘correct’ (and often incorrect) answers they provided, I was also able to assess their understanding of different concepts.

In 2011 Winter, I asked students to contribute to a semi-private wiki page (ie the sandbox as a way to protect their privacy since creating and answering questions could be a ‘risky’ exercise for some students). Though the quality of the questions improved, I received less entries. Those students who contributed were also students earning top grades in class as I was able to identify them through UBC wiki login.

After hearing Simon Bate’s introduction to PeerWise, an online tool that supports students in the creation, sharing, evaluation and discussion of assessment questions, I have decided to give the tool a try. I have then talked to Karen Smith, who introduced PeerWise to students in her Biology 112 class at UBC, and joined the PeerWise-Community. I am asking my students to author questions in team (more on my believe in team work below) and answer questions individually.

Group Exams as modeled by the Earth & Ocean Sciences Education Initiative at UBC

I observed Brett Gilley’s class when they had their group exam. I was simply amazed by the level of noise and interactivity during an exam. Students were questioning and perhaps arguing with each other on the correct answer of the question. They were getting immediate feedback from each other and learning happened.

I am also hoping that this group exam format will challenge my teaching in two other ways. I like to improve my skills in writing multiple-choice questions that enable deep assessment and to systematically assess the weak areas in my students’ learning.

Educational Video Presentations as was introduced in SCIE 300

Being able to effectively communicate science with a general audience is an important skill and I hope that the students will be able to achieve the skills by producing digital video and share their knowledge in a social media that is known to the students and the general. They summarized their group project finding and communicate the knowledge via 5-minute video. Their work can be viewed here on the course wikisite.

Activities I implemented in 2011 w (Jan to April 2012):

On-line Quizzes:

I use frequent on-line quizzes to help my student manage their time and studying. Students complete the quizzes at home and they are allowed to use all course notes and access the Internet for information during the quizzes. I include a range of questions to ensure that they understand both key concepts in the lessons and details in the assigned readings.

Food Samples:

Students really appreciate having food samples in class. The samples are not only fun, but also relevant. A solid foam is not just simply solid foam when they can feel and eat a piece of marshmallow or bread. I also use food as a reward when students volunteer to answer a question or contribute to class discussion. On the final exam, students will be given a food sample; there will be questions related to the regulations, packages and safety of the samples.


Think-Pair-Share and Modified Team-based Learning:

I use these two strategies to encourage communication among students. I integrate think-pair-share when I give long lectures; students share their immediate understanding and report back to the whole class. I use a modified team-based learning strategy when I review results of the on-line quizzes with the class. They both work well to engage students and students like the interactivities in class. I notice that students often talk to each other more after these activities. I am very pleased to see that small learning communities are being built in this large class where students are supporting each other.


Assignment #1:  Labeling Regulations and Additives


Assignment #01 Outline 2011

Students need to examine labels of two similar products and answer specific questions assigned.

I follow the Bloom’s taxonomy to design this assignment.  Questions on the assignment measure if the students are meeting the learning objectives ranging from recalling information to justifying personal choices.  It is especially important that the students are able to use the information available when making choices.

I have also designed this assignment to discourage plagiarism among students.  Students are aware of my decision and I hope that this sends a clear message to the students that I do not accept academic misconduct in my classroom.

Meetings with teaching assistants are held on a regular basis to ensure that all TAs understand what I expect from the students.  Detailed marking guideline is also provided to TAs and we discuss about it to keep the consistency among the teaching assistants.


Team Poster Project

Team Poster Project Guideline 2011

To promote interaction among students and encourage participation, a team poster project is introduced this year. Students are in teams of 5 to 6 to delve deeper into a specific area of interest. They need to integrate information explored in this course. More importantly, I wish the students will recognize the diversity in the classroom and appreciate the value of exchanging ideas. Students will have the opportunities to develop team working skills and leadership skills.

Clear rubrics are provided to keep assessment transparent. Students will also contribute to grading.  Peer- and self-evaluation of their teamworking skills will be used. They will also vote for the best poster in class. I hope that students will be able to learn from other as they visit view other posters. I look forward to viewing the final products and finding out students’ perspectives regarding this project.

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