Why this Course?

My first designed course is Communicating Nutrition to a Curious World. You can view the syllabus here [PDF].

In the field of nutrition being a student, a scientist, or registered dietitian involves a great deal of community outreach. Often our lay audiences are genuinely interested in multitude of nutrition topics, and this provides us with wonderful teaching opportunities for the research.

Here are some questions family members and random acquaintances have asked me upon learning that I study nutrition:

  • Should I be taking Vitamin D supplements?
  • Have you heard about the Paleo diet?
  • I read in a blog post that grains are bad. Is that true?
  • I just found out I’m iron deficient. What foods should I eat?
  • What should I eat right after I work out so that I can gain muscle?

Obviously, students will not have the answers to all of these and other questions they will be asked. However, after they finish my course, they will have the research and writing skills they need to communicate accurate nutrition concepts to a broader audience.

Course Objectives

The main learning goal of my course is to have students be able to use their nutrition and epidemiology knowledge from previous courses to clearly and accurately communicate complex nutrition concepts to a lay audience through a variety of social media platforms.

By the end of this course, my students will:

  1. use basic epidemiology concepts to determine when nutrition evidence is sufficient to make a causal claim
  2. compare and contrast scientific literature with the corresponding non-scientific articles
  3. formulate persuasive arguments without jargon to explain complex nutrition concepts
  4. create an online portfolio of scientific and persuasive writing samples

Assessment of Student Learning

Since the main objectives of this course pertain to writing, I will assess my students mainly through written assignments. I have designed my course to have a formal written assignment due every two weeks to keep students in the habit of writing all througout the semester.

These written assignment are as follows:

  1. Blog post: describing students’ interests in nutrition (bio sketch)
  2. Blog post: explain a nutrition concept
  3. Blog post: share a recent nutrition research breakthrough
  4. Scholarly blog post (see rubric for more information)
  5. Response to a nutrition blog post by a peer
  6. Commentary on recent news
  7. Infographic with separate annotation