Curriculum Development of a Nutrition Course

On Friday my new project was to develop a new nutrition course to be offered at WVU.  Emily and brainstormed ideas and decided to create an online class called “HNF 251 – Discernment of Nutrition Claims In the Media”.  Emily had taken a similar course at the University of Nebraska, and we thought it would be a very popular course because there is no class like it offered at WVU.  The overall description of  the course is the application of educated judgment to accept or reject the claims made by individuals who present themselves as “experts” in health and nutrition, exercise methods, nutritional supplements, and fact verses fiction in lifetime weight management.

The exciting part about developing this new course is that there is potential for it to be turned into an actual live class to be offered next spring or summer.  I do not have much experience with curriculum development, so this was a bit challenging at first.  The more I worked on developing the class, however, the more I really enjoyed the idea of maybe teaching a college class one day.  The groundwork for developing any course curriculum is to begin with the syllabus and the course objectives. The course objectives are the heart of what the student will learn and be able to do at the conclusion of taking this class.  To develop the 10 different course objectives, I began by thinking to myself “What key ideas and skills do I want the student to learn in this class?”.

Course Objectives – Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Use scientific research to evaluate nutritional claims.
  2. Evaluate and recognize expert and peer-reviewed sources verses unreliable or questionable sources of health and nutrition resources in the media.
  3. Navigate and be familiar with using a variety of media outlets.
  4. Gain knowledge about current and contemporary nutrition hot topics, issues, and controversies.
  5. Discuss conflicting viewpoints about controversial issues in nutrition and foods.
  6. Have a better understanding of information literacy and how they can apply it in their professional career.
  7. Demonstrate exemplary writing and communication skills.
  8. Demonstrate their health knowledge and individual interests by regularly posting and updating in an online nutritional blog.
  9. Explain and defend a valid nutritional viewpoint with evidence-based support.
  10. Independently use the WVU Health Sciences Center and Evansdale Library to access reliable sources of nutrition information.

The different assignments that would be required for the course would be weekly online quizzes, maintenance of an online nutrition blog, a literature review paper on a controversial nutrition topic, and various homework assignments.  Hopefully as Emily and I continue to work on the curriculum of this course, it becomes more refined and developed so it could potentially be a successful course at WVU.

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