Course: FST 421/521 Food Law
Food Law introduces students to the complexity and nuances of food regulation at the federal level with the focus being predominantly on Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated products. The course begins with introductory/review material of legal basics including the concept of federalism, agency jurisdiction, and rule-making procedures. The middle portion of the course focuses on adulteration of foods (chemical, physical, microbial, and economic). We finish up the term discussing regulations relating to misbranding of foods. This is a relatively large enrollment (~80 students, mostly food science students) course that satisfies the Bacc Core Synthesis requirement for Science, Technology, and Society. In the past, the course has met on MWF for 50 minutes. We are still deciding on the exact meeting format (days and times) – trying to find that “perfect mix” of number of days and times to meet with a large class; most likely 1 in-class day for either 50 or 80 minutes.
I believe that there are many goals to our hybrid course redesign, but I am the most excited about giving the students more responsibility and ownership in the learning process. To do this, we are transitioning from “lecture notes” (i.e., PowerPoint slides) provided on Blackboard to more appealing recorded short lectures and incorporating readings and videos into the major content of the course. These will be used as background material for journaling online and for working as a group to create wikis about important federal court cases and student-led discussion/debate in the classroom. I am excited about using the online portion of the course to force some level of preparation for in-class discussions and presentations. I think this will bring a tremendous amount of interaction amongst the students; this is definitely missing from our current approach. I am grateful for the time we have to develop the course (next offering is Winter 2014), but at the same time it seems like a long time before we get to test it out.