Bringing sensory science to the (online) future

SHORT DESCRIPTION

The course 'HNE-30506 Principles of Sensory Science' currently sets a maximum number of students, due to the limited capacity in specialized practicals and facilities for group work (e.g. sensory booths at restaurant of the Future and the kitchen of Forum). As we do not wish to increase group sizes, since this will limit the learning experience of individual students, we would like to spread the practicals and group work over the course schedule so we can make better and more flexible use of the facilities and accommodate the growth in student population. We aim to create more flexibility in the schedule, by turning traditional lectures in the course into an online format (knowledge clips, reading material, assignments), that students can learn at their own pace and time. This way, these parts of the course don’t have to be scheduled on a fixed time in the course, and we can use time and space more efficient and flexible: e.g. to create more time (or, equal time, but for growing numbers of students) for specialized practicals, group work and other interaction such as a flipped classroom concept, which all focus on higher cognitive learning objectives.

In addition, sensory science is typically a field in which wet practicals, and hands-on experience are crucial for the understanding and application of certain methodology. As a pilot, we here aim to explore the options for developing novel online versions of specific wet practicals, not just in the form of clips where students can watch the different steps in a lab experiment, but for instance providing videos or vlogs with instructions of sensory experiments or methodology that students can try at home, in their own kitchen (‘Do It Yourself practicals’), and/or have students ‘vlog’ about their own experience with the DIY sensory practicals. If successful, this will provide even further flexibility in the schedule to accommodate increasing numbers of students, and more opportunity for learning and interaction between students (‘learning by teaching’).

Together, these innovations will create new opportunities for teaching sensory science in diverse settings, to new audiences, as part of the Wageningen education Ecosystem. 

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this education innovation project is to re-design 3 ECTS of the on-campus 6-ECTS MSc course to an online format, providing more room for teaching higher cognitive learning objectives during learner-centred contact time, and creating more flexibility in the schedule. When this is successful, the online materials can also be used as ‘stand-alone’ smaller modules that can be implemented for more flexible and personalized learning paths, e.g. for students with heterogeneous backgrounds. In addition, such an online course/module can attract professionals from food industry/R&D, where there is growing need for academic knowledge of sensory and consumer science that can be applied for the development of new food products.

Next to that, as a pilot, we also aim to explore the options for developing novel online versions of specific wet practicals (Do It Yourself-practicals).

STRONG POINTS

The strong point of the project is the development of an online and at-home version of certain practicals. Also, knowledge clips are now available for most of the lectures, that can be used in various settings.

RECOMMENDATIONS

This project provides other teachers with examples on how:

  • Online materials and exercises can be used (in particular, for the novel DIY practicals/vlogs)
  • How on- and offline materials can be combined into one course
  • How on- and offline materials are used by students
  • How the same online materials can be used in both curricular and professional courses (in smaller modules).

For recommendations, please contact Sanne Boesveldt so that she can share experiences and/or point you to the right people.

PRODUCTS

Knowledge clips are available in the WUR database.