Food science student practicing

Faculty in the Department of Animal and Food Science have been working hard to make this semester effective and educational for their students away from campus. Podcasts, Zoom meetings, and many video demonstrations have been curated as a major part of the transition to online learning for the department.

With not as much time in the classroom, Jenna Dyckman, a faculty member in the Animal and Food Science Department, has published a weekly podcast for her students to explore different career fields and topics. She interviews guests and experts on the various topics including a dietitian from Utah State University who conducts research relating to nutrition.

“I thought it’d be a great way for students to learn more about the different fields they could go into if they are still deciding that,” Dyckman stated.

Matt Dredge, another faculty member in the Animal and Food Science Department, has been requiring his students to meet with him during his office hours or a scheduled time over Zoom to allow him to get to know his students better. He weights this assignment so that it gives his students some extra credit points when they meet with him.

“I have really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the students better, especially those who don’t participate during class. I feel it also shows them that faculty members are real people,” Dredge said.

Dredge also enjoys using the breakout rooms in Zoom. Once he has split up the groups, he then floats around into each breakout room and listens in on how the students are working through problems together.

“Students have preparatory activities that have them answer questions from the topics we will be discussing. This has provided me with a platform to break them into breakout rooms and to allow for better participation during classes. It seems to have helped with student engagement during class,” Dredge added.

Department Chair Kerry Huber and Lab Supervisor JoEtta Juenke, have been using a three-pronged approach for conducting student labs this semester. Through a combination of YouTube videos, scientific papers, recorded video demonstrations of campus lab experiments, and hands-on apartment/home modified experiments, the department can facilitate experimental learning in these remote lab settings.

“Brother Huber and I are available via Zoom until the very last student is done. We are there to answer questions, help trouble shoot issues, and share in the excitement of understanding when the experiment works. It takes a lot of work and planning but the student experience is worth it,” Juenke said. 

Overall, the Department of Animal and Food Science has been working hard to improve their online teaching this semester and create effective online learning strategies for their students.