Food Science Education Publications and Websites


  • Jim Bird

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Jim Bird

The purpose of this column is to highlight innovative publications and websites in food science education and allied topics. If you know of a website or a recent publication that you believe other readers would like to know about, please submit the full text of the article or the URL for the website and an annotation of not more than 125 words. We welcome your resources and comments on this column. Material should be submitted to: Jim Bird, Science & Engineering Center,Fogler Library, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469–5729, or e-mail to If e-mailing, please put “JFSE submission” in the subject line.

Duncan DB, Lubman A, and Hoskins SG. 2011. Introductory biology textbooks under-represent scientific process. J Microbiol Biol Ed 12(2):143–51. DOI: 10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.307. Available at: (accessed 2/14/2012)

The authors examine biology textbooks for undergraduate courses in relation to the attrition of biology majors. They look at how the textbooks portray the scientific process through illustrations and find that “On average, multistep scientific investigations were presented in fewer than 5% of the hundreds of figures in each book.” (p. 143). The authors theorize that increasing illustrations of multistep scientific processes in biology textbooks will support undergraduate interest in biology and will lead to more analytical thinkers. This is an important paper for all undergraduate biology teachers to read and contemplate.

Advanced Life Sciences Food. Youth Development & Agricultural Education, Purdue Univ. (accessed 2/12/2012)

The Advanced Life Science Program (ALS) is comprised of 3 science-intensive agriculture courses: ALS: Animals, ALS: Plants & Soils, and ALS: Foods. When a student takes an ALS course they have the opportunity to earn science credit for their high school diploma as well as dual credit through Purdue Univ. To assist instructors with teaching the ALS courses, the ALS website has been developed and contains information an ALS instructor needs as it pertains to dual credit and the ALS Program. One unique feature that is available on the website is additional instructional materials for instructor to access to assist them in teaching the courses. Additional materials that can be found on the website include: instructional videos, labs, worksheets, and activities. Reviewed by Megan Anderson, ALS Program Assistant and Levon T. Esters, ALS Program Coordinator, Purdue Univ., Dept. of Youth Development and Agricultural Education, 615 W. State St., West Lafayette, IN 47907–2053.

Lukas CV and Cunningham-Sabo L. 2011. Qualitative investigation of the Cooking with Kids program: Focus group interviews with fourth-grade students, teachers, and food educators. J Nutr Ed Behav 43(6):517–24. Available at (accessed 2/16/2012)

Using focus groups comprised of students, teachers, and Cooking with Kids food educators, the authors show how qualitative methods can be used to provide input into the effectiveness of the Cooking with Kids program in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Focus group members were asked about their classroom experience, student perspectives on the program, and connections with academic subjects among other questions. Based on their results, the authors conclude that focus groups are a useful and effective tool to gain insight into the program. For information on the Cooking with Kids program go to: (accessed 2/16/2012)

Padiotis I and Mikropoulos TA. 2010. Using SOLO to evaluate an educational virtual environment in a technology education setting. Ed Technol Soc 13(3):233–45

Working with 40 students at a technical secondary dairy school in Ioannina, Greece, the authors used an Educational Virtual Environment (EVE) on milk pasteurization to see whether Structure of the Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the EVE. “SOLO provides a systematic way of describing how a learner's performance grows in complexity when mastering many academic tasks.” (p. 238) Based on analysis of the results students did “ … shift from lower to higher SOLO levels … .” (p. 244).

Rojas A, Valley W, Mansfield B, Orrego E, Chapman GE, and Harlap Y. 2011. Toward food system sustainability through school food system change: Think&EatGreen@School and the making of a community-university research alliance. Sustainability 3(5):763–88. DOI:10.3390/su3050763. Available at (accessed 2/16/2012)

The Think&EatGreen@School project at the Univ. of British Columbia (UBC) hopes “ … to foster food citizenship in the City of Vancouver and to develop a model of sustainable institutional food systems in public schools.” (p. 764) The authors put their project into context by examining global food systems in light of food security issues. They discuss environmental impacts of food systems and look at the ways that a concerted effort by their team of university researchers, undergraduate and graduate students, and “community-based researchers and organizations” (p. 763) working with Vancouver schools can address a variety of food related issues revolving around food sustainability, food security, food sovereignty, and food citizenship. The authors discuss the conceptual framework of the project, its history and governance structure and organization, community impact projects, and project challenges. The following link to a UBC public affairs story provides information on this project: (accessed 2/16/2012).