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Monday, April 15, 2024

UC Davis to offer virtual Nutrition 10 class Winter Quarter 2014

The popular lower-division course Nutrition 10 (NUT 10) will be offered online for Winter Quarter 2014. NUT 10 covers weight loss strategies, effects of dietary supplements, links between nutrition and disease and other related concepts.

The class will be taught in person by Dr. Liz Applegate and the online class will be offered to students who would like to take the class virtually. More than half of the students will be enrolled to take the class face-to-face, but online students will be able to watch the lectures either live when Applegate teaches them or after the lecture.

“Everything is identical,” Applegate said. “Students can watch a live video cast of lectures or a delayed taping for up to seven days after the lecture.”

This past summer, Gov. Jerry Brown emphasized the importance of expanding online class options in higher education systems. With the amount of students to teach increasing, and funding and room for new lecture halls decreasing, online courses are a possible solution.

Applegate took this into consideration when developing the NUT 10 class to be online.

“I’ve always tried to use current technology and I wanted to try out the online course system for myself,” Applegate said.

In the past, Applegate said she has utilized the Smartsite online forums and has a podcast of her lectures available throughout the quarter.

NUT 10 was first offered online as a pilot research study in the summer of 2012. Applegate said that the results from that experience were very successful and students really like what the virtual class has to offer.

“The online course can accommodate students who don’t want to sit down in lecture, but want to understand or learn the information at a different time,” Applegate said. “I’m planning on enrolling 800 students total, and am anticipating that 200 students will take the virtual class.”

UC Davis currently offers some online and hybrid courses. For online classes, all of the instruction and activities take place virtually. For hybrid courses, students attend class fewer times per week than they normally would for a face-to-face class, and spend the rest of their time participating online through lecture boards and other interactive activities.

“NUT 10 is a blending of hybrid and online courses,” said Dan Comins, the instructional designer for Academic Technology Services. “It is not a true hybrid course because a portion of the students will come to class every day and a portion will just watch the lectures online.”

The possibility for hybrid courses comes through the Provost Hybrid Course Award (PHCA), a grant program that supplies interested faculty members with $12,500 to create their face-to-face class into a hybrid course. In the first year of the program, six awards were given and 10 were given out in the second year. This is the third year of the program.

“This year we are expecting 22 applicants and we hope to give out four to six awards,” Comins said. “It’s a very successful program.”

Comins said that many faculty members other than Applegate have shown interest in creating online courses, and have been able to do so through support from the UC online instruction pilot project. The most popular primarily online course at UC Davis so far is Dr. Arnold Bloom’s Global Climate Change course.

“Bloom recorded high quality lectures  and made the recordings interactive at certain points,” Comins said. “His class is quite popular and a lot students have enjoyed it.”

Along with her online lectures, Applegate will also be supplying interactive options for extra credit to online students.

“Students can participate for extra credit through online jeopardy or they can watch extra online lectures,” Applegate said.

As with other online classes, all instruction and activities will be administered via the web, but students still need to be present in person to take midterms and other major tests. All deadlines and rules that apply to students who attend the face-to-face class also still apply to the online students.

“I think that NUT 10 would work as an online class because the concepts are simple enough to grasp as long as you keep up with the work and pay attention,” said Lauren Merrell, a fourth-year psychology major who has taken the face-to-face version of NUT 10. “You don’t need a ton of in class interaction to do well in the class.”

As to the prospect of increasing online classes at UC Davis, second-year communications and psychology major Kaye Marquez said it is a good idea.

“I think that the students who sign up for a virtual class will be able to succeed in it,” she said. “Online classes teach students time management.”

Dr. Applegate will give PTA numbers to all waitlisted students who want to take the virtual version of NUT 10.

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