Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Science

Advisor

Condrasky, Margaret D

Committee Member

Darby, Duncan

Committee Member

Sharp, Julia L

Abstract

ABSTRACT The goal of this research project was three-fold: (1) to follow up with students who had taken the Applied Interdisciplinary Product Development (AIPD) course two years prior to assess the long-term effect of the course on perceived self-confidence in product development skills, connectedness with the department, and preparedness to enter the industry; (2) to design, implement, and evaluate course materials educating undergraduate students about the subjects of herbs, spices, and sensory science; and (3) to evaluate the success of dissemination of a sophomore-level hybrid course on healthy food product development. A Subject Knowledge Assessment (SKA) was designed to measure students' knowledge of food science, packaging science, nutrition, and product development. An Exit Questionnaire (EQ) aimed to measure students' confidence in things such as their product development skills, preparedness to enter the industry, and interdisciplinary teamwork. Focus groups with the seniors were also conducted in order to understand more about their experience with the course. Surveys of university faculty were also administered to measure faculty perception of the senior students that had taken the AIPD course compared to those who had not with respect to leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking skills. An Herbs, Spices, and Sensory Science (HSS) questionnaire was used to evaluate the sensory science knowledge gain, and herbs and spices knowledge gain as a result of the intervention. Upon comparing the seniors who had taken the AIPD course to those who had not, significant differences were found for five of the nine statements on the exit questionnaire pertaining to confidence in product development skills (P < 0.05). The question about interdisciplinary teamwork was also significantly different between the students who took the AIPD course and those who did not (P < 0.05). Students' responses in the focus groups provided enriching data to support the results of the EQ and SKA. On the faculty survey, the means of all the student traits or abilities is greater than three on a five point scale, indicating that the AIPD students were generally rated slightly better than their peers in various academic traits and soft skills. Therefore it can be concluded that student seniors that had completed the AIPD course have maintained their advanced skill level over their peers in such areas as product development skills and soft skills, even two years after taking the course. With respect to the second project goal, results from the HSS questionnaire indicate that the average score for both knowledge categories of sensory science and herbs and spices were significantly different post-intervention, with p-values of 0.0042 and 0.0169, respectively. Overall, the supplemental lectures and activities designed for an undergraduate food product development course were successful in teaching students about herbs, spices, and sensory science. Students in this course had significant knowledge gains in these subjects, making these lectures valuable tools for use in later offerings of the course. With respect to the third project goal, it was anticipated that students who took the hybrid course, which was disseminated at a southern land grant university (LGU), would have no significant differences from students who took the existing AIPD course with respect to knowledge gains or increased confidence in food science, nutrition, packaging science, and product development. The results of the SKA showed there was not sufficient evidence to suggest that LGU students' percent scores, overall or in the four subject categories, are different from the Clemson University students' percent scores, using a significance level of 0.05. Additionally, no significant differences were found between the two groups for 13 of the 14 items on the Exit Questionnaire (P > 0.05). Therefore it can be concluded that this course is a viable option for dissemination to other universities to successfully teach food product development to sophomore students.

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