Ruth Kastenmayer
Judson Center for Teaching/Learning & Technology
June 2004
What happens when you take an established course that is already popular with students, remove a lot of the class lecture time, add a good portion of online course work, season with a dash of love, and blend thoroughly with an excellent Course Management System (CMS)? The results are amazing!

BIO 204 Biochemical Nutrition is a study of the chemical basis of nutrients and foods and their use in diet and therapy. This course is designed for students in preprofessional programs leading to careers in health care areas. Because nutrition plays a significant role in both health and disease, emphasis is placed on basic nutrition concepts as well as on diet therapy for management of common health conditions.

The main ingredients for this recipe:

Textbook and Online Ancillary Materials

Whitney and Rolfes. 2002. Understanding Nutrition, 9th Edition. Thomson/Wadsworth.

ISBN for textbook bundled with Diet Analysis 6.0 online : 0534099688
ISBN for Diet Analysis online alone: 0534594204

An extensive Student Companion Web Site, maintained by Thomson Learning, provides students with the opportunity to utilize Web resources and multimedia techniques in order to reinforce learning of the concepts covered in the text.

In addition to mastering material from the textbook, students completed the Diet Self-Study exercises using the Diet Analysis Plus software which is available online and may be bundled with the textbook.

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Course Management System (CMS)
Ucompass Educator logo

Judson College adopted Ucompass Educator, a very powerful and flexible course management system (CMS), in Fall 2002. All Judson courses have an online presence through Educator, and its use is expanding across the campus. All of the students thus were familiar with the software and eager to use all of the components.


The students were most enthusiastic about the online discussions which enabled them to argue and trade links into the early hours of the morning.

Since the discussion is online, adding links to items of interest on the Web is very simple and insures that they are readily accessible during the discussion.


The course included thirteen practice quizzes, four unit exams, and a final exam. All of the assessment was done online through Educator. The final exam was a two-hour, proctored exam administered in the computer lab.

It sure is easier to read and grade all those essays when they are typed and easy to read on the screen!

Final Exam, Biochemical Nutrition, June 2004
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"Seven Principles" Implementation

One of the most widely quoted articles is "SEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR GOOD PRACTICE IN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION" which was written by Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson as a summary of teaching-learning activities that, according to educational research, usually improve educational outcomes.

For the 2003-2004 academic year, Judson College Faculty Development Workshops have used the resources provided by the TLT Group to focus on using Educator to improve educational outcomes. This Biochemical Nutrition course is the result of using the power of the CMS to blend the text and the online components in order to strengthen student learning.

Much of the face-to-face lecture time was replaced with active learning experiences which communicated high expectations and contributed to time on task. Cooperation among students was fostered in the Nutrition Dinner, and respect for diverse talents and ways of learning were reflected in the broad array of learning tools on the textbook companion site.

According to Chickering and Gamson:

" Good practice in undergraduate education:

  • encourages contact between students and faculty,
  • develops reciprocity and cooperation among students,
  • encourages active learning,
  • gives prompt feedback,
  • emphasizes time on task,
  • communicates high expectations,
  • and respects diverse talents and ways of learning."

The instructor and students were in daily communication through Educator email and online discussion board. Feedback both from student to instructor and from instructor to student was immediate and ongoing throughout the course.

Nutrition Dinner
Nutrition Dinner, June 2004

One of the highlights of this course is the nutrition dinner. While the dinner is "real" and face-to-face, students used email and the online discussion board to discuss nutritional principles that they had learned, to plan a healthful and also delicious meal, to coordinate tasks, and decide how to shop for the food, and prepare and serve the dinner to the class and invited guests.

More ...

Educator allowed the students to stay in communication at all times even though several were day students and almost all of the students went home for the weekends.

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Online Survey
A survey was administered in Educator so students could offer their opinions about the success of this pilot "blended" course. The results were very positive. Here are some examples of student comments:
  • "I think the most valuable part of this class has been the ability to learn on my own yet still have the Deadline of the few class meetings."

  • "Many of the lessons I learned in this class will stay a lifetime. Health is essential. I know that I must improve my health and portray more self-control in my diet. My favorite thing about this course was the discussion online. I think that really brought up a lot of interesting topics."

  • "I think that the most valuable part of this course is the time issue. It will fit into almost anybody's schedule."

  • "I really enjoyed the diet analysis. The software was easy to use. I think that I am more aware of the things that I eat and that I will remember this for the rest of my life."

  • "The online diet analysis was helpful. I really liked it. Overall, I think that the course was helpful. The dinner was a nice addition. The online discussion also caused me to think."
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On the first unit test I was surprised that the scores were higher than they have been in a traditional class with a lot of lecture time. One of the students remarked, "Well, you are making us read the whole chapter instead of just telling us what we are supposed to know." Overall, the test and exam scores were higher than in my previous six times of teaching the course. There was a marked increase in student interest and enthusiasm. Since everyone had had to complete the quizzes before the class meeting time in order to earn the points for them, I could start a lecture with a question such as, "Was there anything in Chapter X that surprised you?" and have a bunch of hands eagerly go up.

There were, however, some disadvantages as well. There was more emphasis on learning by reading rather than by hearing, so perhaps the visual learners were given a significant advantage. Also, conducting this course during the Short Term condensed schedule and faster pacing was perhaps a disadvantage for this "blended" approach to teaching as it reduced the time available for review. Blended BIO 204 will probably prove to be even more effective as a course offered during the Fall or Spring normally-paced semesters.

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By substituting a considerable amount of online coursework for the more traditional lecture time, I have placed the responsibility on the students to learn and think for themselves. In analyzing grade results as well as student feedback I am convinced that this course has been significantly more effective in promoting student learning and retention than the traditional course has been.

10th Edition

I am currently rewriting the course for the newest edition of the textbook and I am planning to offer it again as a "blended " course in Spring 2005.

In order to reinforce student learning and accommodate to different learning styles, I am going to use MS Producer to add voice narration to the slides provided for each chapter. This will help those students who learn best by hearing rather than by reading.
These "mini-lectures" will be available for download from Educator so that the students will be able to listen to them as many times as they wish.

I intend to add one of the Internet exercises that are listed on the Publisher's Web site for each of the chapters that I cover. These will be due before the class discussion period.

I would like to expand the use of the online Diet Analysis Plus in order to add one hour of laboratory credit for the course.

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Thank you, Ucompass!
None of this would have been possible without Educator. Thanks, Ucompass, for all of your support and encouragement!  
Ruth Kastenmayer - Director, Judson TLT Center    
Mr. Ed Mansouri, CEO and Founder of Ucompass Inc. is very pleased to be working with the faculty and students of Judson College as part of our "Small Campus Full Implementation Package". Our partnership brings Judson all the tools necessary for running a state of the art online course offering. The faculty and administrators at Judson College bring their expertise and enthusiasm to enhance learning for students using the online teaching component. We look forward to continuing this successful partnership and expanding the teaching and learning landscape for faculty and students at Judson College.
Edward B. Mansouri - President,, Inc.

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    Thank you to our visionary Judson Administration and my cooperative and enthusiastic students, Melissa Benson, Brandi Butler, Dani Cooper, Jessica East, Rebecca Gray, Katie Hoggle,Tiffany Jernigan, Tiffany Little, Leslie Miller, Ashley Parsons, Catherine Rankin , and Angela Wilson! I appreciate the oversight and advice from faculty in both the Science Division and Social Sciences Division. Support from my colleagues on the Judson IT Team was truly invaluable. Thanks also for the guidance and supporting materials from the TLT Group and Thomson/Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning.

Finally, thanks to all my friends at Ucompass. Here's to the future!

Ruth Kastenmayer
June 2004

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