McGill has released its first MOOC, Food for Thought (CHEM181x). This course was developed by Teaching and Learning Services from an on-campus course titled “World of Chemistry: Food” that has been very popular since the mid 1980s. Extensive work has been done with the the three instructors (David Harpp, Joe Schwarcz and Ariel Fenster part of the Office for Science & Society) to redesign their course to take advantage of some of the tools available in the MOOC. They are a dynamic trio with a passion for good science about food. The description of the MOOC is:
Eating and understanding the nuances of food has become a complicated and often confusing experience. Virtually every day brings news about some “miracle food” that we should be consuming or some “poison” we should be avoiding. One day it’s tomatoes to prevent cancer, then flaxseed against heart disease or soybeans for menopause. At the same time we may be warned about trans fats, genetically modified foods, aspartame or MSG. Dietary supplements may be touted as the key to health or a factor in morbidity. According to some, dairy products are indispensable while others urge us to avoid them. The same goes for meat, wheat and soy; the list goes on. This course will shed light on the molecules that constitute our macro and micro nutrients and will attempt to clarify a number of the food issues using the best science available. Other topics to be presented will include the diet-cancer relationship, the link between diet and cardiovascular disease, food-borne illnesses, food additives and weight control.
There is also an introductory video that gives you a teaser about what the course will be about.
This MOOC is available for free for anyone with access to a computer. It has just begun this week and will run for the next 10 weeks online. If you are interested, register now!