From UBC Wiki
Current Topics in Food, Nutrition, & Health
FNH 490
Section: 001
Instructor: Dr. Gail Hammond
Office: FNH 214
Office Hours: Wed 12:00-13:00

(or by appointment)

Class Schedule: Wed 2:00-5:00pm
Classroom: FNH 50
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

Topics in Food, Nutrition, and Health

Please note that this course has multiple sections:

Course Description

Purpose: This student-directed, learner-centred seminar course allows you to explore current topics in food, nutrition, and health in depth using seminar and formal debate activities. You will engage in searching for, critically analyzing, and interpreting research on both assigned and self-selected topics, present your research to the class and invited guests, engage with guest speakers, and provide and receive constructive feedback to/from your classmates.

Classes: This course is held on Wednesdays, from 2:00-5:00pm in FNH 50. Your attendance is expected and is necessary for you to participate in the presentations, debates, and discussions. Please show respect for your classmates and instructor by arriving on time and prepared to discuss each week's topics.

Course Website: Important correspondence for the course will be posted on the FHN 490 course website. For access go to and use your CWL login.

Course Objectives

FNH 490 is designed for you to achieve the following objectives. At the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • source and critically evaluate research articles on current topics in food, nutrition, and health;
  • use internet-based software to manage reference citations;
  • work in a small team on a current topic in food, nutrition, and health to prepare an effective seminar-based class presentation, an evidence-based research paper, a client-focused educational resource, critique of a resource, and self and peer evaluations;
  • formally debate a food, nutrition, and health-related topic and prepare a group summary paper of the debate research;
  • provide critical and thoughtful feedback and questions to members of the debate teams and receive and respond to the same;
  • use critical reflection on your experiences in FNH 490 as a learning tool for enhancing your self-directed learning skills.

Course Materials

There are no pre-assigned readings; however, this course will involve extensive searching and reading of current scientific literature. Students will be responsible for sourcing appropriate, reliable, and scientifically-based research articles for their assigned debate resolutions and chosen seminar-based topics.

Course Format

FNH 490 uses a mixed-mode format that includes:

  • workshops
  • guest speakers
  • discussions
  • presentations
  • formal debates
  • reflective journals.

As instructor, I will be responsible for integrating instructional strategies that are conducive to collaborative and active learning and that will accommodate different learning styles; as a student, you will be responsible for developing new knowledge by engaging in critical dialogue and research with your classmates: together, we will both be responsible for ensuring a respectful, engaging, inclusive, effective, and productive learning environment.

To be an active participant, you will need to prepare before arriving at class, actively engage with your classmates in class, and continue your learning outside of class. Building on your own knowledge base through critical dialogue, you will investigate issues in food, nutrition, and health using your own strengths and learning styles that will advance development of your critical thinking skills. By committing to research, thoughtful and critical argumentation, and giving and receiving constructive feedback, you will be able to achieve the course objectives.

If you have suggestions for changes to the class format that will help you achieve the course objectives more effectively, feel free to propose your ideas at any time. During the course, I will ask you for ways that help to better develop your self-directed learning skills. In doing so, you will be asked to identify specific strategies that are useful to you in the context of this course and in your approach to life-long learning.

Course Assignments

There are 2 major assignments for this course:

  1. In a small group of 2-4 students, you will provide a research-based seminar presentation (select from 2 formats) on a self-selected current topic of interest to your group. You will develop and present a consumer nutrition education resource focused on your topic, and submit a summary research report of your seminar topic. You will also critique another group's educational resource and complete an evaluation of yourself and your peers.
  2. You will participate in a formal debate on an assigned topic and submit a team-based research report of the debate. Preparing for the debate will require extensive research not only for your side of the assigned resolution but also for the opposing side. This preparation will enable you to provide convincing rebuttals. You will receive the resolution and which side you will debate (affirmative/negative). On any given day, students who are not debating will be involved in other roles.

Grading of the assignments will be made on a group basis (i.e., each group member will receive the same mark), with the exception of the seminar peer evaluation. It is the responsibility of each group to ensure full participation of all members. Additionally with the debate assignment, you are required to keep a reflective personal journal of your experiences. The journal is mandatory, will be individually submitted, and individually graded. You are required to attend and engage in meaningful participation in all classes.

Late Assignments

All students are expected to submit their assignments on the due dates at the specified times (see Course Schedule). For each day an assignment is late, 10% will be deducted from your group assignment grade. Note the daily time deadline (1400h) for submission of late assignments. All late submissions must be submitted to staff in the FNH main office (room 230). It is your responsibility to ask office staff to date and time stamp your assignment. Exceptions to scheduled deadlines will only be granted for medical reasons accompanied by a valid medical certificate from your health care provider indicating your dates of illness and expected date of return to school work.

Course Evaluation

Detailed evaluation criteria for the Seminar Assignment and Debate Assignment are provided in the assignment folders posted on the course website.

Activity Description Percent of Grade
Seminar Assignment: Final outline (due 2 days before scheduled seminar) 5%
Class seminar (scheduled in October) 15%
Research paper (due October 29) 10%
Consumer educational resource (due October 29) 10%
Group critique of educational resource (due November 5) 5%
Peer evaluation of group members (due November 5) 5%
Debate Assignment: Debate (scheduled in November) 20%
Written summary of debate research (due December 3) 15%
Reflective journal (due December 3) 5%
Class Participation: Full attendance, meaningful participation 10%
TOTAL: 100%

Academic Integrity

Any form of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Refer to the UBC Calendar to learn about UBC disciplinary actions for academic misconduct:

The UBC Academic Integrity Resource Centre ( provides tips on avoiding plagiarism, FAQs, tutorials, and other resources related to academic integrity.

Accommodation & Disabilities

If you have special needs, please bring them to my attention before or at the first class of term. I will make every effort to accommodate your requirements in the classroom. For additional support to enhance your educational experiences, UBC Access and Diversity ( works with students, faculty, and staff to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for students living with long-term disabilities.

Course Schedule

Classes are held 1400h-1700h in FHN 50. The following schedule is tentative.

Date (2014) Activities
September 3 Orientation - introductions, course overview...

Determine debate theme; discuss seminar topics/set groups

September 10 Review evidence-based research; Seminar teamwork - finalize seminar topics: Seminar teamwork; Workshops: Providing effective feedback; Providing effective seminars
September 17 Seminar teamwork; Preliminary seminar outline due online @ 6:00pm
September 24 UBC Library Workshop: Reference Librarian - efficient database search techniques, RefWorks/RefShare (tbc); HealthLink BC Dietitian Services: Designing educational resources (tbc)
October 1 Workshop: Video Production with Duncan McHugh

Student-led seminars: groups 1 & 2

October 8 Student-led seminars: groups 3, 4 & 5

Developing debate resolutions

October 15 UBC Debate Society Workshop: Debate 101 (tbc)

Student-led seminars: groups 6 & 7 Developing debate resolutions; Final debate resolutions due

October 22 Debate 101 debrief; Debate teamwork
October 29 Debate teamwork; Seminar research paper due

Educational resource and summary due

November 5 Debates 1 & 2; Group critique of educational resource due;

Self and peer evaluation of group members due online

November 12 Debates 3 & 4
November 19 Debate 5
November 26 Course evaluation
December 3 Debate summary and reflections due @ noon in FNH 214

Student Support

The UBC Learning Commons ( is an online portal available to all students to help you achieve academic success. You can access peer tutoring and academic coaching, interactive workshops, study groups, tech tools, student-directed seminars, and many other academic resources at the website.

The UBC Writing Centre (accessed through the Learning Commons website) offers free academic writing tutor services for UBC students from September to April. You can make an appointment or drop into the Chapman Learning Commons in the Ike Barber Learning Centre for assistance with your writing. If you are looking to improve your writing skills, this is a valuable free resource to you as a UBC student. See the website for details.

Course Conduct

Your attendance at all classes is expected and will enhance your likelihood of successfully completing the course. If you cannot attend a class, it is your responsibility to be informed of the content discussed in class. Successful completion of the course requires a strong academic performance, evidence of critical thinking, and sustained active participation in all learning activities. Appropriate conduct is expected of all students throughout the course. Research has shown that you are more likely to be successful if you conduct yourself in the following manner:

  • Arrive to class on time and prepared for active participation in all aspects of class activities, including receiving and giving critical, constructive, and thoughtful feedback;
  • Ask questions about issues that intrigue you or that you don't understand;
  • Contribute similar or differing ideas that are focused on the issues;
  • Employ good time management skills;
  • Be respectful of diverse opinions;
  • Use considerate language in class and online;
  • Turn off electronic devices that you are not using for academic purposes.

FNH 490 Seminar Sign Up

Please use the table below to sign up for dates for your Seminar Presentations. Dates and topics are allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To enter your name into this table:

  • login to UBCWiki using your Campus Wide Login (CWL) by clicking the UBC CWL icon in the top right hand corner of the screen (note: that this may take you to the UBC Wiki Main page. To get back to this FNH 490 Seminar Sign Up page, type "FNH 490" into the "search" box in the left hand navigation bar or use the URL "")
  • click on the [edit] link in the top right-hand corner of this page (this will bring up a page with a bunch of code, which represents this page)
  • find the date you want to present in the list
  • enter your group members and topic like this:

| 1
| Nov 5
| TYPE LINK TO [1] WIKIPEDIA PAGE ON THIS LINE (Put the URL for the page inside square brackets to create the hyperlink)

Please let Beth know if you have any questions or problems with this.

Grace - topic = organics

Group # Date Topic Group Members Wikipedia page
1 Oct 28 Health impacts of elimination diets Pamela Haaf, Kayley Fesko, kenrick chau
2 Nov 4
3 Nov 4 Salt and Cardiovascular Disease Camilla, Tiffany, Joseph Wikipedia page: Salt and cardiovascular disease [[2]]
4 Nov 4
5 Nov 18 Probiotics in foods Amy Lo, Karen Ng, Tiffany Chu Wikipedia page: Probiotics in Pediatrics [[3]]
6 Nov 18 Nutrition and AIDS Alexander Lui, Tommy Tsui, Stephanie Ng Wiki page: [[4]] or [[5]] in case the first one is deleted; also our ubc wiki page shows our edit history.
7 Nov 25 sport nutrition Claire Wong, Queenie Bei, Jennifer Kwan Wikipedia page: Protein (Nutrient) [[6]] and Bodybuilding supplement [[7]]
8 Nov 25 Caffeine and Nutrition Vicky Wu, Melissa Howard, Cissy Chen Wikipedia page: Caffeine and Health [[8]]
9 Dec 2 Prenatal Nutrition Christine Chen, Sandy Lin
10 Dec 2 Weight Management Simran, Sara Salmabadi, Melanie Thompson Wikipedia page:Nutrition and Weight Management [[9]]