Sally Frey, Ph.D. Food Studies

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Sally Frey, Ph.D. Food Studies

Exploring Digital Magazine Production

Dr. Frey is exploring a variety of digital tools to design a student-centered digital magazine production.

Project Overview

The transdisciplinarity of food studies is well-suited to creative pedagogical approaches. Project-based learning is an instructional style in which topics are contextualized through working towards a shared goal. In this project, I explore how this educational style, in the form of student-driven digital magazine production, can enhance understanding of food systems challenges in the classroom. My hope is that the project will allow a student-centered learning model that promotes critical thinking, investigative analytical skills and the intentional use of technological tools. In addition, it could empower students to explore food through creativity in the form of recipe development, poetry, photography, illustration, interviews, and essays.


Planning Process

To begin this research project an initial literature review was completed to investigate project-based learning and assessment models in relationship to food studies coursework heavy in experiential learning. As a reading and writing heavy program grounded in experiential learning I’m seeking to be more inclusive in opportunities for expression as well as tangible assessment methods beyond the traditional essay. IRB – surveys & interviews and course work form the structure of the research process.

On a technology level, I purchased a camera and attend lessons and workshops to document the process through both words and images. I purchased and I am learning Canva Pro which we are using to produce the digital magazine. I’m also learning adobe platforms to support the design aspect of the project. I plan to audit a course at Chatham in the fall.

Initial literature review abstract:

Examinations of food studies pedagogy largely explores experience-based education models, emphasizes interdisciplinarity of the subject, and systems thinking (Hilimire et al. 2014) (Karsten, O’Connor 2002). While this scholarship is valuable it does not address project-based learning and related assessment strategies within Food Studies. What is experiential learning? What is project-based learning? How are they different? Can project-based learning provide students with opportunities to distill information and engage with their learned experiences, strengthening the impact of the coursework? My students (FST 342 Sustainable Production – undergraduate and FST 531 Sustainable Fermentation) are both engaging in some degree of experience-based learning, through culinary practice, applied classroom settings and fieldwork. How can project-based learning be used as a complement to this and make this popular food studies pedagogical teaching method more impactful and meaningful to students? “Scholars of experience-based learning have long pointed to the importance of systematic reflection as part of this learning process (Kolb 1984; Baker et al. 2005). On its own, experience is merely contact with observation. In order to become meaningful, experience must be reflected upon (Kolb 1984; Baker et al. 2005)” cited in Hilimire et al. 2014. Specific to this study, could a class-based digital magazine provide students a space for reflection on student experiences while providing educators an alternate method for assessment, one that extends beyond standard models, and empowers students to explore food through creativity?

Works Cited:

Baker, A. C., Jensen, P. J., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Conversation as experiential learning. Management learning, 36(4), 411-427.
Hilimire, K., Gillon, S., McLaughlin, B. C., Dowd-Uribe, B., & Monsen, K. L. (2014). Food for thought: Developing curricula for sustainable food systems education programs. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 38(6), 722-743.
Karsten, H. D., & O’Connor, R. E. (2002). Lessons learned from teaching an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on sustainable agriculture science and policy. Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, 31(1), 111-116.



On the course syllabi, I gave specific details for what the final magazine would contain (a form of rubric) and included in the course two “lab days” for creative design and reflection. The students (both graduate and undergraduate) welcomed the different format to the course structure. Of note was that each student brought a different talent to the project. For the lab days, the students created on theme musical playlists which enriched the process. In process.



The students completed self-assessment and the assignment will be formally graded too (against a rubric).

Reflections and Next Steps

In process.

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