May 25, 2020, 23:59
Sharing Distance Learning Ideas

Sharing Distance Learning Ideas

23 March 2020

Nine school instructors and administrators share their strategies for moving toward an online culinary curriculum.

By Lisa Parrish, GMC Editor

Several instructors and administrators offered their plans for adjusting assignments and academic calendars during the COVID-19 crisis. Some schools are creating mise en place bags for students while others are loaning kitchen equipment through their institution’s library. Read through their ideas and perhaps you might find a strategy to implement at your school.

Krista C.K. Marvel
York County Community College
Wells, Maine
For our lab courses, we are moving as many course materials online as we can. Then we are building mise en place bags for hands-on work that doesn't require special equipment so students can do a few cooking/baking assignments at home. This also helps distribute perishable ingredients we have in inventory and eases some of the strain on our students (food insecurity is common at our campus). Finally, for hands-on assignments that require special equipment, we will be offering make-up lab days right before fall classes begin.

Rudi Fischbacher
Humber College Institute of Advanced Learning
Toronto, Ontario
We suspended classes to move all classes online and extended the semester for practical labs. We also moved the starting date for the summer semester back two weeks. Finally, we will condense the 14-week summer semester to 13 weeks and eliminate the reading week.

Heidi Knight
Erie Community College
Buffalo, New York
At Erie Community College, we are trying to do everything online. Our classes are already a hybrid-style, so they were already set up for homework, lectures and tests. Students took home products for the rest of the three weeks of this section. I will do live WebEx video and audio from the kitchen and try to instruct from that modality. This is super new for me, so fingers crossed it will work. We felt it was necessary as the course they are currently in is a required course in the sequence, so if they don't complete it they have to wait until next spring to take it.

Keith Andreasen
Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
Hudson, North Carolina
They closed our college until March 31st. We have moved all classes online, including lecture, assignments and tests. For our lab classes, we are looking at making them up when we get back by having longer class times or possibly making them up over the summer. It all depends on how long the college is closed. If anyone has any great videos they would like to share, I can have my instructors post them on their MOODLE sites.

Jillian Whitlow
Vance-Granville Community College
Henderson, North Carolina
We are already an enhanced classes module, so as of right now the students are on Spring break until March 22nd. We are working on moving everything online for the students. They will have assignments associated with each video or lecture that is submitted onto the LMS. We will utilize any ingredients they have already on hand at their household, basic ingredients or they will submit feedback and detailed assignments on the videos that I post on LMS. I am also utilizing the BIG Blue Button and VidGrid for more of a “webinar” type of style of teaching. We will provide tutoring through zoom and offer live lab demonstrations. Our college is not shutting down, but we rent our kitchen area from an orphanage and they will not let anyone from the outside on their property as of right now.

Aimee Elliott
Big Sky Culinary Institute--University of Montana
Missoula, Montana
Our students pay a significant amount in fees for equipment and food. In order to utilize the money they have already spent (or to not be out the money they’ve already spent for the rest of the semester), we will start on Wednesday the 25th, supplying mise en place bags to our students for required recipes as well as putting equipment (kitchen aids, grinders, pasta makers) on reserve in the library so they are able to check the equipment out if they do not have access to it at home. Additionally, instructors will either film demonstrations or do live classes for labs for students. Our college is not shutting down completely, so we are still offering students the ability to come into the kitchens one at a time to complete labs if they do not have access to a kitchen. We are also going to provide zoom conferences to students to have discussions regarding recipes, assignments, etc. My graduating students will also start to research and discuss online the ramifications for restaurants during the shut-downs and how they could weather the storm as potential restaurant owner/managers, or other creative ideas that could come from this.

Maureen LaSalle
Southern Maine Community College
South Portland, Maine
We have made a decision to continue some of our classes online but feel some of our basic classes are going to be pushed to the fall as we do not feel that we can educate appropriately in the online environment.


Renee Smith
Univ. Ark. Pulaski Technical College
Little Rock, Arkansas
For our lab courses, we are moving as many course materials online as we can. Our classes are already hybrid-style, so they were already set up for homework, lectures and tests. We are in the process of carefully evaluating ACFEF required knowledge and skills competencies so whatever we do not go over this spring we can make it up in the fall with the students.

Jean Hertzman
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, New Mexico
We started spring break a week early this week to give faculty two weeks to move all their courses online. We canceled all meals and events for the rest of the semester. Our two chef instructors already use Canvas for many class activities. They are moving the rest of the assignments online, but we will try to do like York County Community College and have food products available for pickup by the students in our basic culinary lab. Our restaurant lab started using a new restaurant management textbook this year so students will have more assignments from that but will definitely lose the hands-on aspects.

We donated all perishable food that could not be frozen to a food bank here. We will donate smaller canned goods to the university student food pantry.