Instructor Materials: Overview of the Future of Food Course
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Describe and assess the soil, biological, and water resources and climatic conditions that support food production systems. (Earth Science Literacy Big Ideas 7.1, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5)
- Analyze how human food systems significantly alter Earth's ecosystems, specifically the biological, soil, and water resources. (Earth Science Literacy Big Ideas 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7)
- Evaluate the resilience of food production systems in the context of climate change, human population growth, and socio-economic factors. (Earth Science Literacy Big Idea 7.10)
Course Summative Assessment: Evaluation accomplished via summative assessments in each module and a semester-long capstone project. The course summative assessment is a semester-long capstone project that is culminates in the development of a website about a regional food system in Module 12 (see Module 12 below for associated documents). Students gather data and information to support their final presentation in stages throughout the semester, at the end of every third module.
Section 1: Introduction
- Module 1: Introduction and overview: Humans Significantly Alter the Earth. Social-ecological systems of global land use and food in the Anthropocene
- Module 2: History of Food Systems - co-evolution of agriculture and biota
- Module 3: Diet and Nutrition - interactions between soil fertility, global nutrient cycles, and food production systems
- Capstone Project: Stage 1
Section 2: Environmental Dynamics and Drivers
Section 3: Systems Approaches to Managing our Food
- Module 7: Soils and a Systems Approach to Soil Quality
- Module 8: Pests and IPM
- Module 9: Climate Change
- Capstone Project: Stage 3
Section 4: Food Systems and Sustainability
- Module 10: Food Systems
- Module 11: Human-Environment Interactions
- Capstone Project: Stage 4
- Module 12: Capstone Stage 5
The capstone project is organized into four stages which are completed throughout the course, culminating in a final group presentation in Module 12:
- Stage 1: Modules 1, 2, 3
- Stage 2: Modules 4, 5, 6
- Stage 3: Modules 7, 8, 9
- Stage 4: Modules 10, 11
- Stage 5: Final Presentation
Adapting the Course to Different Structures, Formats, and Schedules
The course may be taught in its entirety, or individual modules may be extracted for use within other courses. This course works well as a "blended" course, with the modules being completed at home and the activities being completed or presented in a weekly in-person class meeting. It could also be taught entirely online, or the activities could be used in conjunction with lectures developed by the instructor to introduce the relevant concepts in a traditional lecture-based course.
- During its initial development a version of these materials hosted by Penn State University was used to support this course at two different institutions (see the two course syllabi here). You can learn more about the experience of these courses in our Instructor Stories.
- Adapting InTeGrate Modules and Courses for Your Classroom, which outlines how to effectively use InTeGrate modules and courses.