A Dietetics Major Professional Practice Course Transformed: Students as Creators of Knowledge for Open Access Online Sharing

TitleA Dietetics Major Professional Practice Course Transformed: Students as Creators of Knowledge for Open Access Online Sharing
Faculty/College/UnitLand & Food Systems
Duration1 Year
Project Summary

This project aimed at transforming a dietetics professional practice course to address challenges with student foundational knowledge application in practice settings, and to enhance student-learning engagement. Students in the revised course established learning priorities related to course themes, and developed / compiled digital content for open access online sharing, using registered dieticians as content advisors. A pilot course was designed and delivered in 2014S, then evaluated in two phases in 2014W. Evaluation findings informed the development of course resources and tools which were implemented in the course in 2015.

Funding Details
Year 1: Project YearYear 1
Year 1: Funding Year2014/2015
Year 1: Project TypeLarge TLEF
Year 1: Principal InvestigatorKarol Traviss
Year 1: Funded Amount34,886
Year 1: Team Members

Karol Traviss, Senior Instructor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems
Kara Vogt, Dietetics Education Coordinator
Tamar Kafka, Dietetics Education Coordinator
Karalee Boschung, Student Project Assistant (SPA)
Katherine Sohm, SPA
Heather Woodward, SPA
Katie Dick, SPA
Erin MacMillan, SPA

Project ReportReport-2014-FL-Traviss-WEB.pdf
Project Outcomes

Products & achievements: Open-access online repository of student created resources (http://dietetics.landfood.ubc.ca/year-5-interns/student_created_resources/); self-directed and technology-centered pilot course; self-directed and technology-centered course framework fully implemented; guidelines, resources, and tools that can be used by other instructors; project outcomes were shared at educational and professional events; student-led project framework.

Intended outcomes/themes:

  1. Enhanced student learning

- Increased student commitment and interest in activities, creative final workshop presentations with attention to adult learning principles, reported engagement with professionals

- Increased student awareness to key achievements and key insights gained

  1. Student engagement with learning

- Increased student involvement in class discussions & activities

- Positive feedback from professionals on experience

  1. Increased skill related to digital content development/sourcing

- Increased quality & complexity of student-created educational media

- Student increased skills & knowledge related to digital content development/sourcing

  1. Opportunities to engage with Dietetics Program & Dietetics professionals

- Positive effect of “just in time” student learning during internship

- Positive feedback from professionals on quality of interactions

  1. Availability of an open-access online repository of practice skill focused learning content
  2. Development of materials and resources for use by other instructors within and beyond dietetics

Evaluation approach: A qualitative approach was used to evaluate the outcomes of this project. Data collection approaches included: expert/advisor/instructor interviews; student interviews; course debrief sessions; student reflective self-evaluations; and preceptor/instructor assessment of student performance in practicum. All data collection and analysis was completed by the Student Project Assistants. Data analysis consisted in thematic review of the collected materials and interview data. Since all data collected and analyzed was qualitative, it is all dependent on the subjective opinions of course participants. The formative assessment of FNH 480 will allow its refinement in future years.


  • Pilot course effect on student engagement with learning - Students, advisors and instructor noted course design to be a contributor to increased student engagement with learning.
  • Pilot course effect on skill development related to educational media - Student improvement in technology skills, knowledge, and use in education; increased student self-efficacy to seek help and learn about technology; enhanced student understanding of the use of technology for education.
  • Pilot course effect on student engagement with professionals - Rich student-advisor interactions; improvement of scheduling and professional communication needed.
  • Find out how FNH 480 can be improved - Student and advisor feedback obtained in the following areas: advisory structure, course resources, course schedule, course topics, assignments, and learning objectives. Area most noted as needing improvement was advisory structure.
  • Student-created educational media use during practicum - Educational media was the most used by interns as a preparation for internship, and learning during internship was well supported by resources provided by preceptors. The most useful media was short, very practical, applicable to daily life, and not text-heavy. Media could improve by incorporating Adult Learning Principles more thoroughly.


  • LFS Brown Bag Lunch Series discussion, October 2014
  • DC National Conference presentation & discussion, June 2015
  • STLHE National Conference poster presentation, June 2015
  • STLHE National Conference poster published on STLHE website, July 2015

Sustainability: The developed materials and resources are available for use by other instructors. These include: FNH 480 Action Plan template, DC National Conference presentation slides, STLHE National Conference poster, Course Implementation Action Plan, Executive Summary, and Project Final Report.

The main area of concern for project sustainment is the maintenance of the online educational media to ensure of its accuracy, relevancy, and usability. To ensure efficient maintenance, students will review an assigned section of the online repository each year in the revised course and make any necessary changes, in addition to researching a new topic related to practicum and professional practice. In this way, malfunctioning media or technology will be fixed, irrelevant information will be removed and content will be curated.

This is the final campus-based course before students enter their practicum year, and many reported general fatigue with class work and lower motivation than is typical for them. Discussion is currently underway about methods to continue to revise the course to meet student’s needs best, and ultimately to prepare them effectively to enter internship.