Education innovation: Creating a mindful learning environment in the online, experiential, culinary classroom



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Data from large-scale national polls suggest that colleges and universities are increasing online course offerings to meet the demand of higher student enrollments and more diverse student populations. In fact, as of 2014 over 5.5 million college students were taking online courses offered by 98% of two-year and four-year institutions in the United States.
Hospitality management programs offering restaurant management and culinary classes have been reluctant to introduce online, laboratory-based foods classes. Hospitality educators are concerned with the quality of the educational experience, the quality of interactions among students, the transfer of important or relevant course materials, and the lack of classroom climate in the online classroom despite research indicating there are no differences in student learning experiences in online and face-to-face classrooms. Unfortunately, the aforementioned research comes from non-culinary classes, leaving room to explore and expand on the body of knowledge. Therefore, this study took an exploratory approach to examining the benefits, both to students and to the hospitality industry, online learning offers to student learning experiences in the culinary classroom. This was done by measuring student interactions, student satisfaction, and student learning outcomes in a laboratory-based foods course taught online and face-to-face. Students (N=84) in one class at a public university in the southwest United States were involved in this study. The methodology for this study included qualitative and quantitative data. Instructor observation was used to measure student interactions. A survey instrument was designed to provide additional measurement of student interactions, as well as student satisfaction levels. Student learning outcomes were measured through course artifacts. Statistical analysis, including phenomenological inquiry (qualitative), and MANOVA and multivariate multiple regression(quantitative), were examined. Results indicated no difference in outcomes between the two course administrations. Student interaction was shown to significantly influence student satisfaction levels in the online course.



Online Learning, Online Culinary Education, Experiential Online Learning, Online Course Design