Before using this lab manual, it is helpful to know a bit about the origins and goals of the content. Ken Prusa has been teaching food product development at Iowa State University for over 20 years, building the foundation and layout of the course over time. The course meets 7 hours each week, split between two afternoon sessions. A short amount of time is used for announcements and reminders. The remainder of the time is used for teams to work in the lab and develop their product. Teams of three or four students develop a new food product working through formulation, processing, and commercialization sections throughout the course. Teams present to an industry board at the end of the formulation and commercialization sections. Kate Gilbert joined Ken five years ago and has slowly added content for the course.
One of the goals of adding instructions, explanations, and examples for the course has been to let student teams be as resourceful and independent as possible. With limited instructors for a large lab-based course, it is important to eliminate answering the easy and repetitive questions and focus on guiding students while they problem-solve through the more complicated, project-specific challenges. The second goal is related to the first and is to push the boundaries of what students can accomplish in a one-semester 3-credit course. Each team develops a product from start to finish, but there is potential to increase the number and depth of components that can be researched. The more efficient student teams can be (with added instructions and resources), the more can be accomplished and a more real-world experience will be achieved.
In addition to this lab manual, this product development course includes video lectures, scenarios, and questions to check student understanding. It is set up in a pseudo flipped classroom approach. Students view content and answer questions before working through the corresponding tasks in class. The lab manual reinforces the content students learned outside of class and acts as a guide for the students while working in class.
Why an Open Educational Resource (OER)
There are a few reasons that we chose an OER instead of a published book. One reason is that we have received resources, methods, and suggestions from industry members that we have incorporated into the course and course content over time. While we have added our knowledge and developed the content, we do not feel like it belongs to just us. We recognize and appreciate that building this course has been a supported effort and we want to thank all of the industry members who have shared their time, knowledge, and resources with us. Another reason that we chose OER is the format of the material. We refer to this book as a lab manual because we want it to be actively used throughout the development process. The content includes some background context but is written with direct and practical instructions as the main focus. The last reason is that we know each product development course is set up a bit differently. It is most useful to have materials that can be adapted to fit the needs of each individual course and an OER makes that possible.
About the Authors/Course Instructors
Ken Prusa received his Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition from Kansas State University, spent two years at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and then joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 1985. Ken is a Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition and is Professor-in-Charge of the Sensory Evaluation Center. He works closely with the food industry in new product development and product quality optimization through sensory testing. Ken helped develop the course FSHN 412, Food Product Development, at Iowa State into what we believe is the best experience possible for our students entering food-related careers.
Kate Gilbert is an alumnus of the food product development course, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Food Science in 2007. She worked in technical services and research for the Grain Processing Corporation and completed a Masters in Food Science from Kansas State University before returning to teach at Iowa State University in the fall of 2014. Kate transitioned from industry to academia because she wanted to share real-world experiences with students to better prepare them for their careers. Her approach to teaching is to meet students where they are, connect new information to what they already know, and then allow them to understand and apply that information. In addition to teaching a variety of courses, she coordinates internship opportunities, advises the Food Science Club, and is active in the Iowa Section of the Institute of Food Technologists.
Thank You to Contributors
In addition to contributions from food industry members, we would also like to thank Abbey Elder for all her help with the OER Grant process and answering all our questions along the way, Derek Schweiger for reviewing first drafts of content and finding great references, and Sarah Gilbert for diligently editing the whole manual.