My MOOC & The Science of Gastronomy

What’s a MOOC?

massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale participation and open access via the web. MOOCs are a recent development in distance education and often use open educational resources. Typically they do not offer academic credit or charge tuition fees. MOOCs originated about 2008 within the open educational resources (or OER) movement. Many of the original courses were based on connectivist theory, emphasizing that learning and knowledge emerge from a network of connections. 2012 became “the year of the MOOC” as several well-financed providers, associated with top universities, emerged, including Coursera, Udacity, and edX.

So I’m going to start studying again.

I found this MOOC that is totally ME! 

I’m going to study via Coursera, from The Hong Kong University of  Science and Technology by Professors Lam Lung Yeung and King L. Chow.

About Coursera

We are a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free. We envision a future where the top universities are educating not only thousands of students, but millions. Our technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students. Through this, we hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. We want to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in.

The Science of Gastronomy

Lam Lung Yeung and King L. Chow

This course introduces students to elements of science lying behind cooking and cuisine preparation. The ultimate goal is to help students recognize the importance of scientific principles being applied in everyday life, so that they will appreciate and be able to apply some of these principles in their future cooking practice.

About the Course

This course introduces students to a number of basic scientific principles underpinning cooking and cuisine preparation. Various topics with a strong basis in biology, chemistry and physics application will be covered. These include the consumption of cooked food, physiological and evolutionary control of the senses, geographic and cultural influences and the rationale behind cuisine preparation. Issues like coupling of senses to improve sense stimulation, altering flavor by chemical means, and modification of the coloration to improve the appearance of dishes will be discussed in the course. Through video demonstrations of the scientific principles underlying cooking practices, students are expected to recognize the key ingredients and their combination for preparing good healthy food. They will be able to:
(1) develop an appreciation of the scientific basis of various cuisine recipes;
(2) develop their own recipes by integrating some of the scientific principles into new dishes; as well as
(3) recognize the influence of the material world on human perception from the different senses, and thus
(4) be able to continually take on cooking and dining as an art of integrating sciences.

Course Syllabus

  1. Gastronomy: cuisine preparation, the chemical and physical principles
  2. Enjoyment of Food: parameter of excellence – the basis of taste
  3. The Basis of Flavor: the aroma and taste-aroma interactions
  4. Aroma and Coloring: coloring-association and improvement of perception
  5. Texture of Food: the highlight of contrast
  6. Fruits and Vegetables: properties, nutrition and enhancement of quality in cooking
  7. Meat: properties, taste, aroma and texture
  8. Meat: ways to modify the texture, enhance the taste and smell of meat
  9. Meat: precision cooking – how to cook a perfect steak?
  10. Sauce: modification of the viscosity and flavor of sauce
  11. Dessert: manipulation of desired texture: gluten formation and protein denaturing
  12. Examples of Dessert Making: ice-cream with liquid nitrogen and ginger milk curd

Recommended Background

No pre-requisite of any science background is required. Only high school level science is required.

Suggested Readings

This, Herve (2007) Kitchen mystery. Columbia University Press, New York.
McWilliams, Margaret (2006) Food Fundamentals, 8th Ed. Pearson, Prentice Hall, Inc. New Jersey.

Course Format

The course consists of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes in length. Throughout the course, experimental video demonstrations and illustration will be included to illustrate specific scientific principles of cooking techniques and food preparation. Students will be asked to practice and try out specific cooking principles at home and make comparisons themselves. There will be some integrated quiz questions introduced intermittently in the course. Assignment, recommended practices and trials at home are encouraged.
The Science of Gastronomy

The Science of Gastronomy

Is there anything you would like to study? Are you already doing a MOOC? Did I get you interested too? Check out the links below for more info! 
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2 Responses to “My MOOC & The Science of Gastronomy”

  1. Great post – I pressed it!

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