Short Courses = Current Topics

By: 
Peggy Trommater

Beginning this spring, the Online MS in Food Safety program began offering its 1-credit short courses as a new elective option in each of MSU's three academic semesters.  This unique new design offers students a wide variety of current food safety topics, allowing them to expand their elective options into diverse areas of interest.

Each “topic” will earn 1-credit, and has been condensed into a 5-week, self-paced format with minimal instructor or peer interaction. The course runs for a full semester, but is divided into 3 five-week sections. With all topics available in each of the 3 sections, students can mix and match the topics of their choice, thus maximizing flexibility by taking a variable number of credits within the semester.

The beauty of this design is that it allows students to address topics directly related to their current positions. A student could fit 3 or more topics into one semester, allowing them to quickly prepare themselves for handling their most pressing food safety concerns. One topic, Principles of Preventive Controls, includes the opportunity for students to earn an official FSPCA certification in the only fully online and asynchronous format available to date.

MS in Food Safety students must take 9 credits of elective courses to complete their Master of Science degree, and generally make selections from a list of 3-credit courses offered within the program's curriculum.  The program began offering this new 1-credit model in the summer of 2016 with VM 834 Current Issues in Food Safety, which offered 6 topics for students to choose from. A second course, VM 836 Food Safety Issues by Commodity, offered in Spring Semester of 2017, expanded the topic selection available.  Beginning Summer Semester 2017, additional topics have been added, and one of these two courses will be offered each semester, allowing students an even more dynamic choice in fulfilling their elective requirements.

Course materials for these topics will be sourced from scientific and trade journals, textbooks, federal regulations, and international guidance documents. Assessments will be in the form of quizzes, exams, projects and written assignments.  The program plans to develop new materials and topics for these courses regularly, based on current needs within the profession.

Topics being offered during the 2017/2018 academic year will be:
 
VM 834 – Current Issues in Food Safety (Summer 2017)
1. Principles of Preventive Controls (with FSPCA certification)
2. Food Allergens
3. Food Safety for Produce
4. Meat Food Safety
5. Dairy Food Safety
6. Quantifying Food Risk
 
VM 834 - Current Issues in Food Safety (Fall 2017)
1. Principles of Preventive Controls (with FSPCA certification)
2. Food Allergens
3. GMPs: Sanitary Design/Construction and Pest Control
4. Principles of Microbiological Troubleshooting in Industrial Food Processing
5. Foodborne Parasites
6. Food Waste Recovery (Food Banks)
7. Ingredient Food Safety
 
VM 836 – Food Safety Issues by Commodity (Spring 2018)
1. Principles of Preventive Controls (with FSPCA certification)
2. Beverage Food Safety
3. Pet Food Safety
4. Meat Food Safety
5. Dairy Food Safety
6. Animal Feed Safety
7. Food Safety Leadership