Harvard’s Science & CookingX – On Campus and as a MOOC

Professor Pia Sorensen, Harvard Science & CookingX

Professor Pia Sörensen, Harvard University

Molecules and enzymes may not sound delicious, but they are when you’re talking about making paella or cooking steak to perfect doneness.

Science & CookingX is a ten-week, online course, modeled after the popular classroom-based course held at Harvard University. It’s hosted on edX, created by Harvard and MIT to deliver courses to students around the world. The class features guest chefs alongside scientists, explaining how the chemistry behind the cooking works. Experiments are conducted in the student’s own kitchens.

“There are so many overlaps, not just in the sense that food and cooking can be explained in chemistry and physics, but also in the way that a chef approaches a new recipe and follows certain procedures, is very similar to the creative process that a scientist goes through in designing an experiment,” says Professor Pia Sörensen, Preceptor of Science and Cooking at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University. “This is where this idea was to teach chemistry and physics through cooking.”

At the The IAFOR North American Conference on Education 2014 (NACE2014), Sörensen will deliver a Featured Presentation on "Harvard’s Science and Cooking - How creating an online class put the sizzle on on-campus teaching". She will discuss how the work to create a successful MOOC, a massive open online course, can be used to strengthen the on-campus version.

Sörensen also presented “Chemistry in the Kitchen: How the Online Version of Science and Cooking made 90,000 Chemists” at The Asian Conference on Language Learning, held April 17 to 20, 2014 in Osaka, Japan.

"I had a wonderful experience at the IAFOR conference in Osaka," says Sörensen. "It was a great experience to meet teachers from so many different cultures and learn about the differences and similarities in teaching methods and pedagogy."

NACE2014 is an international, multidisciplinary event held concurrently with The IAFOR North American Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences 2014. Both conferences will take place September 25 to 28, 2014, in Providence, Rhode Island.

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