Here are 5 of our favorites.
The idea of going back to school crosses many of our minds from time to time, but with the growing costs of attendance, financial factors alone often dissuade many from pursuing higher education. For anyone deterred from continued education by budget or scheduling restraints, EdX—an online resource founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012—may be the close solution you need. EdX is an educational platform that offers free online courses by provided accredited universities from across the globe. These courses give self-starters the opportunity to access a wealth of information and instructors, without rigorous application processes and fees. Just like traditional schooling, each course provides you with a syllabus that breaks down the lessons to be taught. You even have the opportunity to interact with other students if the course is live during the time that you take it. When you sign up for classes, there is an introduction discussion board where your can meet your “classmates” from around the world. If you opt for courses that are not being taught in real time, the classes can be completed it at your own pace. Among the course offerings are several food-related topics that caught our attention, covering topics of nutrition, sustainability, food security, and food science.
Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science (part 1)
This course might be the only place where you receive lectures from culinary luminaries such as Ferran Adrià, José Andrés, Daniel Humm, and Joanne Chang, just to name a few. The instructors that developed the course come from a physics, mathematics, and chemical engineering backgrounds to give non-science majors the chance to apply science in everyday life. As a student, you will explore the science behind food gastronomy through guided readings and video presentations. The homework assignments and labs consist of testing food experiments in your home kitchen. And given that “homework” involves making molten chocolate cake and ceviche, you probably won’t be tempted to skip an assignment.
World of Wine: From Grape to Glass
University of Adelaide
Fine-tune your palate to distinguish the difference between incredible wine and the bargain barrels. This wine course walks you through the tasting process to fully understand every element that makes up a perfect glass of vino—from where the grapes are picked and the wine’s appearance to the flavor and body of each sip. You will also get an in-depth overview of the various approaches to winemaking by looking at the industry on a global scale. Extra credit points to this class because drinking wine in the comfort of your home is encouraged.
Nutrition and Health: Food Risks
(Over)analyzing where you purchase food and how you consume it is more nerve-wracking than ever with the continuous stream of contamination, recalls, food-borne illness in the news. This explainer course reviews food risks and provides best practices for cutting down on hazardous material in our foods. If you consider yourself something of a germaphobe, you will likely find this class both terrifying and incredibly informative.
The Science of Weight Loss: Dispelling Diet Myths
The University of Newcastle
Dieting can be discouraging, as well as difficult to understand, after you or someone you love has tried every fad on the market with less than stellar results. This course dives deep into understanding the science behind realistic lifestyle practices that lead to sustainable fat-shedding, such as exercise tracking and calorie counting. Lectures aim to help students understand key weight management concepts that help produce significant and lasting results. You will also get a dose of nutrition analysis of food composition and fundamentals of practicing portion control.
Nutrition and Health: Human Microbiome (Starting in January 2018)
The human microbiome is made up of bacteria, fungus, and viruses floating around in our guts. By understanding this makeup, students will be on their way to better digestive health and preventative practices to deter common gut diseases. Students enrolled in this class will also comprehend how life changes, aging, and genes collectively affect how the microbiome operates.
If you are interested in any of these courses, or other course offerings, you can use a personal email to register at EdX.org or you can login with Facebook, Google, or Microsoft accounts to sign up instantly.