No physical laboratory? No problem

An image of labster

Drawing on expert research from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Food Nutrition and Occupational Health team, the new Global Online MSc in Food Science and Innovation is set to push the boundaries of food and nutrition programmes in the UK.

With its sights set on enabling students to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues surrounding food product development, food safety and sustainability, it has been expertly designed to allow learners to develop a deep understanding of important scientific processes, armed only with a laptop and an internet connection.

Harnessing technology

We caught up with Dr Tristan Dew, MSc Food Science and Innovation Programme Lead, to find out more about how the course harnesses technology to teach students how to develop, produce and test food in practice.

“Over the course of the development of the new Global Online MSc in Food Science and Innovation, we have been particularly keen to ensure that online students are given the same opportunities as our on-campus students to learn the scientific principles of food science, but know that many of our Global Online students may be limited by their ability to access a physical laboratory in order to conduct experiments, gather data and draw conclusions in order to write reports”, he explains.

Study your way

“We have designed the practical course content in a way that’s exciting and engaging to combat these issues, creating a wide range of demonstration videos filmed in our state-of-the-art food technology, biochemistry and microbiology laboratories. As a Global Online student, you’ll be able to watch these videos at a pace that suits you via the Global Online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and then discuss them during live interactive tutorials with your peers across the world. Several assessments will require that you process and evaluate model data generated during these demonstrations to create technical reports and make recommendations for actions and improvement. These assessments, therefore, represent activities of food industry professionals, and help develop report writing skills essential to success in the technical arena.”

Introducing Labster

The MSc programme will also use Labster, an award-winning virtual laboratory that leading institutions across the globe have adopted, including Harvard University and the Royal Society of Biology. Students will be able to use Labster on demand, to experience simulations of experiments involving analytical chemistry and microbiology, including pasteurisation and sterilisation, HPLC and the Kjeldahl method.

Dr. Dew comments: “Labster have created an immersive 3D laboratory which uses gamification to give students a mission, allowing you to see the real-world relevance of the science you’re learning and giving experiments a sense of purpose and context. The software is a great way to discover the principles of some scientific methods, and get a sense of a ‘hands-on’ experience without entering a laboratory. It offers a brilliant alternative to traditional pre-sessional reading, allowing you to go at your own pace and check that you understand the theory correctly.”

Find out more

If you are interested in learning more about how Labster works in practice, you can experience an example HPLC Virtual Laboratory Simulation, or an example Pasteurisation and Sterilisation Simulation. For more information on the course, please visit the MSc Food Science and Innovation course page.