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Abstract Detail

Education & Outreach

Morin, Xenia K. [1].

Using A Freshman Composition Course to Introduce Students to the Future of Food.

“What do you know about genetically modified (GM) foods?” is a question I often ask my freshman students. Few know a lot about GM food and yet they show interest. To build upon this interest, and to introduce all students to food issues, I have developed a one-semester, first-year composition course, called “The Future of Food.” This course demonstrates that science faculty can use writing as a tool for active learning in the plant sciences. Developed under the auspices of the Princeton Writing Program, this course uses the pedagogy of writing as its focus—that is, writing as a form of argument, and not merely writing mechanics. Good writing, like good scientific inquires, is driven by questions and this course asks student to consider: “How will we feed our growing world population?” To answer this question, students focus on the debate surrounding GM food and the growing organic and local food movements. The first half of the semester uses specific lectures, documentaries, and case studies to facilitate student learning. Students learn the basic science behind GM crops and are introduced to religious, ethical, business, policy, and scientific and cultural issues. The second half of the course focuses on developing research skills driven by their own questions regarding food. Students are deliberately exposed to a broad, and often contradictory, set of opinions that require them to come to their own conclusion through their writing assignments. Guided by Gordon Harvey’s “Elements of the Academic Essay,” student essays are expected to present a clear and logically developed argument based on sources. All student essays begin as drafts, and are revised after discussion and commenting. The process of revision is emphasized in order for students to develop their own ideas and their writing skills. Overall, this course assists students in improving their awareness and execution of writing as well as improving their understanding of food and agricultural issues. It is hoped that by introducing freshman students to food and agricultural issues, more students will explore these topics in future courses.

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1 - Princeton University, Princeton Writing Program, 91 Prospect Ave, Princeton, NJ, 08540, USA

none specified

Presentation Type: Plant Biology Abstract
Session: P
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: P46008
Abstract ID:517

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