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A. Guadix, M.C. Almecija, R. Maldonado, E. Guadix

University of Granada (SPAIN)
In the field of food engineering, the learning of many subjects is tremendously enhanced when the students can observe a wide variety of equipments working in an actual food processing plant. This experience allows the students to establish bidirectional links between theoretical and practical knowledge. At the same time, conceptual aspects, which are commonly reduced to complex expressions in textbooks, are assigned an order of magnitude in the student's mind. However, the travelling of students and teachers from campus to the location of a food industry involves some issues which have to be taken into account especially in the case of a large number of students per course. These issues refer mainly to high cost of transportation, safety concerns when secondary roads are to be followed and lack of efficiency for a low ratio of net time spent in the plant between total time employed in the trip. Video technology arises as an alternative which overcomes some of those drawbacks. Probably, nothing can replace the visit to a real plant, but videos with excellent image and sound quality can be produced with inexpensive digital cameras as are today available.
In this work, these ideas were materialized for the course "Unit Operations in the Food Industry" included in the degree of "Food Science and Technology" at the University of Granada. Videos were recorded at the "Centro Nacional Tecnológico de la Conserva", located at Molina de Segura (Murcia), which is 280 km away from campus. This research and development centre hosts a full range of state of the art food processing equipment and high skilled personnel, which allowed the recording of videos with a promising teaching potential. Then, a YouTube channel was created and videos were uploaded, which makes possible the use of all the features of the popular web service. Thanks to YouTube, videos including interesting descriptions of classic unit operations can be watched by students at any time. Furthermore, interesting feedback from students, which can be employed for evaluation purposes, can be obtained by teachers via comments and 1-5 star marking.