IMPROVING SKILLS ACQUISITION IN CULINARY TECHNOLOGY
Culinary technology is a subject of the Human Nutrition Degree offered by the University of Granada (Spain). The specific skills in tended to be acquired through the study of such subject include both “the understanding of the basic processes in the production, processing and conservation of major foodstuffs” and “to learn cooking techniques in order to optimize the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of foods, with respect for traditional cuisine”. These skills the students should acquire are developed in 6 ECTS credits, spread over 4.5 theoretical credits and 1.5 practical ones. The usual teaching approach of this subject for the theoretical part is the description of the processes of food processing. Then, the exams used for determining whether students have acquired the target skills include an exam that comprises the repetition of theoretical concepts. In this sense, in the 2011-2012 academic year has begun a new innovative teaching experience regarding the development of the theoretical part. Such experience includes first the description of the cooking techniques employed and secondly the subsequent study from recipes, chosen by students, freely downloaded from the internet. Thus, in order to evaluate the skills acquisition an applied test has been used. Such exam included the description of the processes occurred during food processing and the proposal of improvements or modifications in order to adapt this recipe to a specific population group. This new approach has been implemented in group of 36 students (experimental group), while it has been used as a control group 57 students who received the traditional instruction. After analyzing the results obtained by the students in their exams, it has been found that the control students have scored significantly lower (p <0.05) than those students who participated in the experimental group. Likewise, after a student satisfaction survey, the experimental group showed greater satisfaction with the teaching received, indicating that other subjects from the Human Nutrition Degree should implement such new approach.