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Course Support

OL 101: My Course Help offers Quick Start Guides, an FAQ, and other information to help you navigate this site.

For quick resolution to technical or administrative issues, please Contact Our Support Staff rather than your instructor.

Skip Required Textbooks

Required Textbooks

  1. Janice L. Thompson, Melinda M. Manore, and Linda A. Vaughan, The Science of Nutrition, 3rd ed. (San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2013).
    ISBN-10: 0321832000

This course preview outlines the details of this online course. For more information on taking this course, please send an e-mail message to our support staff at UW offices are closed on these holidays.

Course Introduction / Syllabus

Course Objectives | Online Environment | Required Materials | Course Elements/Course Progression | Assignments/Coursework | Grades | Tips for Success | Planning Your Schedule

Welcome to Nutrition for Today!

Your Instructor for this Course: Nicole Flateboe,

We are all mindful of food at some level. We buy and consume it daily; it gives us energy; we are told that much of it is good for us; it can entertain and delight us. Despite the key role food plays in our lives, few people know how food behaves in our body—how it affects our longevity, productivity, and quality of life. Without an understanding of nutritional science, it is difficult to interpret the evolving nutritional claims and recommendations made by a wide range of sources every day (the media, food producers, untrained people claiming to be experts, and others). Ideally, we would all make informed and realistic food choices: ones we can live with and that will help us live.

This course is designed to help you develop a foundation in human nutrition and to apply these principles to your daily life. As you read through the textbook and review the lecture presentations/slides, you are encouraged to explore your own interests in nutrition. Some of the topics will relate to you directly and personally; others may remind you of family members or acquaintances. If you pursue further study or work in the health professions, this course will provide you with a background on which to build.

Read on to find out more about what you can expect to learn in this course, the resources at your disposal, and the work you will do along the way.

Course Objectives

After successfully completing this course you will be able to

  • Describe and categorize the functions of macronutrients and micronutrients, and identify sources of each
  • Describe diet and lifestyle factors associated with the risk of various chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis
  • Compare dietary needs for different stages of life
  • Translate nutrition science concepts into specific and easy-to-understand dietary recommendations
  • Evaluate the scientific relevancy of nutrition messages available on the Internet and other media
  • Examine factors that influence our food choices as individuals and as a society
  • Apply your knowledge of nutrition, dietary guidelines, and the relationship between diet and health as you assess your own diet and diet-related health risks

About the Online Environment

Nutrition for Today (NUTR 300) is a Web-based distance learning course. Because you are not required to attend in-person lectures every week, this online class assigns more homework than the traditional face-to-face version of NUTR 300. Online courses take more self-discipline—especially when there are 20 lessons, each with its own assignment. If you decided to take Nutrition for Today online because you want less responsibility, then this is NOT the class for you. If you decided to take this online course because you want to learn a lot about nutrition and how it applies to your daily life, then this IS the class for you! (Like anything in life, the more effort you put into something, the more you get out of it.)

This handbook answers questions about your online learning course, such as how to purchase your textbook, obtain a transcript, withdraw from a class, and get technical help if you need it. The handbook also provides additional resources, such as how to order books or journals from the library and how to study for an online course.

Communicating with Your Instructor and Student Peers

You can e-mail questions and comments to your instructor or you can post questions on the General Discussion Forum. Posting on the General Discussion Forum is preferred because odds are, if you have a question for the instructor, someone else in the class may have the same question (or they may even have an answer). Online forums also allow you to communicate with other currently enrolled students. You are encouraged you to use the General Discussion Forum to exchange ideas, share resources or engage in conversations about topical issues. Your instructor will monitor the Forum and may also use it to post notices and supplemental material. It is a good idea to check postings regularly to be sure you are kept informed.

Important announcements from your instructor will be posted on the Latest News and Important Announcements forum. Since all students are automatically subscribed to this forum, you will also be receiving those messages via e-mail. You are responsible for any instructions posted under Latest News and Important Announcements and for keeping your e-mail address updated in Moodle.

Computer Requirements and Technical Support

  • You should have the most current version of your Web browser software (see your Online Student Handbook for details).
  • Adobe Flash Player version 10 or higher is required to view the animations used in this course, as well as the lecture presentations. If you do not yet have Flash Player installed on your computer, you can download it for free from Adobe's Website
  • Microsoft Word or any other word processing software that enables you to save files as MS Word (.doc or .docx) files.
  • If you have any issues with logging onto the class web site, viewing content (lecture presentations), or have technical issues with submitting assignments, Contact Our Support Staff.

UW Library Services

As an online student, you have access to a wealth of Web resources compiled by the University of Washington to provide fast, easy access to information that supports your online learning experience. Organized by subjects, UW Library Services links you to sites with help for writing and research, study skills, language learning, and electronic library reference materials. All links have been assessed for credibility and reliability, and they are regularly monitored to ensure their usability.

Required Materials

Textbook (required)

The textbook for this course is: The Science of Nutrition, 3rd ed. by Janice L. Thompson, Melinda M. Manore, and Linda A. Vaughan (San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings, 2013). ISBN: 0321832000

Available at the UW Bookstore or online at . An E-textbook can also be purchased but please note that it may not be available in some countries outside the U.S. (like Russia, for example).

The textbook is used as a supplement to the lecture presentations and also serves as a comprehensive reference for basic nutrition science concepts. In addition, some of the videos and animations on the textbook companion site are suggested viewing for the course (see below).

Diet Analysis Software (required)

This software is required to complete your project. You should purchase the MyDietAnalysis Student Access Code Card bundled with the textbook. It is available as a package (Package ISBN-13: 9780321901835)from the Pearson (textbook publisher) web site. Be sure to purchase the online access code and NOT the CD-Rom. If you purchased the textbook elsewhere, you can buy the access to the MyDietAnalysis web site separately for $16.00.

Textbook Web Site

The publisher of your textbook (Pearson) has a Textbook Companion Website with supplementary resources such as instructional animations, videos, Web links, practice quizzes and flash cards. An access code--which is found on the inside cover of the textbook--is required to view these resources. (Note that it is different from the MyDietAnalysis registration code.) Links to suggested animations and videos are provided under each Lesson.

Course Elements/Course Progression

There are 20 lessons in this course. The lessons should be completed in the order they are presented. Each lesson contains:

  • Learning objectives:
    • Pay close attention to the learning objectives listed in the lesson outlines. Assignment and project questions are based directly on these objectives. You may want to write out explanations and notes about each objective as part of your studying.
  • Lecture presentations (with slides and audio) with accompanying handouts
    • You are responsible for the information presented in the lectures. Most (95%) of the answers to assignment and project questions can be found in the lectures. The lecture presentations are the primary resource for this course.
    • The slide handouts are provided for your convenience, in case you want to take notes on them while viewing/listening to the lecture presentations. The slides/handouts are NOT to be used a standalone reference. They are abbreviated notes. The details and explanations are in the audio-visual lecture presentations. (In my lectures, I even give hints on how to complete assignment questions.) If you were taking an in-person class, your attendance at lectures would be expected. Therefore, it is expected that you view/listen to the lecture presentations.
    • Note: Ignore any references to exams made in lecture presentations. This course no longer has exams. (Aren't you glad?!)
  • Textbook readings
    • Corresponding pages from the textbook reinforce the material presented in the lectures. Use the learning objectives listed in the lesson outlines as your reading guide.
  • Videos or animations (as applicable)
    • These are included to help bring some of the information from the textbook to life and to help further your understanding of nutrition concepts. Some of these are used for the lesson assignments so make sure you have access to a computer that can stream videos and play Adobe Flash (SWF) files.
  • A graded assignment worth 10 points
    • These assignments are your opportunity to immediately apply some of the key concepts from each lesson.
  • Assigned questions and activities for the Diet Analysis Project
    • The Diet Analysis Project is an ongoing project that lasts throughout the quarter.
  • Links to additional resources
    • More Web links can be found on the Textbook Companion Website under the "Read It" section for each chapter.

Lesson Topics

  • Lesson 1: Studying Nutrition
  • Lesson 2: Digestion, Absorption and Transport
  • Lesson 3: Carbohydrates (includes Diabetes)
  • Lesson 4: Lipids (includes Nutrition and Heart Disease)
  • Lesson 5: Proteins
  • Lesson 6: Energy Metabolism
  • Lesson 7: Alcohol
  • Lesson 8: Vitamins Involved in Energy Metabolism
  • Lesson 9: Nutrients Involved in Growth & Development
  • Lesson 10: Nutrients Involved in Blood Health
  • Lesson 11: Nutrients Involved in Bone Health
  • Lesson 12: Fluids and Electrolytes
  • Lesson 13: Nutrients Involved in Antioxidant Function (includes Nutrition and Cancer)
  • Lesson 14: Planning a Healthy Diet
  • Lesson 15: Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight (includes Disordered Eating)
  • Lesson 16: Physical Activity
  • Lesson 17: Life Cycle Nutrition: Pregnancy, Lactation and Infancy
  • Lesson 18: Life Cycle Nutrition: Childhood and Adolescence
  • Lesson 19: Nutrition and Aging
  • Lesson 20: Food Safety and the Environment


Lesson Assignments

Each lesson will have an assignment that goes with it. It will either be a case study, a critical thinking assignment or a "Know your numbers" assignment which involves some basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).

The instructions for each assignment, along with their due dates, are detailed on the corresponding Web pages. Each assignment is worth 10 points each. Unless otherwise noted, you are expected to work independently on these assignments. However, you may ask/answer questions of your fellow classmates in the corresponding discussion forum for each assignment. Since you are asked to translate nutrition concepts "in your own words," no two assignments should be alike. Please review the UW Academic Honesty Policy. Detailed grading criteria are described in the Assignment Grading Rubric.

Lesson assignments are due every Monday by the end of the day, which means 11:55 PM (Pacific Time). If there is an official UW holiday on Monday, then assignments are due on Tuesday. Due to the intensive nature of this course, there are usually two assignments due every week. Late assignments will not be accepted. If you know you have a busy week (or two or three) coming up with work, other classes, travel, etc., you are welcome to submit your assignments early. If you have some unforeseen circumstances that prevent you from submitting an assignment before the due date, you are still welcome to complete it for the learning experience and feedback. However, the grade will remain a zero.

The two lesson assignments with the lowest grades will be dropped (not counted toward your grade). So, if you have to miss an assignment, the missed assignment (with a grade of zero) will be one of the two assignment grades that will be dropped.

Diet Analysis Project

The major project of the course is a record and assessment of your own diet. It is a three-part project that spans the duration of the course. A description of the project, including information on how to submit completed assignments, is provided under the Diet Analysis Project Overview on the main course Web page.

Food, Inc. Film Discussion

For this assignment, you will need to watch the documentary "Food, Inc." and then post insightful comments on four (out of nine) discussion topics presented in the film. This assignment is worth a total of 20 points. Assignment details are found under the Food, Inc. Discussion questions on the main course Web page. You can complete this assignment at any time during the quarter but it must completed no later than the posted due date.

Extra Credit

During the last few weeks of the course, extra credit can be earned by participating in any (or all) of three optional discussion forms. Up to 15 additional points can be added to your final grade (up to 5 points for each forum) by posting insightful responses (supported by examples and/or references) to the discussion questions.

Please note that while any student can post to the discussion forums, extra credit points are only awarded to students who have completed ALL coursework (diet analysis project, Food, Inc. Discussion and at least 18 lesson assignments).


Grades for each assignment, project section and discussion will be posted in the Moodle grade book throughout the quarter. Points for this course are tallied as shown in the Table 1 below:

Table 1 — Points for This Course

Course ComponentPoints
Lesson Assignments (20 assignments at 10 points each, lowest two grades are dropped) 180
Food, Inc. Discussion 20
Diet Analysis Project (Part 1 = 20 points, Part 2 = 80 points, Part 3 = 20 points) 120
Total Points 320

Your grade will be calculated based on the percentage of possible points you earned for this class. (Total points earned divided by 320 possible points). This percentage will be converted to a numerical grade according to the conversions shown in Table 2, below. Any extra-credit points earned will be added to your total points earned. This course is not graded on a curve.

Table 2 — Points-Grade Conversion

Grade% of Points Earned
4.0 93.0–100
3.9 92.0–92.9
3.8 91.0–91.9
3.7 90.0–90.9
3.6 89.0–89.9
3.5 88.0–88.9
3.4 87.5–87.9
3.3 87.0–87.4
3.2 86.0–86.9
3.1 85.0–85.9
3.0 84.0–84.9
2.9 83.0–83.9
2.8 82.0–82.9
2.7 81.0–81.9
2.6 80.0–80.9
2.5 79.0–79.9
2.4 78.0–78.9
2.3 77.0–77.9
2.2 75.0–76.9
2.1 74.0–74.9
2.0 71.0 - 73.9
1.9 70.0 - 70.9
1.8 69.0 - 69.9
1.7 68.0 - 68.9
1.6 67.0 - 67.9
1.5 65.0 - 66.9
1.4 62.5 - 65.9
1.3 60.0 - 62.4
1.2 57.5 - 59.9
1.1 55.0 - 57.4
1.0 52.5 - 54.9
0.9 50.0 - 52.4
0.8 47.5 - 49.9
0.7 45.0 - 47.4
0 Under 45%

Tips for Success

Below are my suggestions for maximizing your learning and enjoyment in this course.

  • Pay close attention to the learning objectives listed at the beginning of each lesson. Assignments and project questions are based on these objectives. You may want to write out explanations and notes about each objective as part of your studying.
  • Contact me if you have questions about the material in the textbook or lecture presentations/slides, the learning objectives, and/or other course content. I encourage you to post your questions on the General Forum or assignment discussion forums if possible. That way, you will receive my feedback, and possibly the feedback of your classmates.
  • Plan your time carefully. Read and review the materials, and ask questions. Use all available resources. Consult your textbook, the Additional Resources listed for each lesson, your instructor, and your classmates.

Planning Your Schedule

This course (similar to an in-person lecture course) is paced at two lessons/topics per week. A printable Course Schedule is available on the NUTR300 home page. Each lesson (including viewing the multimedia presentations, reading the textbook, and completing the assignment) is designed to take an average of approximately 3-4 hours. You should also plan to devote 1-2 hours per week for the Diet Analysis project. This is equivalent to the on-campus version of this course, which involves three hours of in-class time plus an estimated six hours of study time per week. Your actual study needs will depend on several factors, including your science background and your learning style. Remember, you can submit assignments as early as you want but late assignments are not accepted!

If you find yourself falling behind and missing many assignments, you may want to reconsider your enrollment in the course. Refer to the Online Student Handbook regarding Incompletes and Withdrawals and note that extensions cannot be granted to any student.

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