NuFS 139-10 Fall 2021 Syllabus
Hunger & Environmental Nutrition


Ashlee Gossard, MS, RDN

Virtual Office Hours: Every week on Wed 12-1pm, until Dec 8, 2021
         Zoom Meeting ID: 889 5279 2748
         Password: 139
See Canvas for direct links to virtual office hours

Prerequisites: Passage of the Writing Skills Test (WST) or ENGL/LLD 100A with a C or better (C- not accepted), completion of Core GE and upper division standing. Completion of or co-registration in 100W, Writing Workshop is strongly recommended.

GE/SJSU Studies Category: Area R, Earth and Environment

Syllabus Links
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19th at 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Format: Asynchronous (no set meeting time, content & assignments due each week)

This course is completely online and you’ll be able “go to class” when you want each week.  However, it is not self-paced: Each week of class will have its own Module in Canvas, and there will be required weekly discussions, assignments and/or quizzes due by the end of each week. 

All course materials, such as the syllabus, lecture slides and recorded lectures, readings, required video links, assignments, and exams will be accessible through Canvas, the Learning Management System, which is accessed through the Spartan App Portal at Use your SJSUOne username (SJSU 9-digit ID) and password to log into the portal. You are responsible for regularly checking Canvas to learn of any updates.

Course Description

Physiology of hunger and malnutrition on human development and health; political, social, cultural, and gender factors that contribute to world hunger; scientific/ technological foundation to population research and food production and their effect on the environment.

Learning Outcomes and Course Goals

GE Learning Outcomes (GELO)

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. GELO 1: Demonstrate an understanding of the methods and limits of scientific investigation
  2. GELO 2: Distinguish science from pseudo-science
  3. GELO 3: Apply a scientific approach to answer questions about the earth and environment

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. CLO 1: Describe the physiological effects of malnutrition throughout the lifespan (GELO 1)
  2. CLO 2: Describe basic biogeochemical and nutrient cycles that are the foundation of food production (GELO 1)
  3. CLO 3: Describe the ecological approach to population research and the environment (GELO 1, 3)
  4. CLO 4: Describe the state of the world’s environment and its relationship to population growth and food systems (GELO 3)
  5. CLO 5: Describe scientific and technical advances that have increased the world food supply (GELO 3)
  6. CLO 6: Relate political/social/cultural/gender factors that affect the incidence of malnutrition (GELO 1)
  7. CLO 7: Describe scientific methodology and research design, plus their limitation, used by nutrition, population, and environmental and food scientists (GELO 1, 3)
  8. CLO 8: Apply a scientific approach to critically evaluate primary research articles and identify the limitations of scientific investigation in studies involving the environment, food systems, and/or the physiology of malnutrition (GELO 1, 2, 3)
  9. CLO 9: Critically evaluate the credibility of current information on population, environment, food systems and malnutrition using the scientific thought process (GELO 1, 2, 3)
  10. CLO 10: Apply and improve upon the basic skills of reading, writing, mathematics, speaking, critical thinking and scientific research learned in Core GE courses (GELO 1, 2, 3)


No textbook is required for class. All required readings, videos, weekly presentations, and Zoom recordings are posted in your weekly Canvas modules.

Course Requirements and Assignments

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of 45 hours over the length of the course (approx. three hours per unit per week = up to 9 hours per week for a 3-unit course) for instruction, preparation/studying, or course related activities, including but not limited to assignments, Service Learning, Online Discussions, and general studying. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Note: Always refer to the specific assignment instructions for complete details, due dates, and grading rubrics. Individual assignment instructions can be found on Canvas.

Evaluation Criteria for Written Assignments:

Some course activities, such as your weekly submissions, discussions, viewing guides, and/or worksheets, are focused primarily on processing and/or expanding upon lecture content.  These activities may be submitted either by replying via text box within the assignment link itself or be uploaded as a separate document.  While proper English and grammar are expected for these assignments, your writing quality will not be directly evaluated on these assignments.

All other major written assignments that are required to be uploaded as distinct documents must be typed and double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12-point font with a 1-inch margin on all sides.  These assignments include GELO1, GELO2, GELO3 Written Assignment (not GELO3 worksheet), and the Service-Learning Alternative written report. All these written assignments will be graded for content, spelling, grammar, word usage, logic, presentation, and adherence to assignment instruction.  Please proofread and read out loud all assignments before submission.  It’s amazing what you might find. 

Your final grade on these written assignments will be a percentage of your earned points (based on the content/quality of your answers) modified for spelling and grammar mistakes at the instructor’s discretion using the following subjective rubric:

No deduction = ACCEPTABLE: few if any spelling/grammar errors, writing flows smoothly, content is easily understood, any errors present do not distract from writer’s message

-10% deduction = MODERATE, writing needs some improvement: several spelling/grammar errors, writing is somewhat disjointed but content is generally understood, errors present do not ultimately distract from writer’s message

-20% deduction = SEVERE, writing needs substantial improvement: numerous spelling/grammar errors, writing is very disjointed or confusing, errors present make it difficult or impossible for reader to understand writer’s message.  Students receiving these ratings on any written assignment are strongly encouraged to visit the SJSU Writing Center for assistance.

Whenever possible, assignments including a written evaluation will be identified with an asterisk (*) to identify to students that writing quality will affect the final score. 

This course has 600 points available, distributed as follows:

Three GE Learning Outcomes (GELO)*: (90 points total) – WRITING EVALUATED

The three GELOs are standardized written assignments required in all sections of NuFS 139.  You will have approximately two weeks to complete each of these three assignments (the week in which they are assigned, plus one additional week to submit).  These are short answer essay questions from research papers, videos, and other content; GELO3 also contains a companion worksheet (“GELO3 Worksheet) which will be required to help you prepare for the GELO3 Written Assignment.

GELO 1*: Demonstrate an understanding of the methods and limits of scientific investigation. (25 points)

GELO 2*: Distinguish science from pseudo-science. (25 points)

GELO 3*: Apply a scientific approach to answer questions about the earth and environment. (25 points)

         Plus GELO 3 Worksheet: Interpreting Population Pyramids(15 points)

Service Learning Project Alternative*: (100 points) – WRITING EVALUATED

In the past, the primary objective of this assignment was to involve students in a community-based activity that relates to the hunger and environmental issues discussed in class.  Service Learning helped students make real the issues that involve our community and apply scientific knowledge to understand physiological effects of hunger on malnutrition and health.  BUT…because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, all service learning will be a written Alternative Service Learning Project.

Please look under the Service Learning Project module in Canvas for details on this project.

My Nutrition Assessment: (25 points)

A one-time snapshot of how a typical meal you eat meets your daily nutritional needs.  In worksheet format, you will be guided through calculating your resting metabolic rate and adjusting for physical activity levels.  Then, you will document the calories and macronutrient content of all the foods/beverages of a single meal and compare this data to your own nutrient needs.

Current Events Review: (15 points)

Each student will research, summarize and submit 3 news articles describing current events related to course content.  Presentations will be distributed throughout the term; students will select a submission/presentation date during the first week of class.

Weekly Submissions: (14 assigned @ 10 pts each, best 12 scores kept = 120 points total)

The format of the weekly submissions will vary and detailed instructions will be provided for each weekly assignment as it is posted.  Submissions may consist of completing and uploading viewing guides from an assigned video(s), summary and response to assigned readings, discussions and comments upon other students’ posts, structured worksheets, question-and-answer responses, and/or mini-research projects requiring a brief recorded slide presentation, etc.

Weekly Content Quizzes (12 assigned @ 5 pts each, best 10 scores kept = 50 points total)

Each quiz will cover the specific Module’s material and will be multiple choice on Canvas.  The purpose of these quizzes is check your understanding of the most important material from the module and to keep you on track with the content throughout the semester. 

Each quiz will be available when the module opens up at 6:00 a.m. on Monday and will close by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday evening.

You will be able to take each quiz up to three times during the week in which it is assigned, and your highest grade will be kept.  At the end of the semester, only your 10 highest quiz grades will apply toward your final grade.

Correct answers will be made available beginning the following week, and will remain available for review until 5 days prior to the midterm/final exam.

This is an “easy” 50 pts for the course.  Please take advantage of it.

Two Exams: Midterm and Final: (100 points each, 200 points total)

You will receive questions based on all presentations, videos, discussions, and readings.  The exam are open-note, but if you are not prepared or familiar with the content your notes alone will not be adequate to pass the exam.  The Midterm will be on content from the first half of the semester; the Final will be on content from the second half of the semester and is therefore non-cumulative. You will have 90 minutes to take each exam.  Study guides will be provided in each exam’s module approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the scheduled exam date.

Submission policy

All Assignments must be turned in to Canvas by the Due Date and time to receive credit. Unless otherwise noted, due dates are always by Sunday at 11:59 p.m., but you can always turn in earlier in the week. Weekly submissions and weekly content quizzes are due the same week as they are assigned; other assignments will have varying due dates.  Please see the course calendar for more information.

Late Work

All assignments must be turned in to Canvas by the due date and time. NO LATE ASSIGNMENTS ARE ACCEPTED without instructor approval prior to the due date. Points for pre-approved late assignments will be deducted at instructor’s discretion.

Extra Credit

Extra credit opportunities may be provided throughout the term at the instructor’s discretion, but you are strongly advised not to count on last-minute extra credit to bump up your grade.  Please keep on top of your assignments and course materials, and keep in touch with the instructor as needed to maintain a grade you find acceptable.

Grading Information

Basis for Course Grade





Analyze a Research Article (GELO 1)*


2, 7, 8, 10


Science vs. Pseudoscience (GELO 2)*


8, 910


Interpret Population Data (GELO 3)*


3, 4, 910


GELO3 Worksheet


3, 4, 910


My Nutrition Assessment


1, 7, 10


Current Events Review



2, 3

Content Quizzes (best 10 of 12)



1, 2, 3

Weekly Submissions (best 12 of 14)



1, 2, 3

Service Learning Alternative report*



1, 2, 3

Midterm Exam



1, 2, 3

Final Exam



1, 2, 3





Grading Information for Upper-Division GE Courses

“Passage of the Writing Skills Test (WST) or ENGL/LLD 100A with a C or better (C‐ not accepted), and completion of Core General Education are prerequisite to all SJSU Studies courses. Completion of, or co‐registration in, 100W is strongly recommended. A minimum aggregate GPA of 2.0 in GE Areas R, S, & V shall be required of all students.”

Online Classroom Protocol

As this is an advanced GE course, students are expected to be active learners and critical thinkers. Active learning, critical analysis, and oral and written communication are incorporated and introduced into the content through online presentations and discussions, online video talks, written critiques, and critical analysis assignments. Thought-provoking issues will be presented to you that will require critical thinking and analysis drawing from several related academic disciplines you have mastered in your Core GE courses. It is critical to your success in this course that you apply critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills to evaluate the scientific, political, cultural/societal and environmental concerns encountered during the semester.

Course Calendar and Tentative Assignment Schedule

Week # (Dates)

Content Topic(s)

Assignments Due (by 11:59pm Sun)


(8/19 – 8/22)

Intro to the Course

Weekly #0

Part 1:  Hunger, Normal Nutrition, & Malnutrition


(8/23 – 8/29)

(L1) Hunger in the U.S. and Abroad

Weekly #1

Quiz #1


(8/30 – 9/5)

(L2) Fundamentals of Normal Nutrition & Digestion

Weekly #2

Quiz #2

My Nutrition Assessment


(9/6 – 9/12)

(L3) Physical & Psychological Effects of Hunger & Malnutrition

Weekly #3

Quiz #3


(9/13 – 9/19)


(L4) Review of the Scientific Method; Science vs. Pseudoscience

Weekly #4

Quiz #4

Part 2:  Global Health & the Human Population Explosion


(9/20 – 9/26)

(L5) Global Health: Infant/Child/Women’s Health

Weekly #5

Quiz #5



(9/27 – 10/3)

(L6) Global Health: Infectious Diseases

Weekly #6

Quiz #6


(10/4 – 10/10)

(L7) Human Population Dynamics

– END of Midterm Exam Content –

Weekly #7

Quiz #7

GELO3 Worksheet

Part 3:  Food Production & the Environment


(10/11 – 10/17)

(L8) Foundations of Food Availability: Ecosystems & Nutrients

Weekly #8

Quiz #8

GELO3 Written Assignment*


(10/18 – 10/24)




(10/25 – 10/31)

(L10) Foundations of Food Availability: Food Systems

Weekly #10

Quiz #10


(11/1 – 11-7)

(L11) Climate Change & Food Production

Weekly #11

Quiz #11

Part 4:  Combating World Hunger and Malnutrition


(11/8 – 11/14)

(L12) Feeding the World: Sustainability & Technological Advances

Weekly #12

Quiz #12



(11/15 – 11/21)

(L13) Policies & Tools to Prevent Malnutrition

Weekly #13

Quiz #13

11/22 – 11/28




(11/29 – 12/5)

(L14) Sustainable Development, NGOs, & Solutions to World Hunger

Weekly #14

(No quiz this week)



Last Day of Instruction – No course material

Service Learning Alternative Report*

  1. Final Exams:  TBD
  2. Additional Notes:
    • Only 12 of 14 Weekly submissions 10 of 12 Quizzes are required
    • Schedule does NOT include Current Events Review due dates, which vary by student

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:

Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:

In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group; contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

Passage of the Writing Skills Test (WST) or ENGL/LLD 100A with a C or better (C- not accepted), completion of Core GE, and upper-division standing. Completion of or co-registration in 100W, Writing Workshop is strongly recommended.

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

94-100 A
90-93 A-
87-89 B+
84-86 B
80-83 B-
77-79 C+
74-76 C
70-73 C-
67-69 D+
64-66 D
60-63 D-
Below 60 F

In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work, these guidelines are applied to letter grades:

  • “C” represents Adequate work; a grade of “C” counts for credit for the course;
  • “B” represents Good work; a grade of “B” clearly meets the standards for graduate level work; Check with an advisor on cases where the grade is less than B (B- or lower); after the first attempt the student will typically be placed on administrative probation. He/She must repeat the class the following semester. If, on the second attempt, the student does not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B), he or she may be disqualified.
  • “A ” represents Exceptional work; a grade of “A” will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs’ Syllabus Information web page at:

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