Although the unprecedented events of 2020 led to a steep rise in online learning, the trajectory of modern education has been heading in that direction for some time. This mode of education has numerous benefits, but there are a few setbacks as well. Sports nutrition courses are no exception.
In a class like this, students examine the evidence-based nutritional needs of several types of physical activity. By reviewing body composition, learning about energy balance, evaluating nutritional claims and products, and studying the roles of various nutrients, students will ultimately be able to develop a working knowledge of sports nutrition that can then be applied to their personal lives and any future work in the field.
With the right tools, all of this can be accomplished through a digital format. If you want to make the most of your sports nutrition online courses, maximize student success, and gain more confidence in your teaching style, check out the following tips and tricks.
1. Standardize Your Sports Nutrition Curriculum
One of the foremost benefits of online education is increased accessibility. With more and more higher education programs going virtual, eager individuals from around the globe can now receive a high-quality education. Institutions can cast a much wider net than ever before. Even if they opt out of online learning, students in the health science field can now travel around to earn their credentials as opposed to staying in one culture and locale.
That said, this new borderless era of education requires a novel way of doing things. Largely, it requires standardization. In a globalized field such as sports nutrition, health education institutions must work to ensure they have set standards in place. As mentioned in our article “5 Trends Influencing Health Science Education Today,” a standardized curriculum for sports nutrition courses will likely involve:
- An invariable set of competencies
- A portfolio-like environment for learning
- A set vocabulary
- An increasing departure from prioritizing assessments in student evaluation
2. Make Your Course Materials Mobile-Friendly
In your sports nutrition curriculum development, it is important to keep in mind that not all students will be accessing the material on a desktop computer. There is now an array of technology catering to online education, including:
Any device that allows access to the internet is fair game for online learning, and tech-savvy younger generations will use any and all of them.
However, there is another — arguably more important — reason to ensure your sports nutrition course materials are available on multiple platforms. As it happens, the recent surge in remote learning unfortunately allows disenfranchised individuals to fall through the cracks.
Access to a computer should not be a barrier to receiving quality health science education. Ensuring your materials are mobile-friendly means that even if your students have only a phone to work with, they can still participate in your sports and fitness nutrition course.
3. Teach in Several Modalities
No two students are the same. A teaching style that works well for one student might not do the trick for another. Therefore, to reach optimum retention, students must be taught in more than one modality. When developing your curriculum and teaching your sports nutrition online course, be sure to include a mix of modalities, such as:
Why is this important? Research shows that there are four main learning modalities:
In an average classroom, statistics show that while 25% to 30% of students are visual learners, 15% are tactile learners, 25% to 30% are auditory learners, and the other 25% to 30% are a mix of two or more modalities.
Ideally, your sports nutrition course will include material that caters to each of these subsets so that every student can thrive. By incorporating self-test quizzes, multimedia lectures, digital flash cards, timed exams, and more, our sports nutrition course offering does just this.
4. Utilize Flash Cards
Although they may seem somewhat antiquated, flash cards have stayed on the education scene for so long for a reason: They are tried and true learning tools. If you’re not already familiar with them, flash cards are small note cards with a prompt on one side and the related information on the other. They are primarily used for test preparation, as they improve memory through information retrieval.
As the University of Southern Maine aptly notes, this approach aids learning on multiple levels. For example, even the process of making flash cards allows students to sift through, categorize, and begin memorizing prudent information.
You may be asking: What does this have to do with the instructor? As the teacher of a sports science and nutrition course, your goal is likely to have the most students as possible walk away with increased knowledge of the subject at hand. If you can help your students better retain knowledge and find success, why wouldn’t you?
Luckily, at Caduceus, we offer printable, mobile-friendly flash cards that you can have at the ready to disseminate to your students before big exams. They will certainly thank you for it.
5. Switch Up the Roles
The format of one instructor talking at multiple students can get old, so why not shake things up a bit? Try breaking the students up into groups and assigning each group a specific topic related to your sports nutrition course. Each week, one group will have the chance to teach what they have discovered about their topic to their peers.
This format not only fosters teamwork, but it also provides a different way of learning. The pressure to master a topic to the extent that you can adequately synthesize it into a lesson plan and explain it to others can be an excellent way for students to learn.
This teaching style has a name: peer-to-peer teaching. In an article published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, educator Jessica Lander puts the importance of this model into words: “The opportunity to teach your peers sends a powerful message,” she writes. “It says to students, ‘You have knowledge worth sharing, you have a teacher’s trust, and you have an opportunity to support your friend’s learning.’ ”
In addition to entrusting students with critical information, peer-to-peer teaching gives them the chance to integrate their personal findings into the course. In teaching fellow students, they may choose to include how their own history with sports and nutrition relates to the material.
6. Customize Your Course Materials
Working with an online course materials vendor like Caduceus allows institutions and instructors to truly fine-tune their curriculum. If you could pick and choose only the content and resources that work well for your sports nutrition courses and maximize student learning, why wouldn’t you?
Although you can’t meet the precise needs of every single student in your virtual classroom, customizable curricula allow you to get pretty close. With plenty of materials, resources, and assessments to choose from, you can personalize your course in a variety of ways. There are different levels of interaction and formats for every learning modality.
At Caduceus, we’ll help you customize online courses for different learning styles. We may be experts in the field of health science, but you know your students better than anyone.
7. Stay Focused on the Important Things
For many teachers, the immense workload and myriad responsibilities can quickly lead to burnout. It’s important to figure out which tasks you can delegate to others in order to free up time for those you want to prioritize.
One simple solution to this conundrum is to turn over your proctoring duties to someone else. Of course, it is of utmost importance for students to be monitored during exams — but you may want to consider letting someone else do the monitoring for you.
In an online setting, proctoring sometimes requires more attention as well as a higher level of technological skill than would be necessary in a physical classroom setting. To take the burden off instructors, we offer a digital proctoring service. By directly incorporating our proctoring solution with our learning management system, we make ensuring the integrity of your course as easy as can be.
Moreover, because Caduceus proctoring is a managed service, you don’t even have to worry about scheduling sessions with or for students or responding to any incident reports that may arise. This service can cut down your workload and free up your precious time and energy. Spend less time executing tasks that you can easily delegate and more time doing what you do best: connecting with and teaching students.
By integrating the above tips and tricks into your teaching approach, you can help meet ever-evolving student demands and ensure successful completion of your sports nutrition online course.
With an online course materials vendor like Caduceus backing you up, you’ll have the tools and support to change the way sports nutrition is taught at your institution for the better. Get started today with a 30-day free trial.