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Monday, 6 July 2015

Michigan State University Announces its 5th and 6th Food Fraud MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

Michigan State University Announces its 5th and 6th Food Fraud MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)

by John Spink

In January 2013 Michigan State University created the Food Fraud Initiative to focus on this growing public health threat. The teaching, research, and outreach build upon MSU’s strong history of serving the food industry and business in general.

The Food Fraud Initiative
Our mission is to leverage Michigan State University’s broad leadership position to protect the global and domestic food supply from Food Fraud vulnerability. We are a collaboration point for a wide range of stakeholders including industry, domestic and international agencies, associations, and other academics. Aligned with the Land Grant mission of MSU, we apply research, education, and outreach from theory to practical application with those stakeholders. The research forms the base for the development of new educational programs, and is also applied to evolving outreach engagements. Feedback from those outreach engagements provides insight and direction for our research. One of those outreach engagements is the Food Fraud MOOC.

The MOOC is part of a continuum of courses and its content is aligned with other educational offerings, including our graduate course in Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection and the Graduate Certificate in Food Fraud Prevention.

What is a MOOC?
A MOOC is a massive open online course, a hot new development in open learning. MOOCs invite large-scale participation and are free to anyone in the world via the web. The aim of universities offering these courses is to expand their reach beyond just the classroom to potentially millions of new students.

The Food Fraud Overview MOOC is provided by MSU free to all interested parties across the supply chain and across the globe. The Overview MOOC is a two-session, 2-hour webinar accompanied by assessment quizzes. The MOOC consists of readings and interaction starting a week in advance of the first, 2-hour live lecture, which will take place at the end of the first week. The lecture will be recorded so participants can also watch it later. The second live online lecture will at the end of the second week. Each week concludes with an online quiz assessment. After successfully completing the second week’s assessment, participants will receive an MSU credential badge – this is a digital certificate of completion. The digital badge will link back to MSU to authenticate the certificate as well as to define the scale and scope of the course. Please click here to Register Now: www.foodfraud.msu.edu/mooc.
“The industry support for the Food Fraud MOOC has been phenomenal,” stated Dr. Spink. “Many of the world’s food safety and food protection thought leaders are involved in our research. We incorporate their insights into our research findings to provide a thorough and practical approach to Food Fraud Prevention.”

As more people become aware of the concept and the vulnerabilities of Food Fraud, they will also become more effective at not only intervention and response but also at prevention – the more participants in the MOOC, the safer our global food supply chain can be. The MOOC doesn’t just define the problem, it also focuses on prevention. This MOOC is positioned as a bridge between general webinars and more intensive programs such as the graduate course, graduate certificate, or even a Food Fraud focus in a Master’s degree.
Dr. Spink stated that “The MOOC platform has been an incredible and effective way for us to educate a wide range of participants. The open source concept is a focus for academia and our MOOC is a successful example of translating academic theory into practice. Through the Food Fraud MOOC we’re able help globally harmonize the terminology and the focus on prevention.”

The updated content for the next MOOC reflects that global focus. New content includes: 
•The UK Elliott Review on Food Fraud 
•The EU Referendum on Food Fraud 
•The GFSI’s incorporation of the Food Fraud concept into their Guidance Document (standards) 
•ISO Technical Committee 247 on Fraud Countermeasures and Controls clearly defining product fraud and the fraud opportunity 
•Insight on the most recent public statements from the US FDA regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Please join us in creating a public forum and expanding awareness of the Food Fraud vulnerability. By participating in the MOOC you demonstrate that this concept is vital to your organization. By forwarding this information to your colleagues around the world you help build harmonization of terms and the prevention focus. By engaging us as a research partner you will help advance the discipline of Food Fraud. JWS.

Contact: Dr. John Spink, Director & Assistant Professor, Food Fraud Initiative, Michigan State University, spinkj@msu.edu , www.FoodFraud.msu.edu , Phone: (517) 381-4491

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