Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2018 - 2019 Y N
Course Code BIOL3217
Date2019/05/26 03:10
Enquiry for Course Details
BIOL3217 Food, environment and health (6 credits) Academic Year 2018
Offering Department Biological Sciences Quota 50
Course Co-ordinator Dr T. Sobko, Biological Sciences < tsobko@hku.hk >
Teachers Involved (Dr T Sobko,School of Biological Sciences)
Course Objectives A cross-disciplinary exploration of the environmental, socio-economic, public health and personal nutrition contexts of food systems. To focus on how our food choices influence the environment and how the environment impacts our diet. To examine the interactions among environment (e.g. pollution, soil and water quality, climate change), food resources (growth, production, consumption, processing, distribution and disposal) and health.
Course Contents & Topics The environment, human well-being and the functioning of society are highly influenced by food production and consumption. Are we destroying the environment as we struggle to feed growing populations? Is the environment becoming increasingly toxic for our health? The course will consist of three blocks: 1) The influence of food consumption on the environment; 2) The impact of environment on food and human health, and 3) What actions can improve these interactions, through evidence-based case examples. A Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach will be used with emphasis on 'real-life' cases connecting human nutrition, well-being and environmental health. Topics will include impacts of certain dietary habits and demands on food systems (e.g. demand for cheap sources of calories, rise of meat consumption, demand for year-round luxury foods) and the depletion of soil and increased fertilizers' use. We will consider how toxins, known as xenobiotics, affect human health and how sensory decisions are influenced by the environment. The holistic approach used will help the students to navigate complex environmental and food-related decisions and expressions, both public and private. Students will learn to critically evaluate the sociocultural, socio-behavioural, ethical and economic aspects of food and environment and understand the importance of biologically sustainable food production and high quality food being a just model for a healthy individual, environment and overall society.
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 To understand multifactorial and interdisciplinary relations in sustainable environment and nutrition
CLO 2 To address today¡¦s national and global challenges in the environmental and food sectors
CLO 3 To understand historical and current aspects (agricultural production, policy initiatives) locally, in Asia and worldwide
CLO 4 To address and analyze food/environment issues including food production, consumption, and the fulfilment of the right to adequate food; strengths and weaknesses of political, social, and economic policies and other interventions
CLO 5 To demonstrate skills to become effective environmental educators to communicate the issues of food and environment to a variety of audiences and to apply theoretical knowledge while designing an applicable intervention in public setting
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
Pass in BIOL 2101 or ENVS2001 or ENVS2002 or BIOL3201
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2018 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2018 Minor in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Minor in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Minor in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Minor in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Major in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Minor in Food & Nutritional Science ( Disciplinary Elective )
Course to PLO Mapping 2018 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 2,3,4,5,6 >
2017 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 2,3,4,5,6 >
2016 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 2,3,4,5,6 >
2015 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 2,3,4,5,6 >
2014 Major in Food & Nutritional Science < PLO 2,3,4,5,6 >
Offer in 2018 - 2019 Y        2nd sem    Examination No Exam     
Offer in 2019 - 2020 Y
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough grasp of the subject matter covered. Show strong analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking, with evidence of creative ability and competence in professional-level problem solving. Critically use quality management skills and techniques and analysis of data and results to draw appropriate and insightful conclusions to real-world problems. Demonstrate highly effective team-based organizational and presentational skills.
B Demonstrate substantial grasp of the subject matter covered. Show evidence of analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking with some evidence of competence in professional-level problem solving. Use quality management skills and techniques and analysis of data and results to draw generally appropriate conclusions to real-world problems. Demonstrate effective team-based organizational and presentational skills
C Demonstrate general but incomplete grasp of the subject matter covered. Show some evidence of analytical and critical abilities and logical thinking with limited competence in professional-level problem solving. Use quality management skills and techniques and analysis of data and results to draw moderately appropriate but sometimes erroneous conclusions to real-world problems. Demonstrate moderately effective team-based organizational and presentational skills.
D Demonstrate partial but limited grasp, with retention of some relevant information, of the subject matter covered. Show some evidence of coherent and logical thinking, but lacking competence in professional-level problem solving. Use quality management skills and techniques and analysis of data and results to draw sometimes appropriate but often erroneous conclusions to real-world problems. Demonstrate team-based organizational and presentational skills of limited effectiveness.
Fail Demonstrate little or no grasp, with retention of little relevant information, of the subject matter covered. Show lack of coherent and logical thinking, and minimal competence in professional-level problem solving. Use quality management skills and techniques and analysis of data and results ineffectively, leading generally to inappropriate and usually erroneous conclusions to real-world problems. Demonstrate ineffectiveness team-based organizational and presentational skills.
Course Type Lecture-based course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Lectures with practicals 36
Project work 20
Tutorials 12
Reading / Self study 50
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments Tutorial assessment (40%); Group project and presentation (50%) and Critical review (10%) 100 CLO 1,2,3,4,5
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
There is no course textbook. Most of the reading material will be provided on Moodle or distributed during lectures.
Course Website http://moodle.hku.hk
Additional Course Information
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