All course information is listed within this syllabus.

FDSC 403: Sensory Data Collection & Analysis (3 credits). Sensory Data Collection & Analysis is intended as a survey of standard methods widely used in the area of sensory and consumer science. Students are introduced to these methods and their appropriate execution in a laboratory or industrial setting. The course focuses on the application of these methods to understand product attributes and consumer responses, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis. Evaluation will be conducted via short quizzes and quantitative problems throughout the semester.

Prerequisite: STAT 250 or STAT 240 or STAT 200

Instructor

Instructor for FDSC 403

John E. Hayes
Professor of Food Science
Director, Sensory Evaluation Center

Department of Food Science
220 Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building
University Park, PA 16802

E-mail: Use Canvas Inbox

Course Overview

The field of Sensory and Consumer Science is primarily focused on responses of consumers to food products and non-food fast-moving consumer goods (e.g., shampoo). These responses may be sensory/perceptual (i.e., how sweet, how bitter, how smooth) or affective (i.e., liking/preference), with the assumption that the former generally drives the later. Numerous tools have been developed by sensory practitioners over the last 70 years, with additional influences from experimental psychology. The course also addresses contemporary research on pedagogy that indicates applied statistics are best taught in context to the field in which students will apply the statistical concepts. Here, students will gain practice applying introductory statistical topics (t-tests, Analysis of Variance, etc.) to sensory and consumer data collected from human participants.

Course Expectations

Please read the following closely so you can know what the expectations are for this class.

This class is fully asynchronous, meaning there are no assigned class times. However, some of the assignments require you to interact with other students, so the individual modules will be unlocked over time to keep all of you on roughly the same pace. The course has twelve modules total, so we will generally unlock a module each week, although you will have 2 weeks for a few modules. Also, we will unlock the first 2 modules immediately, so if you need to get a headstart on any given module, you will have some additional flexibility. Once open, all modules will stay open so you can go back and review prior content if you wish.

For an in-person class, we would use exercises like Think-Pair-Share to encourage active student-centered learning. While this clearly isn't possible asynchronously, we will use other approaches to intentionally build the same kind of active learning environment into this course. However, this is the first time this material is being taught this way, so we will explore these approaches together.

The course has assignments due almost every week, generally due Mondays at midnight eastern time. Between graded assignments, and the need to react to other student's work, you should plan to log into Canvas at least twice a week.

Although the course material is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I am not. I will try my best to answer all e-mail within 48 hours, and it will hopefully be closer to 24 hours during the week. However, I also believe strongly in protecting personal time for work-life balance (which is doubly hard with the pandemic) so if you e-mail me after 10 p.m. at night, or on a weekend, the response may be delayed until the morning, or Monday, in the case of weekends.

There are no scheduled office hours for the course, but I am happy to schedule a one-on-one appointment via Zoom.

The course is scored out of 500 points total. Of this, 30% is from cumulative module quizzes after Modules 4, 8, and 12. The remaining 70% comes from the assignments at the end of each module. Accordingly, the best way to succeed in this course is to start abreast of these assignments.

Course Objectives

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

  1. Describe the differences between major classes of sensory testing methods, and situations where each is appropriate.
  2. Design a complete sensory test to answer a given research question, including the data analysis plan.
  3. Select and apply appropriate statistical methods to sensory data, to draw conclusions and make recommendations about product characteristics.

Course Outline

Module 1: Synopsis of Sensory Evaluation

Module 2: Review of Statistical Concepts

Module 3: Psychophysics — Historical and Modern Perspectives

Module 4: Scaling Methods (Intensity)

Module 5: Psychological and Physiological Phenomena

Module 6: Sensory Neurobiology (Part 1: Taste and Smell)

Module 7: Sensory Neurobiology (Part 2: Chemesthesis, Astringency, and Texture)

Module 8: Discrimination — Testing for Difference and Similarity

Module 9: Signal Detection Theory & Thurstonian Models

Module 10: Temporal Methods (TI, TCATA, TDS)

Module 11: Survey of Descriptive Analysis (History, QDA, Spectrum, FCM)

Module 12: Affective and Hedonic Methods

Course Schedule

For due dates, refer to the Course Summary on the Syllabus page in Canvas.

Course Materials

Most World Campus courses require that students purchase materials (e.g., textbooks, specific software, etc.). To learn about how to order materials, please see the Course Materials page. You should check the World Campus Course Catalog approximately 3–4 weeks before the course begins for a list of required materials.

No required textbook. Required readings for individual modules will be posted within Canvas.

Optional

ISBN: 978-1441964878
Lawless, H. T., & Heymann, H. (2010). Sensory Evaluation of Food: Principles and Practices (2nd ed.). Springer.

This textbook, while optional, is strongly recommended. You can download a free PDF copy via SpringerLink.

You may purchase course materials from Barnes & Noble College (the bookstore used by Penn State's World Campus). For pricing and ordering information, please see the Barnes & Noble College website. Materials will be available at Barnes & Noble College approximately three weeks before the course begins. Alternatively, you may obtain these texts from other favorite bookstores. Be sure you purchase the edition/publication date listed.

Assignments

Your grade in this course consists of 2 parts:

  1. Post-module quizzes (3 separate quizzes, 30% of your total grade)
  2. Homework assignments — statistical analysis and interpretation of datasets and output (70%)

Final Exam

There is no final exam in this course.

Late Submission Policy

The instructor will not inform students of any missed work. Each module builds upon one another and the time frame of each one is planned to be one week.

Assignments can be submitted at any time during the week they are due but will not be accepted for credit after the date and time indicated. To ensure a reasonable turnaround time of approximately 1 week, you must submit on-time.

Grading Policy

Grading Criteria
Requirement Weight
Unit Quizzes 30%
Problem Sets 46%
Other Assignments 24%
TOTAL: 100%
Grading Scheme
Letter Grade Percentage
A 100% – 94%
A- < 94% – 90%
B+ < 90% – 87%
B < 87% – 84%
B- < 84% – 80%
C+ < 80% – 77%
C < 77% – 70%
D < 70% – 60%
F < 60%

Please refer to the University Grading Policy for Undergraduate Courses for additional information.

NOTE: If you are planning to graduate this semester, please communicate your intent to graduate to your instructor. This will alert your instructor to the need to submit your final grade in time to meet the published graduation deadlines. For more information about graduation policies and deadlines, please see "Graduation" under World Campus Student Resources.

Technical Requirements

This course is offered online and it assumed you possess the minimum system requirements and computing skills to participate effectively. A list of technical requirements is listed on the World Campus' Penn State Technical Requirements page.

Minimum Skills

  • You should have an understanding of basic computer usage (creating folders/directories, switching between programs, formatting and backing up media, accessing the Internet).
  • You must be able to conduct word processing tasks such as creating, editing, saving, and retrieving documents.
  • You must be able to use a web browser to open web pages, download files, and search the Internet.
  • You must be able to use an e-mail program to send and receive messages and to attach and download documents/files.
  • You must be able to download and install programs or plug-ins from the Internet.

Accessibility Information

  • Accessibility statement for Canvas.

Netiquette

The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and discussion postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of messages. Please review Virginia Shea's "The Core Rules of Netiquette" for general guidelines that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Support Services

As a World Campus student, you have access to a variety of services and resources, including advising, tutoring, library services, career services, and more. Please visit the World Campus Student Services page for more information.

If you experience technology problems of any kind in Canvas, please select the Help icon and select "Report a Canvas Problem," "Chat with Support," or "Call Support." It is in your own best interest to be as specific as you possibly can. Vague descriptions of a problem only delay assistance. Try to include information such as: the specific course page, quiz question, etc. you were on; what you attempted to do when that failed; the exact language of any error message displayed on your screen; the date and time when your problem occurred; and any other pertinent information (does the problem happen consistently and always in the same way, etc.).

Online Students Use of the Library

As Penn State World Campus students, you have access to many of the materials that the library offers to students. The library website has a lot to offer, but can be overwhelming. A guide has been created to serve as your introduction to important library resources, services, and important pages within the library. The Online Student Library Guide is updated regularly by the online librarian and is intended to provide a level of comfort through an introduction to help you feel comfortable navigating the library website to find valuable information for your coursework.

Penn State Policies

Log-In Policy

Students are expected to log-in regularly to keep up-to-date with announcements, discussions, etc. The class will progress at a regular pace throughout the semester and there are specific due dates and times for assignments, etc.

Course Availability

Your course will be available to you beginning the first day of class for each semester and will remain open for one year. After one year the course will close.

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Read the Academic Integrity Guidelines for the College of Agricultural Sciences

A lack of knowledge or understanding of the University's Academic Integrity policy and the types of actions it prohibits and/or requires does not excuse one from complying with the policy. Penn State and the College of Agricultural Sciences take violations of academic integrity very seriously. Faculty, alumni, staff and fellow students expect each student to uphold the University's standards of academic integrity both inside and outside of the classroom.

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Copyright Notice

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor's express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University's Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional well-being. The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings. These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients' cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): 814-863-0395
  • Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
  • Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741
  • Mental Health Services

Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus. For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources Web site.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus's disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Accommodations for Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.

Use of Trade Names

Where trade names are used, no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the World Campus, Outreach and Cooperative Extension, the College of Agricultural Sciences, or The Pennsylvania State University is implied.

Subject to Change Statement

Please note that this Course Syllabus is subject to change. Students are responsible for abiding by such changes.