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Course Policies and Best Practices
For Written Communication:
1. It is the student’s responsibility to submit assignments on time—points will be deducted from late assignments unless the student has communicated with faculty before the deadline.
2. Weekly reports and strategic objective reports should be written in complete sentences that are grammatically correct and free of spelling and typographical errors. You are expected to write clear and concise statements that express logical thinking and demonstrate professional quality and effort. If there are errors in your writing, it is easy to assume there are errors in your food science work, even if that is not the case.
3. Formatting of reports needs to be considered. Use headers and titles to make the components of the report easy to find and read. You are highly encouraged to follow the layout and order of report components given in the instructions.
4. Team reports should be edited for consistency among writers, at least enough that it is not obvious when a new writer starts. Make sure to use consistent terminology and have a team consensus on the results of the project.
5. Figure out what works best for you to produce professional written communication.
Some recommended practices include:
- Outline the main points before starting to write. Make sure you know what you want to say and figure out a logical order to make your points.
- Start by proofreading once.
- Pay attention to underlined words when using Microsoft products.
- Use Grammarly. The general version is free and the upgraded version is often provided for university students. Grammarly will keep you from making mistakes like the one shown below.
- Read your writing out loud. This will help you catch awkward sentences or phrases.
- Proofread at least one more time after reading your work out loud.
- Have someone else you trust read your work and make comments.
For Presentations and Verbal Communication:
1. Follow the written communication guidelines above, especially in terms of clear formatting, organization, and removing grammatical and spelling errors.
2. For Presentation Slides:
- Organize your material and determine the best way to format and lay out the content.
- In general, keep the information you want to share as simple and straightforward as you can.
- Limit bullet points and text on slides, then make the text larger to fill the space.
- Avoid too many transitions and busy backgrounds.
- Use high-quality images.
- Make graphs and tables easy to read.
- Be careful not to crowd a slide with too many graphs or tables.
- Make your font on graphs and in tables large and easy to read. Faculty typically enlarge the font upon review.
- Right-align numbers in tables.
- Use a consistent number of digits after the decimal place per column.
- Make sure the sum of the numbers is double-checked and correctly displayed.
- For formulation tables, use “Batch Weight (in grams)” and “Percent by Weight” as column headers.
- Ingredient Statements need to include the ingredients within ingredients.
- Be careful about making health or nutrient content claims (make sure you have read all of the regulations).
- Proofread. Everyone in your team should proofread the presentation slides.
- Convert to PowerPoint if you start in Slides (be careful of formatting changes).
- Email your presentation to faculty for review, typically 1-3 days before the Board of Directors meeting.
3. For the Verbal Presentation:
- As a team, decide who will cover which part(s) of the presentation.
- Work on your part, deciding what to say and how to say it.
- Remember transitions, or how to get from one topic to the next.
- Practice the presentation alone and as a team. Does it flow? Is your timing in line with recommendations?
- Polish is often in the details. Determine who will pass out the food samples, who will introduce the team, and who is most comfortable answering what type of questions at the end.
- The use of notecards is not allowed for the Board of Directors’ presentations.
- Business casual dress is also required for presentations (specifically no jeans allowed).
4. For Verbal Communication in General:
- Most verbal communication is not actually the words we say, but how we say those words.
- It is far better to over-communicate than to under-communicate, so when in doubt, speak up, send an extra text or email, and make sure your team members are on the same page.
- We all communicate differently. Ask for clarification if you are unsure what someone else means.