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Plant Based Nutrition Certificate Program, T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through eCornell

by Justina in Colorado:
Recently I completed the Certificate Program for Plant Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through eCornell. This program is divided into 3 segments of 2 weeks each. During each segment, there are recorded lectures to hear, transcripts of lectures to view or print if you choose (along with accompanying PowerPoint presentations) and bonus materials to review. There are also the inevitable quizzes as well as some writing assignments but I can say that these exercises enhance rather than detract from the learning experience in this course of study. Assistants in the class read your submissions, answer your questions and make suggestions for further consideration. You are also able to read the submissions and comments of other students and this adds to the learning experience. The students who participated in this course are from around the world and represent many different backgrounds including those interested in nutrition as well as nutritionists, coaches and medical doctors.

Many of the talks are given by T. Colin Campbell, PhD. There are also additional lecturers including Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Matt Lederman, Dr. Doug Lisle (psychology), Jeff Novick, RD, Brendan Brazier (elite athlete), Antonia Demas, PhD (education), David Pimental, PhD (ecology) and Bruce Monger PhD (oceanography).

The syllabus for the course on the Program website does not begin to describe the wealth of information provided in this course. I’ve studied vegetarian and vegan nutrition as an avocation for over 30 years. As a result, I took this course thinking that I already knew a lot in this field. I never dreamed how much new information would be provided in this Program! The course was presented using actual science (not the usual pseudo-science or marketing gimmicks associated with the current debate on nutrition). The Program also taught useful critical thinking skills to be applied when reading and analyzing the various and/or conflicting nutritional reports, news and advertising prevalent in current discussions about this topic.

One drawback in the course format is that there was not a tutorial showing you how to use the system used in the course (or else I could not find it) and I am not a “techie” person. Even so, I managed to figure out enough to take the course without difficulty. However, this may not be an issue for everyone depending on your level of experience with comparable systems.

One thing that I would do differently as a student in the course concerns my use of the scheduling alternatives. The student is allowed to choose from the class dates that are offered as to when to start each section of the class. I scheduled each two week segment back to back. This was a mistake! The program was so rich in information that I should have allowed a 2 week time frame in between each segment in order to adequately review the course transcripts to better assimilate the information more fully. I thought I’d scheduled the classes wisely believing that I had plenty of time to study the information. But, as often happens, Life interfered with the tight schedule I had opted to follow. As a result, I felt a bit overwhelmed at times. Note that the ability to print all the transcripts and PowerPoint presentations will help a great deal in studying the intensive material as presented. However, I would suggest that if you plan to take this course, you give yourself ample time to study each class segment with some breathing room in between!

If you are interested in pursuing study in this arena, I highly recommend this course. You will not be disappointed. For more information, go to