Comparing the Effectiveness of a Supplemental Online Tutorial to Traditional Instruction with Nutritional Science Students

Patrice Zubas, MS, RD
Consultant Dietitian

Cindy Heiss, PhD, RD
Missouri State University

Mary Pedersen, PhD
California Polytechnic State University


The purpose of this study was to ascertain if an online computer tutorial on diabetes mellitus, supplemented to traditional classroom lecture, is an effective tool in the education of nutrition students. Students completing a web-based tutorial as a supplement to classroom lecture displayed greater improvement in pre- vs. post-test scores compared with students who attended lecture only. Students completing the tutorial indicated a favorable attitude toward computer supplemented instruction.

About the Author(s)...

Patrice Zubas is a consultant dietitian working with clients in weight loss, maternal/child nutrition, menopause and general wellness. Her individual nutrition services include on-line counseling with clients. She has worked as a clinical dietitian for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and a consultant dietitian for a long-term care facility and an athletic club. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cindy Heiss is Dietetic Program Director at Missouri State University.
Dr. Heiss has been the Principal Investigator on two USDA Higher Education Challenge Grants and an American Dietetic Association Grant involving the development and evaluation of online tutorials targeted to nutrition students. She has taught several courses online at the graduate an undergraduate level. Her research interests include clinical nutrition issues in addition to the efficacy of computer assisted learning.

Mary Pedersen is Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and is responsible for overseeing undergraduate and faculty development programs. Dr. Pedersen has been a Nutrition Professor and chair of the Food Science and Nutrition department at Cal Poly, specializing in clinical nutrition, nutrition in aging, basic nutrition, and lipid nutrition. In 1992, she was a recipient of the Cal Poly Distinguished Teacher Award. She was a collaborator on grants involving the development and evaluation of online tutorials for nutrition students.

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