Monday, 3 August 2009

Virtual College

I was approached a little while ago to see if I would be willing to test out a couple of things in exchange for doing a review on the Cookie blog. One of those things is being delivered on Friday (more on that after the weekend), the other one was an online course with a place called Virtual College. Never one to shy away from a bit of education I thought I’d give it a try, particular because the course in question was the Online Food Hygiene Course.

The course is actually geared toward people working in the food service industry, but, being that I do tend to do a lot of baking (which is often consumed by work colleagues as well as family and friends) and with having the two small people in the house I thought it would be interesting to find out if what I think I know about this kind of stuff is right and what I could be doing to do things better.

It was an education as well!! Eek!

The Virtual College system is actually really user friendly. You log in, the front page shows a list of your courses, then you click into the one you’re working on. You’re then given a list of modules which tells you if you’ve completed them, are working on them, or need to complete them still.

You can pick up and put down at any time (which is useful, particularly if you’re at the mercy of work and small people like me) and work at your own pace, which is great.

The layout of the course itself was very good. Fun, interactive, easy to follow and navigate around. You follow each of the 9 modules through a series of screens, answering little pop quizzes on the way and have a multiple choice test at the end of the module to see if you’ve taken everything in. There’s also a really useful little place to make online notes yourself (which you get the option to print at the end of the module). I did find the voiceover a little annoying (and inconvenient when I completed modules in work (but that was soon solved by the conveniently located mute button ;))).

Whilst some of the course related to areas that aren’t particularly relevant to me as an individual (rather than in a business sense), the majority of the course was really interesting. Finding out about storage temperatures, food danger zones, how to store foods, cool foods etc to get the best from them (and make them as safe as possible) was a real eye opener! I swear Iwill never reheat a take-away Egg Fried Rice for breakfast again!

As the course is a recognised food service qualification you do get a certificate saying you’ve taken the course once you’re finished which is quite nice. I think I might get a frame and hang mine in the kitchen. Of course, I’d have to alter it first…, where did I put that Modge Podge?