Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Comparative and Experimental Medicine

Major Professor

Sharon R. Thompson

Committee Members

Agricola Odoi, Chika C. Okafor, Marcy J. Souza


Foodborne disease outbreaks are still a challenge in the United States even with the improvements that are continuously made to the food integrity system. The Center for Agriculture and Food Security and Preparedness (CAFSP), in conjunction with the Tennessee Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence, has developed two web-based courses to support investigation of foodborne illnesses. These courses are entitled as “Foodborne Outbreak Investigation and Response Team Roles and Responsibilities, Part A and B” respectively. The overall goal of this study was to evaluate each course by assessing the participants' satisfaction, learning, and perception of knowledge gained and impact on job performance.

Participants’ knowledge of foodborne disease outbreak investigation was assessed through a quiz before and after each of the courses. While their satisfaction and perception of knowledge gained and impact on performance were assessed using 5-point Likert-scale questions.

For course A, most participants (89%-99%) were satisfied with the course content, design, and delivery. There was a statistically significant (P < 0.001) difference between pre- (mean=77) and post-test (mean=91) results of participants (n=188). About 85% of participants (18.8%) perceived that course A improved their overall job performance. Similarly, the majority of participants (83%-91%) rated course B positively. The pre- (mean=62) and post-test (mean=82) results of participants (n=87) were statistically significantly (P < 0.001) different. More than 88% of participants (23.5%) indicated that course B improved their knowledge and performance on job.

Overall, both online courses assessed in this study improved participants’ knowledge about foodborne outbreak investigation and their performance on the job. Future efforts should support the improvement of the current online training courses as well the development of new courses to target both consumers and all public health professionals associated with the food supply and delivery. These efforts could reduce the current foodborne illnesses in the United States.

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