( Photo courtesy Idaho Potato Commission; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

A culinary instructor who created an “escape room” to complement her course in food safety and sanitation has been recognized by the Idaho Potato Commission.

Jennifer Denlinger, who teaches at the Poinciana Campus of Valencia College, Orlando, Fla., received the Innovation 2020 Award from the commission and the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ), according to a news release.

Students played the escape room game before the final exam; the more information they knew, the easier it was to escape.

“I have taught this class hundreds of times,” Denlinger said in the release. “It is a very tough class with lots of memorization. The goal is to help students work on a better way to learn the information needed and apply it to real-world scenarios.”

She wanted a better way for students to pay attention and retain the information they were taught. With an active learning approach, she worked to help her students retain the more than 3,000 items they needed to know.

“Providing visual and hands-on activities corresponding to the lectures maintain student involvement,” one student said, according to the release.

Denlinger received $1,000 and a plaque for her achievement.

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