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Why is it essential that scientists learn to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences? What makes for engaging communication when it comes to science? How does the style of communication need to change for different audiences? What are the nuts and bolts of good science writing? What are the characteristics of effective public speaking?
Weekly seminars and tutorials will consider the important role science and technology plays in twenty-first century society and explore why it is vital that scientists learn to articulate their ideas to a variety of audiences in an effective and engaging manner. These audiences may include school students, agencies that fund research, the media, government, industry, and the broader public. Other topics include the philosophy of science communication, talking about science on the radio, effective public speaking, writing press releases and science feature articles, science performance, communicating science on the web and how science is reported in the media.
Students will develop skills in evaluating examples of science and technology communication to identify those that are most effective and engaging. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to receive feedback and improve their own written and oral communication skills.
Students will work in small teams on team projects to further the communication skills developed during the seminar programme. These projects will focus on communicating a given scientific topic to a particular audience using spoken, visual, written or web-based communication.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should be able to:
- Articulate the range of purposes of communicating about science
- Identify the common features of effective communication in written, oral and other forms of communication
- Understand the nature of different audiences for scientific information
- Communicate science effectively to different audiences, using a variety of different techniques and media
- Provide constructive feedback to other students on their communication skills (both written and oral)
On the completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Communicate effectively in both written and oral forms
- Demonstrate awareness of and ability to use appropriate communication technology
- Provide constructive feedback on other students’ work
- Work as part of a multi-disciplinary team on a major project
- Plan work, use time effectively and manage a project
- Reflect on their own communication skills
Last updated: 4 February 2021