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This subject provides students with advanced level written, verbal and visual skills needed to communicate with a wide audience. Students learn that agriculture is not only built on a firm scientific basis, but also has a strong social science element to it as well. Through a set of lectures and small tutorial groups students will be exposed to the reasons why rhetoric is a required skill in science. They will learn that while the audience is wide, to be effective the message needs to be clear, concise and targeted. They will be introduced to and encouraged to adopt the appropriate techniques that improve the way they deliver their message, whether they are using the written word, speech or some other electronic form of communication. They will also be taught to be critical of their and other people’s work. Students are asked to critically evaluate what they like and dislike about different examples of communications, with the aim of inculcating them with a set of skills they can employ in a range of different circumstances and situations.
In undertaking this task students will be required to first write a short proposal on some research idea they have. From this base they will be asked to develop the idea ultimately into a poster presentation. In between students will need to present a seminar and write a peer reviewed article on their proposal. Thus students are exposed to a wide range of written and visual techniques. Additionally, in tutorials students will be asked to complete a short simulated ‘interview’ and partake in a debate in order to improve their verbal skills. To learn these tasks students will be required to peer review their colleague’s work.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should be able to:
- Know why they need to communicate effectively to different audiences
- Identify and be able to use techniques that enhance the communication of ideas
- Communicate effectively and efficiently in a concise and clear manner to a targeted audience
- Differentiate the tasks and skills required to communicate in written, verbal and visual modes
- Critique their own and other scientific works
- Recognise what works well in each environment from what does not
In this subject the generic skills that are developed help students to improve their written communication skills, along with those visual and verbal skills required to present an idea. It should also sharpen their problem-solving skills as communication is taught as an aid to investigation, along with its communication aspects. Finally, given the nature of the assessment framework students should enhance their skills in organisation.
Last updated: 10 November 2023