PUB 480/877 Telling Science Stories

In this hands-on course, students will learn the value of sharing research knowledge beyond the university walls, along with the skills necessary to become effective science storytellers.

Climate change, vaccines, artificial intelligence, genetic editing — these are just a few examples of the essential role scientific evidence can play in society. But connecting science and society is no simple task: it requires key publishing and communication skills, as well as an understanding of the values, goals, and needs of the publics who stand to benefit from this knowledge.

This course will provide students with core skills and knowledge needed to share compelling science stories with diverse audiences, in a variety of formats. Whether it’s through writing books, podcasting, or creating science art, students will learn why we communicate science, develop an understanding of the core principles of effective audience engagement, and gain skills in publishing professional science content for print, radio, and online formats. The instructor is herself a science writer and communicator; in addition, students will have the opportunity to learn from a wide range of guest lecturers, including authors, artists, podcasters, and more. While priority will be given to students enrolled in the Publishing Minor, this course is open to all students who are interested in the evolving relationship between science and society.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Assignment Grade
Participation 15%
Reading reflections 15%
Scicomm summary: blog post OR infographic 15%
Peer review of scicomm summary 5%
Final project 30%
Final presentation 15%
Peer review of final projects 5%

INTENDED LEARNING OUTCOMES:

  1. Set goals, identify target audiences, select appropriate formats, and tailor messaging to engage diverse publics with scientific information.
  2. Understand and apply core principles for sharing science effectively, including theoretical models and evidence-based best practices.
  3. Work individually and in teams to design and develop a compelling science story in a format of students’ choosing.
  4. Use appropriate evaluation criteria to assess the success of outreach efforts and make suggestions for improvement.
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