• Offered by Centre for the Public Awareness of Science
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Science Communication
  • Areas of interest Science Communication
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Lindy Orthia
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

This course provides an introduction to contemporary social and communication issues in science, technology, and society. Why communicate science with the public, the media or the government? What are the best ways to go about it and what are the potential pitfalls? And what kinds of factors affect public attitudes to science?

Topics include the history of science communication; competing theories of what science communication is for; different models of effective science communication; obstacles facing scientists wanting to communicate their work; practical skills for communicating science through news outlets, the web, and live presentations; the different languages of science; cross-cultural considerations when communicating science; and the influence of popular media, science centres, politics, history, and cultural values on the public context of science communication.

The course focuses on current events and issues facing scientists, science communicators, policy makers, and the community. Students are encouraged to discuss their own perceptions of science and technology in the context of the broader community, and the problems with (and solutions to) communicating science with non-expert audiences. A strong emphasis is placed on collaboration with other students, and students are expected to take an active approach to learning.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Work as part of a team in a collaborative environment (LO1)
  2. Understand and describe the key issues and importance of effective science communication (LO2)
  3. Recognise how social contexts affect the practice and communication of science (LO3)
  4. Translate and report on scientific writing (LO4)
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation of science in various media (LO5)
  6. Understand and practice modes of scientific communication appropriate for peers, funding bodies, and publics (LO6)
  7. Synthesise personal interests, values and aspirations with professional development (LO7)
  8. Respond quickly to set deadlines (LO8)

Indicative Assessment

Engaging with science communication theory, history and research techniques:
  • Interview with a scientist about their public communication and analysis of interview (20%, LO 2,3,6,7)
  • Short exam on lecture, tutorial and reading material (25%, LO 2,3)
Communicating current science via news articles, blog posts, short public lectures and grant applications:
  • Summary of scientific journal paper & referenced reflection on its communication context (10%, LO 3,4,7)
  • Translation of scientific journal paper for specific aim, audience and medium (20%, LO 2,3,4,6,7)
  • Practice translation homework assignments and workshop participation (15%, 1,3,4,5,6,8)
  • Questions for guest expert (5%, LO 6,7,8)
Applying knowledge to science communication activities:
  • Feedback to SCOM2001 student organisers of science communication public event (5% LO 1,5,8)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One 2 hour lecture plus one 1 hour lecture per week, plus one 2 hour tutorial per week. Lectures and tutorials are not held every week of semester. Average 4 contact hours per week, plus 6 hours study time.

Prescribed Texts

Gilbert J.K. & Stocklmayer S. (eds.) (2013) Communication and Engagement with Science and Technology: Issues and Dilemmas. A reader in science communication. New York and London: Routledge.
Other readings supplied online.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
2437 19 Feb 2018 26 Feb 2018 31 Mar 2018 25 May 2018 In Person

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