- Class Number 6725
- Term Code 2950
- Class Info
- Unit Value 6 units
- Mode of Delivery In Person
- Lawrence Kirk
- Lawrence Kirk
- Class Dates
- Class Start Date 09/09/2019
- Class End Date 11/10/2019
- Census Date 20/09/2019
- Last Date to Enrol 20/09/2019
This course focuses on the creation of clearer and more effective ways to communicate scientific matters to larger audiences. It provides participants with a thorough and practical understanding of the process used in developing a communication plan including the development of a strategic framework and accompanying action plan that allocates resources, responsibilities and timeframes. It has a strong emphasis on relating theory to current industry best practice in implementing a strategic approach to planning communication activities. The major project component is based around field work and evaluation of real life science communication strategies.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Explain the difference between a strategy and a tactic
- Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between a strategic foundation and tactics in communication planning
- Apply evidence-based knowledge to strategic planning
- Evaluate the approach taken by current science communication strategies
- Generate elements of communication strategies and tactical plans
- Verbally present strategies and tactical plans to organisation managers and executives.
The course is based on research into the development of science based communication strategies and supported by current industry based examples. The need for a strategic based approach to science communication has been informed by M Phil research undertaken by the lecturer, Lawrie Kirk. This research investigated science communication capacity building needs for Pacific NGOs, resulting in a recommendation for ways that NGOs could respond to UNESCO’s new strategic direction.
The approach used in this course for the development of a science based communication strategy and supporting tactical plan has also been successfully used and demonstrated in the UK, Asia, Australia, Canada and the USA. The workshop technique for delivering tactics has been continually tested since its development in 2006 and is annually revised prior to the delivery of each intensive course. The most recent review of this approach was for a commercial application in the UK in June 2018 where the approach was tested and compared against a range of current coaching and collaborative techniques.
This course is highly research-led in at least four ways:
- the course readings and lecture content cover influential and current examples of science communication strategies;
- in one workshop activity you will learn the skills needed to critically differentiate between strategy and tactical activities and how to facilitate a group activity to select and prioritise communication tactics;
- in the first assignment, you will undertake a desktop review of an existing science communication strategy and analyse this data to present your findings, emulating a presentation to a project Steering Committee or Management Board; and
- in phase 2, you will read and summarise communication information from the selected communication strategy and translate this into a concise report that reviews the strengths and weakness of the existing strategy as well as prioritised communication tactics for that organisation.
Examination Material or equipment
The presentation for Assignment 1 is delivered in the CPAS lecture room using existing audio visual material. Students can use their own laptop or the existing desktop to present.
Students are required to review the communication activities of a science based organisation using the framework that is introduced in the course. Access to internet will be required and a webcam for the two tutorials.
A list of recommended pre course readings will be provided in Wattle. Resources used in each day are also posted on Wattle.
Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
- detailed, personalised written comments on each assessment, including corrections on the text itself, summary feedback on overall strengths and weaknesses
- up to two reviews of draft assignments are offered. Drafts are not accepted for review 72 hrs before the scheduled submission time. Drafts are submitted on wattle and when submitted a student is required to notify the lecturer
- opportunities to discuss that feedback with the course convener
- summary feedback to the whole class where appropriate and relevant
- for participation-oriented assignments, a clear guide to the marking scheme before the assignment, plus personalised feedback upon request.
ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.
This course provides a thorough and practical understanding of the process used in developing a communication strategy. It includes the development of a strategic framework and a tactical plan that allocates resources and time frames. The focus is on how to ensure your science communication activities work together and with other parts of an organisation. What does a science related communication strategy look like? How can I get segment my audiences? How do I select and prioritise communication activities? and how do I evaluate the success of my communication activities?
Topics include the development of a communication strategy, defining communication outcomes, segmenting your audience and defining desired relationships with stakeholders. There is a focus on encouraging students to select and prioritise science communication activities. Skills gained in strategy development and tactic selection provided in this course are also applicable to many other nonscientific areas.
Why study this course? This course builds on successive courses held since 2006. An intensive week residential school will be used to deliver the course. The course has two key phases and the proposed outcomes for each lecture and tutorial are provided in the course schedule below. Emphasis is place on developing an agreed strategic approach within the context of science communication. The outputs from this course can be utilised by the participants to undertake a practical review of how a science based organisation approaches their planning and delivery of communication activities.
Phase one - Building a strategic approach to communication planning. In this phase the students will be shown how to take a more strategic approach to communication planning using a process that has been developed and refined by the course convener (Lawrie Kirk) over the last 20 years. There are two assessable pieces of work related to this phase; a presentation to the group at the end of the week and a report of a desktop review of a science based communication strategy. This report is to be delivered after the residential course. The presentation and the report require the students to show their understanding of the strategic process by undertaking a desktop review of an organisation’s communication strategy. Support for developing both assessable pieces of work will be provided by group work and tutorials during the residential week. There will be one video tutorial (using Skype for business) during the week starting 24th September; the purpose of this tutorial is to provide further guidance (if required) on the report. The date and time for this tutorial will be finalised with the participants during the course.
Phase two – Developing a communication tactical plan. In this phase the students will be shown an interactive workshop technique that assists a group in developing a tactical plan. Learning is reinforced by an assessable piece of work where the students will be required to present their findings at the end of the week and then submit a report on the tactical aspects of the strategy reviewed in Phase one. Tutorials and a group demonstration of the interactive workshop technique are provided to assist in students in the assessable work.
Science communication students can use any recognised academic reference system of their choosing in SCOM courses, provided referencing is complete, comprehensive and correct. Referencing and academic literature searching will be discussed in lectures, tutorials and readings in the first half of the course.
|Week/Session||Summary of Activities||Assessment|
|1||Webinar & Tutorial 1 Pre-course webinar (optional) - held 3 weeks before course commencement Provide outline of the week activity Outline of assignments and pre course work Will be recorded and placed on Wattle||Proposed outcomes Clarification of the course content Identification of organisation to be used for individual case study|
|2||Day 1 - Lecture 1 Introduction and overview Course outline Performance indicators/key milestones Sharing of experience in group Expectations and principles Communication methods||Proposed outcomes Understanding of focus of course Appreciation of principles behind using an industry based lecturer Acceptance of phases and key milestones Appreciation of other experience in class members|
|3||Day 1 - Tutorial 2 Issuing of assignments for subject||Proposed outcomes Overview of assessment tasks Understanding of expectations of assessable work Overview of the use of Turnitin – the ANU’s web based text matching software|
|4||Day 1 - Lecture 2 Strategic Communication Planning - Why plan? Examples of planning cycles Identifying ownership and allocation of resources Case study examples Defining Communication partners Differences between a strategy and a tactic||Proposed outcomes Appreciation of need to undertake a strategic approach to communication Understanding of different ways communication can be planned Acceptance that ownership and resource inventory is a mandatory first step How to segment communication partners into broad categories Appreciation of the difference between a communication strategy and a tactic|
|5||Day 1 - Lecture 3 Defining Relationships with Communication Partners - Why define relationships How to define relationships Group role play Principles of qualitative evaluation||Proposed outcomes Acceptance of the need to define relationships Understanding of principles of qualitative evaluation (built on from the definition of relationships) Understanding of how to facilitate this step in a group|
|6||Day 2 - Lecture 4 Communication Tactics Defining your communication outcomes Risk Communication How to select tactics Examples of tactics use in a communication plan||Proposed outcomes Acceptance of the need to define desired communication outcomes in a strategic communication plan Awareness of tactics that can be used that are inexpensive but effective Appreciation of the wide array of tactics that can be utilised Understanding of how to cull and prioritise tactics|
|7||Day 2 - Tutorial 3 Outline of second assignment Assistance with second piece of assessable work Selection of tactics||Proposed outcomes Clarification of tactics needed for selected case studies Clarification of expectations of assessable tasks associated with tactics|
|8||Day 2 - Lecture 5 Tactical planning Revision of previous phase Outline of how to undertake a tactical plan • Principles of developing a tactical plan||Proposed outcomes Appreciation of principles involved in developing a Communication Tactical Plan Appreciation of the difference between a tactical plan and a strategic plan Preparation for following days interactive workshop|
|9||Day 2 - Tutorial 4 Assignment work Individual work on assignments||Proposed outcome Clarification of tactics needed for selected case studies Clarification of expectations of assessable tasks associated with tactics|
|10||Day 2 - Lecture 6 Developing a tactical plan Revision of previous phase Outline of how to undertake a tactical plan Principles of action plan workshop (to be held next day)||Proposed outcome Preparation for following days interactive workshop|
|11||Day 3 - Lecture 7 Developing a tactical plan - 3 hour lecture/group exercise A workshop technique that can be used to allow group participation in developing a communication tactical plan. This is a whole group exercise and it is important for all to attend.||Proposed outcome Awareness of one technique that can be used to effectively gain group input into a tactical plan Understanding of the value of group participation Appreciation of the need to have a strategic foundation established prior to undertaking a tactical plan|
|12||Day 3 - Lecture 8 Workshop Debrief Debrief on the tactical plan – how to document findings Value of mind mapping in documenting strategies and tactics How to present your strategy/tactical plan Analysis of results||Proposed outcomes How to analyse data from the workshop An understanding of how to document outputs from the workshop in meaningful ways to the end users Understanding of the different ways a strategy and tactical plan can be reported Value of mind mapping techniques to illustrate relationship between strategies and tactics|
|13||Day 3 - Tutorial 5 Assignment work Preparation for Friday presentation||Proposed outcome Group discussion on desktop review Time for individual discussion on reviews|
|14||Day 4 - Lecture 9 Costing and planning the implementation of the tactical plan Principles of Project management How to ensure the tactics will be delivered||Proposed outcomes Appreciation of how to link in with other methodologies Understanding of project management principles and how they can assist strategy and tactical implementation|
|15||Day 4 - Lecture 10 Presenting your tactical plan Marketing your plan Internal communication Group exercise – questioning and reflection on content of the week||Proposed outcomes Appreciation of the need to ensure the plan is well presented Understanding of ways plans can be marketed internally and externally Final clarification of outstanding issues Collation of typical questions relating to science communication strategies and tactics; group work to develop responses|
|16||Day 4 - Lecture 11 Course Overview and Career paths in strategic communication planning Summary of key learning points Completion of group question and answer exercise Career opportunities that use this strategic approach||Proposed outcomes Completion of group exercise Overview and revision of key aspects before presentation Case studies of use of this process Understanding of potential career paths|
|17||Day 5 - Lecture 12 Course overview revision of key aspects final group question and answer exercise preparation for follow on Webinar/trial run of video conferencing platform||Proposed outcome Clarification of any outstanding issues Finalisation of logistics for Webinar|
|18||Day 4 - Tutorial 6 Finalising presentation (assignment 1) - NB: This time can also be used for presentations if the group is large or a student(s) cannot attend Friday Time for group and/or individual discussion on Friday presentation||Proposed outcomes Clarification of any subject areas Finalise presentations, checking equipment|
|19||Day 5 - Lecture 13 Peer presentation by each member of their desktop review – 15 mins each person with role playing of audience by other members||Proposed outcomes Delivery of assessable piece Ability to articulate and communicate key findings of the desktop review Guidance on how to present these findings in the written report|
|20||Day 5 - Tutorial 7 Second assignment work and course close Guidance on the preparation of written report Individual assistance||Proposed outcomes Clarity of expectation of written work Opportunity for individual assistance|
|21||Webinar - Tutorial 8 Follow up webinar (1 hr)||Proposed outcomes Clarification of any concepts discussed during the week Assistance on the second assignment|
Tutorials are incorporated into the week intensive course. Each day is a comprised of a combination of lectures, tutorials and group work starting at 9 am and concluding 5 pm with an hour for lunch.
|Assessment task||Value||Due Date||Return of assessment||Learning Outcomes|
|Assignment 1- Presentation of preliminary desktop findings||30 %||13/09/2019||20/09/2019||1,2,3,4,5,6|
|Assignment 2 - Report on desktop findings||70 %||15/10/2019||11/11/2019||3,4,5,6|
* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details
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All student are expected to deliver assignment 1 (a presentation to the group) on Friday 13 September.
Assessment Task 1
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6
Assignment 1- Presentation of preliminary desktop findings
This task will require the participant to present their desktop assessment of a science related communication strategy and supporting tactics.
Objective: This task will require the participant to present their desktop assessment findings of a science related communication strategy. Each participant will need to display a thorough knowledge of both the strategic and tactical planning process demonstrated in this course. This presentation will simulate a real life experience of presenting to a high level Executive, Project Board or Project Steering Committee.
Activity: Each participant is required present to the rest of the class which may include other CPAS staff and students. For undergraduates this will be a maximum 10 min presentation (plus 5 min question time) on their key findings from investigation of the strategic intent and tactical delivery of a science related communication strategy. For postgraduate students (SCOM6501) the presentation will be a maximum of 15 minutes and 5-minute question time. The expectation is that the presentation will be to a professional standard and demonstrate expert review and critical analysis. Prior to the presentation there will be an opportunity for each participant to establish the context and background to the organisation that was reviewed. The order of presentation is determined by random selection.
Presentation: The presentation is to be based on an assumption that the audience represents the Executive of the relevant organisation or a Project Steering/Management Committee. The key findings of the analysis and any recommendations for improvement need to be clearly and effectively articulated. To be eligible for assessment, all presentations are to be delivered on Day 5 (Friday 13th September 2019). Presentations may commence on the afternoon of Thursday 12th September, depending on class size.
|Presentation (4 marks)||Content (8 marks)||Relevance to the audience (3 marks)||Understanding of strategy and tactics (15 marks)||Total (30 marks)|
Assessment Task 2
Learning Outcomes: 3,4,5,6
Assignment 2 - Report on desktop findings
Each participant is required to understand the development of the strategic intent of a Communication Strategy through a desktop review of a science related Communication Strategy. They will also be required to then report on how they have identified and analysed the tactical planning aspects associated with the selected Communication Strategy. Postgraduate participants will be required to demonstrate expert review and critical analysis.
Objective: This task will require the participant to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the strategic and tactical communication planning process demonstrated in this course. Activity: Each participant is required to understand the development of the strategic intent of a Communication Strategy through a desktop review of a science related Communication Strategy. They will also be required to then report on how they have identified and analysed the tactical planning aspects associated with the selected Communication Strategy.
A desktop review is an industry term that requires a person not to undertake primary research but undertake an assessment using information that is publicly available. You MUST NOT undertake primary research by contact with the organisation, as that requires clearances from the University. Assistance will be provided in tutorials dedicated to this piece of assessment.
The presentation on Friday 13th September will also provide an opportunity for peer review and feedback that can be included in the written report that is due after the presentation.
The following are the minimum areas that need to be covered in the report:
Identification of key communication partner groupings and sub-categories
Relationships – are they defined for each partner and if so what are they?
Key Communication messages
Key performance indicators (measurement or evaluation criteria)
Identification of specific tactics used and prioritisation
Measurement and evaluation of the tactics chosen.
Presentation: The reporting, analysis and recommendations on suitability of the information reviewed must not exceed 10 A4 pages (12 pt font)and not double sided. An Executive Summary must be provided at the start of the report and is included within the 10 page limit.
Please note: Postgraduate students are expected to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the concepts covered in this course, specifically the difference between a communication strategy and supporting tactical plan. The page length and marking breakdown will remain the same for all class participants but the postgraduate presentation is expected to be of a higher standard. The postgraduate report will need to demonstrate critical analysis supported by scholarly literature. Recommendations will also need to be directly linked to the critical analysis with the overall report keeping within the 10 page limit. Submissions over 10 pages may be reviewed and feedback provided but the content will not contribute to the final mark.
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Assignment 1 - hard copy of presentation to be handed in at conclusion of the presentation
Assignment 2 - the report is to be posted onto wattle.
Assessments will be returned to students by email to their University student email account.
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Capacity building for Pacific NGOs. Currently working on research on improving project management skills for scientists.