• Class Number 8578
  • Term Code 2970
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Wendy Russell
    • Dr Wendy Russell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 02/12/2019
  • Class End Date 21/02/2020
  • Census Date 20/12/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 20/12/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course will provide a detailed exploration of the role of science dialogue in relation to contemporary science debates and science and technology governance. As well as providing a theoretical understanding informed by Science and Technology Studies, this course will provide you with the skills to plan, design and run science dialogue. It will also give you opportunities to learn and practice skills needed to participate in and facilitate dialogue. Assessment items will require students to plan and conduct a mini-dialogue.

Science dialogue refers to communication about science that brings all parties to greater understanding. The key feature is that science dialogue is bi-directional -  information and insights are gained on both 'sides'. In the case of dialogue between scientists or science communicators and members of the public, then, the public participants learn about the science and the scientists' aims and aspirations, and the scientists learn something from the public, about their concerns and aspirations and generally about the social context of the science, which informs their thinking, and potentially their decisions, about that science. Dialogue has a special place within science communication as a communication medium with particular aims that is increasingly being promoted as a best practice approach within government and community sectors.

Learning Outcomes

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:

1. demonstrate a broad and coherent knowledge of science dialogue, as defined above, in its contemporary context, critically review potential roles for science dialogue in science debates and in science and technology governance, and reflect on implications for professional practice.
2. critically evaluate science dialogue activities and draw lessons to develop professional practice.
3. demonstrate depth of knowledge about theories of dialogue and the cognitive and creative skills to participate in and facilitate constructive dialogue.
4. plan, design, conduct and critically evaluate science dialogue activities, including on complex and contested topics, and communicate findings clearly and analytically, thus contributing to the development of professional dialogue practice.

Research-Led Teaching

This course is informed by research and theory from several fields, including dialogue studies, science and technology studies and deliberative democracy. The course convenor is an active researcher in these fields. The course also draws on several practice domains, notably dialogue, public engagement in science and technology, and public deliberation. The convenor is an active practitioner in these domains. The blend of practice and theory is a distinctive feature of the course. Assessment for the course requires independent research and application of this to a practical situation. Practical skills in dialogue are also applicable to social research.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 25-29 Nov Reading and online forums
2 2-6 Dec Intensive classes Introduction. What is Dialogue? What is Science? Why have dialogue about science? How? Science Dialogue cases & methods Planning and Structuring dialogue Science Dialogue contexts Participation Topics for Case Study Report and Dialogue Plan
3 9-13 Dec Independent study: Online forums, Case study Reports Participation
4 16-20 Dec Independent study: Online forums, Case study Reports, Dialogue Plans Participation, Case Study Report
5 6-10 Jan Independent study: Online forums, Dialogue Plans Participation
6 13-17 Jan Independent study: Online forums, Dialogue Plans, run Dialogues (Kitchen Table Conversations) Participation, Dialogue Plan
7 20-24 Jan Independent study: Online forums, run Dialogues Participation
8 28 - 31 Jan Independent study: Dialogue Reports
9 3-7 Feb Independent study: Dialogue Reports, Reflective Self-evaluation Dialogue Reports

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
In-class and online participation 15 % 07/02/2020 17/02/2020 1,3
Case study Report 25 % 18/12/2019 06/01/2020 1,2
Dialogue Plan 30 % 15/01/2020 24/01/2020 1,4
Dialogue Report 30 % 05/02/2020 19/02/2020 2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


See Item 1. above



Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 07/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 17/02/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,3

In-class and online participation

This assessment item, worth 15%, will be based on observations of your participation and facilitation of discussion in class (general participation, small group discussions, activities and structured dialogues) and assessment of your contributions to and moderation of online discussions. The lecturer’s assessment of your participation will be informed by a qualitative peer evaluation activity and by a self-evaluation exercise. A requirement of this assessment is therefore that you participate in the evaluation of up to 5 of your peers and that you conduct a qualitative self-evaluation. More information on the peer evaluation will be given in class. For the self-evaluation, you will be asked to keep a journal during the course, and particularly the intensive week, in which you reflect each day about what you’ve learnt, your strengths and weaknesses in dialogue and how you plan to work on or with these and how this will contribute to your ongoing professional development. At the end of the assessment period, you will be asked to submit a one-page summary of your reflections.


The main assessment criteria for participation are related to the quality of contributions, not the quantity. You need to demonstrate that you are learning and practising the skills of dialogue. However, in order to be able to assess the quality of contributions, you need to actively participate in classes and online discussions (as per requirements below).


Online Wattle forum

Week 1

Several discussion threads will be initiated through the Wattle forums tool. You are expected to contribute to one or more of these discussions. You will not be assessed on the quality of this week’s contributions – it will provide a base-line for later discussions – but you need to make at least 2 posts.


Week 3 – Week 7/8

You will continue to contribute to the previous discussion threads, applying what you’ve learnt about dialogue to have constructive group discussions. You are once again required to make at least 2 posts each week, and you will be assessed not on the number of posts, but on their quality in relation to dialogue. Week 8 will be a catch-up week for those who missed posting in previous weeks.


Each SCOM6030 student will be invited to moderate one discussion. This will be agreed with the course convenor. Your moderation should be similar to the facilitation you learn in class – your main role is to ‘hold a space’ for respectful dialogue, and to help the group understand the topic in its complexity more deeply. You may provide information, if you think it is useful, or simply stimulate the discussion with questions. You may also make observations (respectfully) about process aspects of the discussion. In the final week, you should provide a summing up of the discussion.


Value: 15%

Due date: Fri 31 Jan (final day for online forums), Fri 7 Feb (final day for self-evaluations)

Estimated return/feedback date: Fri 17 Feb

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 18/12/2019
Return of Assessment: 06/01/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Case study Report

This assessment item will be based on a report with a description and evaluation of a case of science dialogue or deliberation. Please include your name, the course name, a title and the date. You also need to include a reference list of all your sources, which should include commentaries and theoretical papers/comparative studies as well as project documents.


Masters students will present their cases to the class on day 3 of the intensive week. These will be short (about 10 mins) presentations about the case, followed by questions and discussion.


The case can be from anywhere in the world, and can be selected from suggestions provided or by the student. Each student needs to evaluate a separate case, and topics need to be decided and discussed with the course convenor during the intensive week. In choosing and evaluating the case, you need to consider a case that is relevant to your work and your professional practice. You need to think of a question or a theory you want to test, which will structure your inquiry. This question or hypothesis will also inform a set of evaluative criteria or an evaluative approach you develop to assess the case study you have chosen.


Based on what you have learnt from the case study, you must also reflect on the implications for your professional practice, perhaps offering suggestions about changes or new directions in your work. You should also seek to make a contribution to the theory and practice of dialogue generally, based on your insights.


Word limit (where applicable): 3000 (not including references)

Value: 25%

Presentation requirements: Written report & presentation

Due date: Wed 18 Dec (except by arrangement with the course convenor)

Estimated return date: 6 Jan 2019

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 15/01/2020
Return of Assessment: 24/01/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,4

Dialogue Plan

This item assesses your skills in planning dialogue. You are required to plan two dialogue activities.

A.  a large-scale (80 participants) deliberative dialogue (20%)

B.  a small, community-based Kitchen Table Conversation (10%)


Both must relate to a science or technology topic of your choosing. You may choose the same topic or separate topics for A. and B. Please consult with the convenor about your topic/s. The Dialogue Plan should include sections for A. and B. and should be no more than 10 pages. Please include your name, the course name, a title, the names of your team members (if appropriate), and the date. The format you use for the Plan is up to you, but aim to produce a plan that you might put to a senior manager in an organisation to approve, and that is detailed enough to allow a third person to organise the dialogue according to your plan. You can make use of dot point lists and figures, and you may include items such as surveys, guides and handouts in appendices.


For A., you must plan a deliberative dialogue involving about 80 participants (you should aim for this, and have contingency plans in place in case you have more/less). This should relate to your workplace or professional setting (e.g. university, research organisation, government department, government agency) and be based on an existing objective, need or problem. Your choice of topic and participants should reflect the aims of the dialogue, and would generally involve people with different perspectives, who can thus gain new insights through dialogue. As a deliberative dialogue, the event should aim to arrive at some kind of position, decision or recommendation/s (need not be consensus) and participants should work together collaboratively to produce a statement or report.

The Kitchen Table dialogue (B.) is an informal conversation within your community, which might be your neighbourhood, a community group, or your workplace. This plan will guide the final assessment item, in which you will run and evaluate the Kitchen Table dialogue you have planned. You are once again required in this dialogue to bring the participants to a group position on the topic - a consensus, a position statement (which may include dissent), or a plan of action.


Elements of planning will be discussed during the course. You are required to present an initial proposal for part A. of your plan on the final day of the intensive week. Your classmates and the lecturer will then give you feedback on your proposal.


Someone using the plan might need to know:

  •      What is the context and rationale for having the dialogue?
  •      What is the purpose of the dialogue and what objectives will the plan aim to meet?
  •      Who will be involved and what roles will they play? How will you get them along?
  •     How will you communicate with people about the dialogue, both before and after?
  •     What methods will you use during the dialogue and how will you facilitate it?
  •     What information will you provide to inform the dialogue and in what form?
  •    How will you capture what people said?
  •      How will you know if the dialogue is a success?



Page limit: 10 pages (not including appendices)

Value: 30%

Presentation requirements: Written report (or other format with agreement from course convenor) and presentation

Due date: Wed 15 Jan (except by prior arrangement with the course convenor)

Estimated return date: 24 Jan 2019

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 05/02/2020
Return of Assessment: 19/02/2020
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Dialogue Report

This item will assess your performance in running a dialogue event in your own community, and your skills in writing up and evaluating a dialogue event. Your community may be your neighbourhood, your social circle, a community group you belong to, or your workplace. In the latter cases, you must seek written permission from a person in authority before you begin this assessment item.


The dialogue will be based on a Kitchen Table Conversation. Details of this method will be provided during the course. You may use a variation on this method or a different method, with permission from the course convenor. The dialogue must be organised and facilitated by you, and should run for at least one hour. As well as general dialogue about the topic, you are required to bring the participants to some kind of group position on the topic, something they agree on. This may be a consensus, a position statement (which may include dissent), or a plan of action.


You will need to make an audio recording of the dialogue for the assessment. You need to gain permission from participants to make this recording, and you will need to make provision for the privacy of participants. Note that only up to two hours of the audio recording will be considered for the assessment.


You will write a report on the dialogue event, which should include:

  • The topic, rationale (why you chose it) and context
  • The purpose and objectives of the dialogue (based on your dialogue plan)
  • A brief summary of the method, including who participated, and what roles they played; facilitation techniques that were used
  • A description of what information was brought into the dialogue and how and a rationale for this;
  • An indication of whether and how insights or results from the dialogue were captured
  • A description and rationale of your communication with participants, how you brought them into the process, how you prepared them, and how you followed up.
  • A description of how the event went, a summary of the discussion, reporting of results that emerged and of the group position
  • An evaluation of the dialogue event, including evidence of participant satisfaction
  • A detailed reflection on how the process went and why; your facilitation of the dialogue; what you learnt from it and how you will apply this learning to your professional practice


Word limit (where applicable): 4000

Value: 30%

Presentation requirements: Written report and audio-file of dialogue

Due date: Wed 5 Feb

Estimated return date: 19 Feb 2019

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignment marks and comments will be available through Turnitin and students will also receive a marking sheet by email with comments and feedback on marking criteria.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission of assignments is not allowed.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Wendy Russell

Research Interests

Dr Wendy Russell

Dr Wendy Russell

Research Interests

Dr Wendy Russell

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions