- Code SCOM6032
- Unit Value 6 units
- 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
Politicians, chief scientists and others are increasingly calling for scientists to communicate their work with the public, but how, where and when did this start? Why have scientific societies like the Royal Society of London transitioned from doing scientific research in the seventeenth century to promoting the interests of science in the twenty-first? Are there parallels between eighteenth century amateur science and citizen science today, or between nineteenth century science popularisation and today's science journalism? How can we map institutional relationships between science and the bodies that promote it, popularise it, and link it to political processes? Is science communication an added extra in the world of science, or integral to its success and longevity?
This course applies historical and institutional approaches to science communication to explore the big picture view of how this discipline and its professional practices have developed across the world and through time. Students will map the relationships between science and the science communication-type activities and organisations that have always surrounded and supported western science as an institutionalised pursuit - scientific societies, advocacy for science funding, science professionalisation measures, science popularisation efforts of different kinds, science museums and centres, and more. Course assessment emphasises reflection on the significance of this big picture for professional practice in science communication, as well as developing science communication research skills.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Research the roots of science communication-type activities and organisations through time, space and institutional networks.
- Investigate and critically analyse material links between science communication-type activities and organisations and institutionalised science, including the changing significance of scientific societies and science advocacy movements for the development and funding of science.
- Analyse and critically reflect upon the major phases in twentieth and twenty-first century science communication and science advocacy more broadly.
- Develop a personal philosophy of professional practice in science communication, encompassing a big picture view of its institutions, ideologies and practices.
- Contributions to forum discussions x10 weeks (20%) (LO 1,2,3,4)
- Reflective essay on the significance of the course material for professional science communication practice, 2000 words (20%) (LO 1,2,3,4)
- Mindmap/infographic about the relationships between science and institutions of science advocacy and support (10%) (LO 1,2)
- Research essay, 4000 words (50%) (LO 1,2,3)
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WorkloadThis course will require approximately 10 hours work per week, fully online, including forum discussions, set readings and assessment tasks.
Requisite and Incompatibility
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- 6 units
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