- Code SCOM1001
- 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
- Academic career UGRD
- Dr Roderick Lamberts
- Mode of delivery In Person
First Semester 2020
See Future Offerings
As the very first course in science communication at ANU, Science and Public Awareness (SCOM1001) offers a smorgasbord of ideas, information and approaches to all things science communication. It’s designed to help you taste a little bit of everything and see what flavours of science communication most appeal to you!
SCOM1001 provides an introduction to contemporary social and communication issues in science, technology, and society. In the course, we will ask a whole range of questions, like:
- 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?
- How do we make sense of science as it flies between, and well beyond, the lab?
- What kinds of factors affect public attitudes to science?
- Is it OK to be a scientist and have influence beyond your scientific expertise?
- Just what is “the public” anyway?
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 via multiple platforms and venues; 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.
Focusing on current events and issues facing scientists, science communicators, policy makers, and the community, SCOM1001 students are encouraged to discuss their own perceptions of science and technology in the context of society, 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.
SCOM1001 is also a solid foundation for a Major or Minor in science communication, and for working towards a science communication career. Science communication is a growing area of employment, as science organisations continue to realise the importance of communicating about their work with the public, the media, governments, business, clients, patients, community groups and other stakeholders.
Science communication graduates have built careers as health promoters, environmental lobbyists or activists, science journalists, science presenters, communications officers for science organisations, science policy analysts working in government, and more. Of course, the skills, ideas, and approaches offered by studying some introductory science communication will also help you if you want to be a research scientist!
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Work professionally in a collaborative environment.
- Understand and describe the key issues and importance of effective science communication, recognising how social contexts affect the practice and communication of science.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the presentation of science in various media
- Understand and practice modes of scientific communication appropriate for stakeholders and publics.
- Synthesise personal interests, values and aspirations with reflective professional development.
- Use an active approach to learning
- Abstract and characterise key elements of science-based evidence underlying social issues
- Defend and construct evidence-based arguments for a position based on sound scientific and science communication/ social evidence
- Integrate personal interests, values and aspirations with practical and theoretical development in science communication
- Reflective Writing Activity x 2 (10) [LO 5]
- Short Essay (20) [LO 2,4,5,6,7,8,9]
- Term 1 Quiz (20) [LO 2,3,7,8]
- Story Assignment (25) [LO 5,6,8,9]
- Podcast Assignment (25) [LO 1,2,4,5,6,7,9]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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One 2 hour lecture and one 2 hour tutorial per week. Two assessment items will be in tutorials. There will be reading and /or other material to consider in your own time before each tutorial class. These will be available via the course Wattle site.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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