• Class Number 9796
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Lindy Orthia
    • Dr Will Grant
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
    • Joe Duggan
SELT Survey Results

This course allows a special topic of study for individuals or small groups of students who wish to gain particular or additional knowledge in a topic in science communication not covered in other courses taught in CPAS or elsewhere in the University. Permission must be sought from the convener before enrollment.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

The nature of this course means that the learning outcomes are very individual and very specific. However, in general, on satisfying the requirements of this course students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Plan and engage in an independent and sustained scholarly work on a chosen science communication topic.
  2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts, relate these to appropriate methodologies and evidence, and draw appropriate conclusions.
  3. Keep accurate and detailed records of work undertaken, including literature review, field work or other research.
  4. Develop interpersonal skills by working constructively with active researchers on real research problems.
  5. Critically evaluate their own work and results, as well as results reported in the literature.
  6. Communicate research concepts and contexts clearly and effectively both in writing and orally.

Research-Led Teaching

This course is research-led. The course readings are almost all influential and/or recent academic research papers from this field. The reflective essay requires students to apply what they have learned from research papers to professional ambitions and an understanding of the field. The research essay requires students to retrieve relevant research papers themselves.

Required Resources

This course has no single set text. Required readings are available through Wattle, mostly as links to pdfs at online journal archive sites or ebook chapters. Download and read them electronically or print as you see fit. There is an expectation that your assignments will engage with the readings, both to establish that you have studied the scholarly literature and also to flesh out your arguments with challenging or complementary points. 

Staff Feedback

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

·     written comments, including corrections on the text itself on written assignments, and summary feedback on overall strengths and weaknesses.

·     opportunities to discuss that feedback with the teaching staff.

·     summary feedback to the whole class where appropriate and relevant.

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.

Other Information

To book an appointment consult my calendar at http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=willjohngrant@gmail.com&ctz=Australia/Sydney&mode=WEEK&

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 The structure and content of the special topics course will vary in accordance with the topics available. Specific details will be provided on Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Reflective essay 60 % 06/11/2020 03/12/2020 1,2,3,5,6
Research essay 30 % 18/09/2020 09/10/2020 1,2,3,4,6
Group Tutorial Session 10 % * * 1,2,4,6

* 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 Academic Integrity . 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 06/11/2020
Return of Assessment: 03/12/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5,6

Reflective essay

This assignment tests your ability to reflect on what you learn in this course to professional science communication practice and adjacent professions.

Reflect on the significance of the course material for EITHER 

(a) your own professional career situation and ambitions, OR 

(b) changing, current and future directions in science communication practice.


To write this essay, identify which angle you are going with and briefly define the professional role(s) you’ll be discussing, whether it is your own job or another science communication role. DO NOT choose academic jobs or school teaching as examples; stick to professional roles relevant to science communication that are outside formal education and university research careers. 


Having established that, draw on the course material presented on Wattle or in class throughout the semester to build your reflection. You should discuss the material from ALL of weeks 1-11, though of course you may emphasise some weeks more than others. Reference your essay in a scholarly manner for published works, or brief notes for classes (e.g. “Week 6 tutorial discussion”, or “YouTube video shown in week 9 class”).

For a great mark, bring in other scholarly works as well as the course materials. But the course materials should be at the core of your essay, since partly what you are aiming to do is demonstrate your learning, and show you can apply what you’ve learned to a more practical context.


While the assignment is called a reflective essay, you should write it in an academic tone, constructing arguments that can apply broadly to your chosen professional role. It is probably easiest to write in first person, and you can bring in your personal reflections and experiences, but deploy them in a scholarly way, and back up everything with references and examples (in other words, with evidence).

Marking criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment (to avoid an automatic fail):

  • it must be 1500 words ±10%, excluding your final reference list. All other text is included in the word count.
  • spelling, grammar and punctuation must be reasonable.
  • it must include references to the scholarly literature, especially course readings.
  • it must touch on every week’s material (weeks 1-11).
  • a well defined and delineated profession so it is clear what you are reflecting on.

What your assignment should ideally demonstrate, for a great mark:

  • an argument that is well-constructed, well written, flows and makes sense.
  • excellent evidence-based reasoning, including comprehensive and relevant use of scholarly literature and, as relevant, other kinds of evidence such as personal experiences, to build and illustrate your arguments and to make your key points.
  • excellent comprehension and application of course material to this question.
  • excellent scholarly referencing.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 18/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,6

Research essay

This assignment tests your ability to apply what you learn in the first half of this course to a question relevant to science communication research.


Select an essay question from the list below. Use the course readings AND other relevant sources available via the ANU library (including journal papers and books) to research the topic, and to write an essay answering the question.


Your essay should follow a conventional format, with an evidence-based argument forming the backbone of the work, topped and tailed by an introduction and conclusion. You should use a fully referenced, academic writing style. 


1.   What are some of the major theoretical transitions that have occurred in science communication research since the early 1990s?

2.   What is meant by the term “deficit model” and how is it relevant to science communication, according to the research literature?

3.   Why is storytelling important to science communication, according to the science communication research literature?

4.   What approaches to distilling or framing science-related information have proven effective for influencing public opinion about controversial topics?

5.   In what ways have cross-cultural questions been incorporated into science communication research in the past decade, and what important gaps remain?

6.   How has the institutionalisation of science communication as a research field varied between countries, languages and cultures across the world?

7.   A topic you propose and negotiate with the convener.

Marking criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment (to avoid an automatic fail):

  • it must be 1500 words ±10%, excluding your final reference list. All other text is included in the word count: headings, in-text citations, quotes from the literature and anything else.
  • spelling, grammar and punctuation must be reasonable.
  • it must include some references to the scholarly literature.

What your assignment should ideally demonstrate, for a great mark:

  • a demonstrated understanding of key issues in science communication research today and (as relevant) over the past few decades.
  • an argument that is well-constructed, flows and makes sense.
  • excellent evidence-based reasoning, including comprehensive and relevant use of scholarly literature, to build and illustrate your arguments and to make key points.
  • excellent comprehension and application of course readings and other sources to your essay question.
  • excellent scholarly referencing.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,6

Group Tutorial Session

This assessment item tests your deep engagement with one of the weekly topics and your ability to work with others to distill and re-present core elements of the week’s material.

All students will be allocated to a group prior to the start of semester. Each group will work together to present one of the weekly topics to other students and staff in the Thursday evening tutorial (7-9pm Canberra time). There will be about 6 students per group.

When presenting your topic, your group should:

·     synthesise the main points and sticking spots of the required readings 

·     find something else relevant to the topic to share (paper, video, example)

·     lead the discussion

·     generate questions

·     introduce the supplementary readings in brief

·     bring in points from the week’s lecture to expand, emphasise and clarify points.

Be prepared to present for about 15 minutes, then facilitate discussion for approximately 30 minutes, depending on the level of participation and interest from other students.

You will be given a group mark for the entire session. Each group member will also be asked to give feedback on other group members regarding their contributions to the group process. If appropriate, the group mark will be moderated up or down for each individual student to better reflect their individual contribution.

Marking criteria

To be eligible for a pass on this assignment (to avoid an automatic fail):

  • you must participate in your allocated tutorial session, unless you have a pressing reason backed up by supporting evidence.
  • you must participate in the group preparation process.

What your assignment should ideally demonstrate, for a great mark:

  • excellent contributions to the group process in terms of reliable attendance at any group meetings, clear and collegial intragroup communication, and timely completion of allocated tasks.
  • excellent individual contributions to the group session during the tutorial itself.
  • cohesive group plan for presenting and facilitating the tutorial, which allows room for all group members to participate and no individual to dominate
  • excellent comprehension and synthesis of course readings for the class.
  • excellent facilitation of tutorial discussions, including asking pertinent discussion questions, making time and space for students to respond, and including quieter students or students who need more time to develop responses.
  • succinct but useful introductory summaries of the supplementary readings.
  • relevant discussion of the week’s lecture with respect to the rest.

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. You do not need a cover sheet for assignments submitted 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

No extensions will be granted for delivering Group Tutorial Sessions. If a student cannot attend the tutorial they are scheduled to deliver due to unavoidable circumstances beyond their control, their group members will be consulted re their contributions to the group.

The Course Convener may grant extensions for any of the other assignments. If you need an extension, you must request it in writing before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical (or other) evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension before the due date, you may be able to request one later.

Irrespective of when you request it, to receive an extension you must provide a copy of any evidence that documents why you need an extension (e.g. medical certificate, counsellor’s note, police report, etc). You will be granted the extension only if the circumstances necessitating an extension are beyond your control and could not have been reasonably anticipated, avoided or guarded against. Ongoing disabilities and medical conditions are a possible exception to this, if you are registered with Access and Inclusionand they have determined that you may be entitled to extensions routinely in your Education Access Plan.

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.

If an assignment is due Friday 11.59pm, you will not be penalised in this course if you submit the assignment before the following Sunday 11.59pm (or the following Monday 11.59pm if the Monday is a public holiday), since the intervening time constitutes non-working days. This is not an ANU-wide policy but will be applied consistently in this course. 

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.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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

Students may sometimes be offered the opportunity to resubmit an assignment for a borderline pass if they are in danger of failing the course. Talk to the Course Convener any time if you believe you are in that situation.

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).

Lindy Orthia
6125 0498

Research Interests

Lindy Orthia

Dr Will Grant
6125 0241

Research Interests

Science communication; Research, science and technology policy; Political theory and political philosophy; Social Media / Social Network Analysis

Dr Will Grant

By Appointment
Joe Duggan

Research Interests

Joe Duggan

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