- Code SCOM2003
- 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
This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities will also be available.
How has Brave New World shaped the human cloning debate? Why did forensic science enrolments boom simultaneously with the popularity of CSI and Silent Witness? How is Doctor Who useful for engaging high school students in science learning? To what extent did Frankenstein establish a negative image of scientists? Why is theatre an effective HIV/AIDS education tool in South Africa and not in Australia? What role did Star Trek's Lt Uhura play in recruiting astronauts to the NASA space program? How might The Day After Tomorrow impact the public understanding of climate change?
This course provides an introduction to the impact of fictional representations of science and scientists on public perceptions of science. It introduces research, theory and methods from this growing area of science communication as applied to fictional works including films, television programs, plays, novels, short stories and comics. Students are encouraged to share their own experiences of science-based fiction and to pursue their areas of interest through assessment. The major piece of assessment is a research project testing students' hypotheses about the impact that a work of fiction might have on public perceptions of science. The research project will be completed individually, but there will be an option to develop the research ideas as a team with a view to obtaining publishable results.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- explain the context and importance of fiction in the discipline of science communication;
- reflect on the social implications of science-based fiction including for their own lives;
- demonstrate the significance of fictional images of scientists for access and equity in science work and study;
- work effectively with others as part of a group;
- work independently through discovery-based learning;
- use social science research methods such as content analysis, focus groups and questionnaires to investigate public perceptions of science;
- access, organise and present material explaining the ways in which science-based fiction has been found to influence public perceptions of science;
- critically evaluate strengths and weaknesses of current research methods for investigating fiction's influence on public attitudes, knowledge and beliefs.
The intensive week in 2021 will be 18 - 22 January.
- 3-minute small-group presentation on Monday, evaluating the role of science and fiction in the piece (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,7,8]
- 3-minute small-group presentation on Friday, evaluating the piece in light of the week (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,7,8]
- Research project proposal. This should include a literature review, content analysis of the piece(s), lesson plan/exhibit design/project plan, and evaluation methods (30) [LO 1,5,6,7,8]
- Public perceptions research project - carrying out the project and analyzing the results proposal (50) [LO 1,4,5,6,7,8]
The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.
The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the session including:
- The face-to-face component will be delivered in intensive mode over one week, Monday - Friday 9am - 5 pm (total 35 hours). Students participating online will be able to join activities remotely via Zoom
- Approximately 95 hours of self directed study will include pre-reading before the intensive week and assessments to be submitted after the intensive week.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsGilbert J.K. & Stocklmayer S. (eds.) (2013) Communication and Engagement with Science and Technology: Issues and Dilemmas. A reader in science communication. New York and London: Routledge.
Other readings provided online.
Assumed KnowledgeSCOM1001 and SCOM1002
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- 6 units
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