- Code SCOM6003
- 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, Science Communication
- Academic career PGRD
- Dr Brad Tucker
- Mode of delivery Online or In Person
- Co-taught Course
Summer Session 2022
See Future Offerings
See https://www.anu.edu.au/covid-19-advice. In 2022, this course is entirely delivered remotely.
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 the research ideas will be developed as a team with a view to obtaining publishable results.
This course is co-taught with undergraduates, but the assessments are different.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- describe, question and critique the historical developments in the ways that fiction has been discussed by science communication scholars;
- distinguish between different fictional representations of science and scientists in terms of their significance for the science-society relationship;
- apply theory and research about science in popular fiction to science communication practice;
- think reflexively about the study and application of science in popular fiction and their place within it;
- manage a public science communication project that involves both collaboration and independent learning;
- critique and correct others’ public science communication efforts in a professional and encouraging manner;
- conduct science communication research using social science research methods such as content analysis, focus groups and questionnaires;
- 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 (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Research project - carrying out the project and analyzing the results (45) [LO 5,6,7]
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 after the intensive week.
To be determined
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsKrueger RA and Casey MA. (2014) Focus Groups: A Practical Guide for Applied Research. UK: Sage (5th edition).
Recommended text: Gilbert 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.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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