• Class Number 3335
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Joan Leach
    • Prof Joan Leach
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course introduces students to the history, theory and practice of science communication at an advanced level. It covers contemporary competing theories in science communication, the historical roots of the discipline, fundamental practical skills for communicating science with the public, and a deep understanding of science communication professional practice. It provides a solid foundation for further studies in science communication, touching on multiple communication mediums, considerations of different aims and audiences, and some specifics of communicating particular kinds of scientific information. Students will develop foundational science communication research skills in this course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Research and evaluate published papers on science communication history, theory and practice
  2. Analyse examples of science communication practice in light of theory and best practice literature
  3. Synthesize relevant research in science communication and relevant disciplines and apply to practice
  4. Critically evaluate the communication context of scientific issues and apply that evaluation to communication practice

Research-Led Teaching

This course is designed to introduce honours students to research in science communication. This includes understanding the possible orientations of science communication research, the aims of science communication research, and the methods used across different science communication orientations. Weeks 9 to 11 include journal review activities that discuss the research front in science communication. The Golem project asks students to do independent research (guided by the lecturer) and write for a research audience.

Required Resources

Required readings are listed on Wattle and available online through ANU Library and other sources.

 Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Week 1 (21 Feb) Introduction to course and introduction to Science Communication as a field of research and practice. Reading list will be posted to Wattle. There are readings for each week of the semester and regular writing tasks.
2 Week 3 (7 March) Models of Science Communication
4 Week 4 (14 March) CANBERRA DAY HOLIDAY (International Women's Day) As our class meeting will not happen due to the holiday, there will be a series of activities/readings for you to complete this week.
5 Week 5 (21 March) PUS/PEST/PAS: Understanding, Engagement, Awareness
6 Week 6 (28 March) Trust in science
7 Week 7 (18 April) Ethics of Science Communication EASTER MONDAY PUBLIC HOLIDAY No Tutorials in Week 7, but there will be a lecture uploaded
8 Week 8 (25 April) PUBLIC HOLIDAY Oral exam ORAL EXAM: Again, we will miss another meeting due to a public holiday. However, the week of 25 April will include oral exams for the course.
9 Week 9 (2 May) Science Communication Research Overview
10 Week 10 (9 May) Introduction to Project Journal review presentations in class, written components due online.
11 Week 11 (16 May) Methods in Science Communication Overview Continuing journal review presentations in class.
12 Final Week (23 May) Preparation for Project Submission/Course summary Project submission due in exam period.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Regular writings 30 % 15/03/2022 1,2,3,4
Oral exam on science communication history and theory 30 % 29/04/2022 1,2,4
Journal Review 40 % 16/05/2022 1,2,3,4

* 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.


Students are expected to attend lectures and contribute to discussions. When this is not possible students are expected to listen to the audio recording(s) of all lectures.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 15/03/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Regular writings

Weeks 1-7 have associated writing tasks. These writings are 500 words long (+/- 10%) and will respond to a prompt posted on Wattle. You will receive feedback on the content and writing.

Writing 1 will be worth 5%, writing 2 worth 10% and writing 3 worth 15%, totalling 30%.

The date range for these tasks indicates the approximate due date for the first task. It is intended that the marked tasks will be returned the week following submission. Further details can be found on the Course Wattle site.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 29/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Oral exam on science communication history and theory

Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held. Students should consult the course Wattle site to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

The oral exam assesses student understanding of the material and readings from weeks 1-7. The oral exam takes the form of a short (10 minutes or less), friendly (nobody is trying to 'catch you out'), oral interview (in person or where needed, by zoom) where students select questions randomly 'out of a hat' to answer and discuss with the course lecturer and tutor. While these 'orals' were a mainstay of University education in previous eras, many students have never had one. However, in previous years of this course, students have been surprised at how much they enjoyed talking about what they've learned and demonstrating their knowledge. The process is designed to help students summarise their knowledge gained in the course and put it to use to key questions that are asked about science communication.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 16/05/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Journal Review

This t?ask requires the critical evaluation of an article from a science communication journal. There is a written component (20%) and an oral component (20%). You may choose a journal article that is relevant to your Honours project for the written component. The oral component will also ask you to draw on research related to the article you chose to review. The oral component of the assessment will be peer-evaluated as well as evaluated by the lecture and tutor. More details about what the oral component requires will be provided to you in class. This assessment will happen in weeks 10 and 11 in tutorials.

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.

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

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. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

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.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via wattle or email.

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

Resubmission is not permitted.

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).

Prof Joan Leach
(02) 6125 0498

Research Interests

Science Communication, Rhetoric of Science, Public engagement with Science, Social Epistemology, Responsible Research and Innovation

Prof Joan Leach

Monday 12:00 13:00
Monday 12:00 13:00
Prof Joan Leach
(02) 6125 0498

Research Interests

Prof Joan Leach

Monday 12:00 13:00
Monday 12:00 13:00

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