2022 Communicating Earth-Life Science to theWorld M

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Earth-Life Science
Hernlund John William  Mcglynn Shawn  Heenatigala Thilina 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

This course aims to empower students to communicate their research effectively with a diverse audience from scientific community, policy makers to the public at large. The course modules will cover five modules of thought: Public Engagement in Science, Tools for Research Communication, Publishing and Grants in Academia, Policy and Development in Science and Society, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. A key aspect is to provide practical skills and knowledge that students can use throughout their careers. We also aim to show students how science can be a force for positive change in the world, with special attention to issues of poverty, hunger, health, environment, sustainability, social justice, diversity, and equal opportunity. Course content will consist of a mixture of lectures, applied activities, and guest speakers.

Student learning outcomes

The students will gain the skills needed to communicate their research with society and the scientific community.

Course taught by instructors with work experience

Applicable How instructors' work experience benefits the course
The students will gain the skills needed to communicate their research with society and the scientific community.


Science Communication, Public Engagement, Science and Society, Science Policy, Academic Publishing, Inclusive Science

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
Specialist skills Liberal arts skills Communication skills Applied skills (inquisitive thinking and/or problem-finding skills) Applied skills (practical and/or problem-solving skills)

Class flow

The class will be lecture-based with discussion and hands-on workshops.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to Global Science Communication (Thilina) a. What is science communication and why is it important for a researcher? b. How is science communicated? c. Challenges in scientific communication
Class 2 Public Engagement and Understanding of Science (Thilina) What is different between scientists and the public in understanding research?
Class 3 Presentation and Interpersonal Skills (Thilina) a. How to informally talk about your research b. How to prepare a formal conference-style presentation c. How to prepare a formal seminar-style talk d. How to pitch your ideas e. How to ask good questions f. How to prepare an outreach presentation
Class 4 New Media in Practice (SNS, Blogs, Web, Podcasts, Videos, etc.) (Thilina) How to use modern tools to communicate science?
Class 5 Press Releases and Popular Articles (Thilina) a. How can a research paper turn into an article for the public and media? b. How to get a story published in a high profile venue?
Class 6 Scientific Narration and Visualization (Thilina) a. How to build your science story and use visualization effectively? b. How to display data and research findings? c. How to make conceptual illustrations, flowcharts, cartoons? d. Animation, virtual reality, interactive media
Class 7 Tools for Organizing Scientific Meetings (John) a. Different kinds of meetings (workshops, conferences, groups, administrative, etc.) b. How to organize a meeting? c. Different kinds of meeting models/styles d. Legal and ethical aspects of meeting organization
Class 8 Building a Professional Reputation (Thilina) a. How do we become findable? b. Increasing your profile by building networks. c. Online (LinkedIn, Twitter, ResearchGate, Googl Scholar, Wikipedia, etc.)
Class 9 Effective Grant Writing & Lobbying (John/Shawn) a. Science costs money. Where can you get it? b. How to influence policymakers to support your research? c. How to influence administrators in your own institution?
Class 10 Publishing and Open Science (John) a. How to write science clearly and effectively b. Peer-reviewed publications as the official mechanism for sharing research results c. History and recent developments d. Peer-review processes e. Legal issues related to publishing (copyrights, patents, etc.) f. Publishing and citation metrics g. Finding the right venue to publish your work h. New models for publishing and open science
Class 11 Science in Society (John) a. What is the relationship between science and society? b. Influence of society on science c. Science and economics d. Science and public welfare (health, risk/hazard mitigation, etc.) e. Science and politics f. Views of science in different cultures
Class 12 Effective Research Collaboration (Shawn) a. Effective collaboration can lead to exciting findings and enhance your research output. b. How to find and build collaborations?
Class 13 Research Ethics (Shawn/John) a. Moral/Ethical imperatives of scientists b. Science and property: Credit, plagiarism, authorship, etc. c. Ethics in scientific social interactions/relationships
Class 14 Inclusive Practices in Academia (Thilina) a. Importance of diversity and openness in science. b. What can you do to make academia more inclusive? c. How can we increase diversity upstream?



Reference books, course materials, etc.

Materials will be provided.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be evaluated on the basis of completing a series of projects related to lecture topics.

Related courses

  • GEG.S411 : Global Science Communication and Engagement
  • GEG.S413 : Science Media and Communication for Global Development of Environment and Society

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

The student should have a basic level of English communication skill, and scientific literacy.

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