2017 Global Science Communication and Engagement

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Global Engineering for Development, Environment and Society
Hope Tom 
Course component(s)
Lecture / Exercise     
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon7-8(S323)  Fri5-6(S323)  
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Syllabus updated
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Course description and aims

This course provides an overview of science communication and an exploration of recent issues that highlight its importance. Students complete the course with a theoretical understanding of science and public knowledge on the global stage and practical experience of doing science communication in different forms.

Classes consist of lectures, readings and group works. As a course focused on communication, ample opportunities are provided to discuss the content of lectures and texts, to deepen understanding and to practice skills in expressing opinions. Throughout the course, exercises are given where students use different formats of science communication focused on different areas of science and engineering, which will result in a final project - a public science communication event.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Explain about different types of science communication.
2. Discuss issues that highlight the importance of communicating science and engaging with the public.
3. Show a theoretical understanding of science communication and name some well-known case studies.
4. Practice practical knowledge and experience of communicating science to non-scientists.


Science communication, public, society, research ethics

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Classes consist of lectures followed by discussion of lecture content and the required reading.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction - Why science communication, Why ‘global’ science communication? Understand the meaning of the term "science communication" and why it might be important.
Class 2 Group work - Who are the communicators, communicating to whom? Understand the roles of scientist, specialist science communicator and 'public.'
Class 3 Science in museums Explain some of the history of science and museums and some recent changes in museum practices.
Class 4 Group work - Science museums reporting Report on a visit to a science museum and explain what was communicated and how.
Class 5 Cows, sheep and (un)natural disasters: risk and the public Understand why case studies can show the effects of good or bad communication of science.
Class 6 Group work - Stakeholders and science juries Explain what a science jury is and conduct a 'mock science jury'.
Class 7 The Arts and Science Communication Understand some relations between science communication and art.
Class 8 Group Work - Drama and performance skills Practice and improve science communication skills through drama techniques.
Class 9 Science communication in the digital age Understand recent changes in science communication around the world due to digitisation and the Internet.
Class 10 Group Work: Online science communication Use the WWW or social media to communicate an aspect of science or engineering.
Class 11 ‘Engagement’ - What is it and is it necessary? Understand the public engagement of science and some examples of it in practice.
Class 12 Group work - Science communication project work Understand and practice communicating an aspect of science/engineering using techniques or examples introduced in the course.
Class 13 Group work - Science communication project work Understand and practice communicating an aspect of science/engineering using techniques or examples introduced in the course.
Class 14 Public science communication project event (science cafe, performance etc.) Show understanding of course content through conducting a science communication event.
Class 15 Review and discussion Understand course content and ask questions about it.


Selected readings from Jane Gregory and Steve Miller “Science in Public: Communication, Culture and Credibility”

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Materials will be distributed in class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Attendance and participation, contribution to the final science communication event, a short ‘personal reflection’ report.

Related courses

  • TSE.C203 : Social Design Project

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


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