Communicating Science and Technology

Subject MULT30013 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

An enrolment quota of 60 students applies to this subject.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 Hours (one 2-hour seminar plus one 1-hour tutorial per week)
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: 50 points of second year level or third year level subjects approved as core in the Bachelors of Biomedicine, Engineering or Science, or included in the following Bachelor of Environments majors: Civil Systems, Environmental Science, Geomatics, Landscape Management, Physical Systems.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Michelle Livett

Subject Overview:

Why is it important that scientists learn to communicate effectively about science and technology to a variety of audiences? What makes for engaging communication when it comes to science and technology? How does the style of communication need to change for different audiences? What types of media can be used with greatest effect for each communication task? What can we learn by analysing how information about climate change is being communicated in our society at the moment?

Weekly seminars will consider the important role science and technology plays in twenty-first century society and explore why it is vital that scientists learn to articulate their ideas to a variety of audiences in an effective and engaging manner. These audiences may include school students, agencies that fund research, the media, government, industry, and the broader public. We will identify the common features of effective communication in print and online media, oral presentations, performance and visual media and consider why some strategies are less successful. Students will develop skills in evaluating examples of science and technology communication to identify those that are successful in achieving their aims as well as developing their own skills to communicate effectively.

Students will work in small teams on shared projects to further the communication skills developed during the seminar programme. These projects will focus on communicating science and technology to a particular audience using spoken, written or web-based communication.

Objectives: On completion of this subject students should be able to:
• Articulate the range of purposes of communicating about science and technology
• Identify the common features of effective communication in written, oral and other forms of communication
• Understand the nature of different audiences for science and technology information
• Communicate science and/or technology effectively to a variety of different audiences, using a variety of different techniques and media
• Provide constructive feedback to other students on their communication skills (both written and oral)
Assessment: • One written assignment “Writing for different audiences” (1500 words, plus 500 words of peer review: 25%). Satisfactory participation in peer review of other students’ written assignments is a hurdle requirement. Initial submission for peer review will occur in week 4, final submission in week 8;
• Written project proposal for group project (500 words, due week 5: 10%);
• Reflective online blog (minimum of 2000 words during semester: 25%) Students must post to the blog at least once a fortnight and also respond to the posts of other students.
• Group project (approximately 60 hours of contribution to group work: 40%). The product of the projects will be project-specific. However each group will give a 10-minute oral presentation in the last week of semester.
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: On the completion of this subject, students should be able to:
• Communicate effectively in both written and oral forms
• Demonstrate awareness of and ability to use appropriate communication technology
• Provide constructive feedback on other students’ work
• Work as part of a multi-disciplinary team on a major project
• Plan work, use time effectively and manage a project
• Reflect on their own communication skills
Related Breadth Track(s): Communication and evidence

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