Communicating Science Effectively (MoE)

Subject MECM90027 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Ten day sequential intensive course: 35 hours per week comprising approximately 24 hours of seminars and 11 hours of tutorials/workshops
Total Time Commitment:

170, including self-directed study and research

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Subject Overview:

Communication has been defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning, however why and how we communicate can vary depending upon factors like who is communicating, what is being communicated and who the audience is.
We know that employers value communication as a key skill, and for all communication there are generic skills, however what is it that makes communicating science a little different?

In this subject we will consider the importance science plays in twenty-first century society, and explore multiple strategic and tactical ways that those in leadership and management roles can most effectively engage (influence) with a variety of audiences/stakeholders, directly and indirectly for a variety of reasons. These audiences may include other scientists, industry, agencies that fund research, the media, government, shareholders, board of directors and the broader public.

In this subject we will explore meta-communication, the variety of ways leaders and managers can communicate (directly and indirectly), the issue of communication dissonance, and you will have multiple opportunities to practice, receive feedback and improve both your strategic thinking as well as practical oral, written and non-verbal communication skills.

Learning Outcomes:
  • Articulate the range of ways and situations in which science can effectively be communicated;
  • Identify and understand the common features and consideration of effective strategic written, oral and non-verbal forms of communication;
  • Understand the nature of different audiences for scientific information;
  • Communicate science effectively to different audiences using a variety of strategies and techniques: written, oral and non-verbal
  • Understand ways to measure the effectiveness of their communication skills.

Active participation during interactive lectures and defined tutorial workshops/activities due during the 2 week intensive (10%).

Presenting to different audiences: Individual oral and visual presentation (1000 words equivalent) a) Audience ‘a’ - 1 x 3 minutes at the beginning of the 2 week intensive (5%) b) Audience ‘b’ - 1 x 6 minutes due at the end of the 2 week intensive (10%)

Communication strategy: Group assignment (3 people per group) 1,500 written strategy and rational due 4 weeks after the completion of teaching (25%).

The influence of imagery: Photo documentary / photojournalism group assignment (3 people per group total 1000 words equivalent). a) 3 minute draft concept presentation: 5-7 images, one headline and one 100 word story descriptive paragraph - (500 word equivalent) due in week 2 of the 2 week intensive (5%) b) Final 5 images, headline, 100 word story descriptive paragraph, 400 word rationale (500 word equivalent) due 4 weeks after the completion of teaching.

Writing for different audiences: a) Individual work three x 500-word written pieces b) two x 250 word peer reviews, a total of 2000 words. a) Final pieces 3 weeks after the completion of teaching (20%) b) Peer reviews 5 weeks after completion of teaching (10%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On the completion of this subject, students should be able to:

• Demonstrate awareness of and ability to use a variety of communication strategies and technology;
• Provide constructive feedback to other students on their communication skills (both written, oral and non-verbal);
• Plan work, use time effectively and meet deadlines.
• Be able to construct and implement a working plan that enables you to work effectively within timelines

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