Communicating Science and Technology

Subject MULT20011 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One 2-hour seminar plus one 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours


25 points of Level 2 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, Engineering Systems (previously Physical Systems).



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


Dr Jenny Martin


Subject Overview:

Why is it essential 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 are the nuts and bolts of good science writing? What are the characteristics of effective public speaking?

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. Other topics include talking about science on the radio, effective public speaking, writing press releases and science feature articles, science performance and how science is reported in the media.

Students will develop skills in evaluating examples of science and technology communication to identify those that are most effective and engaging. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to receive feedback and improve their own written and oral communication skills.

Students will work in small teams on shared projects in addition to writing a science blog to further the communication skills developed during the seminar program.

Learning Outcomes:

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 different audiences, using a variety of different techniques and media
  • Provide constructive feedback to other students on their communication skills (both written and oral)
  • One written assignment “Writing for different audiences” (1000 words, plus 500 words of peer review). 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. (30%)
  • Online science blog (minimum of 1500 words during semester). Students must post to the blog at least 3 times during semester and also respond to the posts of other students. (30%)
  • Group project (approximately 60 hours of contribution to group work). Students will interview a University of Melbourne researcher and a) write a press release based on the research, b) produce visual material to explain the research to a primary school audience; and c) give a group oral presentation. Due week 12 (40%)
Prescribed 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
  • Reflect on their own communication skills

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