Communicating Agricultural Sciences

Subject MULT90060 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
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: 48 hours
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

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 the Disability Liaison Unit:


Assoc Prof Brian Davidson


Subject Overview:

This subject provides students with advanced level written, verbal and visual skills needed to communicate with a wide audience. Students learn that agriculture is not only built on a firm scientific basis, but also has a strong social science element to it as well. Through a set of lectures and small tutorial groups students will be exposed to the reasons why rhetoric is a required skill in science. They will learn that while the audience is wide, to be effective the message needs to be clear, concise and targeted. They will be introduced to and encouraged to adopt the appropriate techniques that improve the way they deliver their message, whether they are using the written word, speech or some other electronic form of communication. They will also be taught to be critical of their and other people’s work. Students are asked to critically evaluate what they like and dislike about different examples of communications, with the aim of inculcating them with a set of skills they can employ in a range of different circumstances and situations.

In undertaking this task students will be required to first write a short proposal on some research idea they have. From this base they will be asked to develop the idea into a poster presentation, thus exposing them to a wide range of written and visual techniques. In addition, they will be asked to complete a short simulated ‘interview’ and partake in a debate in order to learn verbal skills. Finally, they will be asked to develop a web page from their original idea. To learn these tasks students will be required to peer review their colleague’s work.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Know why they need to communicate effectively to different audiences
  • Identify and be able to use techniques that enhance the communication of ideas
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently in a concise and clear manner to a targeted audience
  • Differentiate the tasks and skills required to communicate in written, verbal and visual modes
  • Critique their own and other scientific works
  • Recognise what works well in each environment from what does not
  • 15 minute Speech due approximately in week 6 (20%)
  • Two hour in-class test due approximately in week 7 (35%)
  • 500 word Peer review due approximately in week 9 (5%)
  • 1500 word written communication due approximately in week 11 (20%)
  • Poster due approximately in week 12 (20%)
Prescribed Texts:

Lindsay, D. (2011) Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words, CSIRO Publishing, Clayton South, Australia. ISBN no. 9780643100466.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

In this subject the generic skills that are developed help students to improve their written communication skills, along with those visual and verbal skills required to present an idea. It should also sharpen their problem-solving skills as communication is taught as an aid to investigation, along with its communication aspects. Finally, given the nature of the assessment framework students should enhance their skills in organisation.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point (B) Master of Agricultural Sciences
150 Point Master of Agricultural Sciences
200 Point Master of Agricultural Sciences

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