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SCOM209 Communicating Science - an Introduction

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An introduction to science communication theory and practice, including non-fiction writing and filmmaking.

Learn how to communicate science to a non-specialist audience, from writing a biography to making a film. Science is an integral part of society; so how do we communicate it to a non-specialist audience? In this paper, we cover the basics of science communication, both theory and practice. We'll introduce you to the theory of how and why we communicate science before turning to some practical know-how. Working with the University's Centre for Science Communication (one of the largest such graduate teaching centres in the world), we'll cover a range of practical skills, from creative non-fiction writing to podcasting, culminating in you making your own short film.

Paper title Communicating Science - an Introduction
Paper code SCOM209
Subject Science Communication
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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54 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science
Enrolments for this paper are limited, and it requires departmental permission. View more information about limitations of enrolment.

Teaching staff

Dr Cathy Cole
Dr Gianna Savoie
Steve Ting

Paper Structure
Seminars and workshops
Selected papers are made available online through Blackboard.
Course outline
A course outline will be on Blackboard the week prior to commencement of teaching.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Information literacy, Self-motivated.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this paper you should:
  • Be familiar with the current issues in science communication
  • Understand key current trends and movements in science communication
  • Be able to strategise different science communication techniques as needed
  • Develop skills in presenting engaging written science information
  • Develop skills in presenting science in a video format
  • Develop skills in presenting science in various digital formats
  • Develop oral communication skills

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-16:50 9, 11-13, 19, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-16:50 10, 20-21
Friday 14:00-16:50 18