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SCOM301 Science and the Public

The theory and practice of making science public, including participatory science, outreach and public engagement events.

Learn how to bring science and the public together, from museum exhibits to participatory and citizen science: science communication is about bringing scientific knowledge to the public, but it's also about bringing the public's knowledge, concerns and interest to science. So how do we include the larger society into our science? And how do give the broader public a voice in scientific matters?

In this paper, we focus on the participatory and public aspects of science communication, both in theory and practice. We'll look at the relationship between science and society and gain some practical know-how for strengthening that relationship. Working with the University's Centre for Science Communication (one of the largest such graduate teaching centres in the world), we'll take you through the various ways science can be made public, culminating in the class running a public science-engagement event.

Paper title Science and the Public
Paper code SCOM301
Subject Science Communication
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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54 200-level points
Recommended Preparation
SCOM 209
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

Dr. Fabien Medvecky (

Teaching staff

Dr. Fabien Medvecky

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-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • 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
  • Develop skills in engaging the public with science information in a number of formats
  • Develop skills in presenting science in a public event
  • Develop skills to engage the public to participate in science
  • Develop oral communication skills

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 28-32, 34, 36-39, 41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 16:00-16:50 29-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Wednesday 14:00-15:50 33, 40