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SCOM301 Engaging the Public with Science

Theory and practice of making science public. Fosters creative, powerful communication of science in the modern world, including how to connect society with science and technology by enhancing enjoyment of scientific discovery.

Learn the theory and practice of making science public, including participatory science, outreach and public engagement events. 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 build the relationship between science and society? And how do we 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 as we look at some practical know-how for strengthening the relationship between science and society. 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 various ways science can engage with the public, culminating in the running of a public science-engagement event.

Paper title Engaging the Public with Science
Paper code SCOM301
Subject Science Communication
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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54 200-level points
Recommended Preparation
SCOM 109
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

Dr Fabien Medvecky (

Teaching staff

Dr Fabien Medvecky

Teaching Arrangements

This paper is taught via seminars and workshops.

Selected papers are made available online through Blackboard.
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

Students who successfully complete this paper will:

  • 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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Semester 2

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