MNKOM9010 – Communicating Science

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Communicating scientific knowledge is an important skill for any PhD candidate aiming for a successful career in academic research, private companies or in the public sector. Communication skills also contribute to critical thinking, dialogue between scientists, and a closer relationship between scientists and the public.

In this course, you will develop the skills you need to communicate science to fellow scientists and to the public. Participants will discuss and explore how the writing process contributes to scientific thinking, and how writing is an essential tool for learning, discovery and communication.

You will learn methods to generate ideas, strategies for how to draft, structure and revise a text or a presentation, and techniques to give and receive feedback from peers. You will learn to analyze various genres in science communication, and how to evaluate and effectively employ visual communication in articles, online and in presentations.

Since the course includes writing about your own PhD-project, it will be advantageous to be in your third or fourth semester.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you are able to:

  • reflect on the value of communicating science as a PhD candidate and in a future career
  • reflect on what different genres in science communication have in common
  • identify and evaluate strategies to effectively communicate science to scientists and to the general public
  • communicate your own research to a specific audience by choosing an appropriate genre and style.

Admission

PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

The course has limited intake capacity. Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:

  1. PhD candidates at the MN faculty who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included
  2. Other PhD candidates at the MN faculty
  3. PhD candidates at the University of Oslo
  4. Visiting PhD candidates

All applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting candidate within a given deadline.

Teaching

The course is taught as a two-week intensive course, followed by two weeks of individual work with the home exam. The teaching consists of lectures, workshops, discussions and peer feedback sessions.

The course material includes both written, oral and visual science communication. The course requires active participation from all participants, both in writing assignments during workshops and in discussions based drafts written by fellow PhD candidates.

The pedagogical framework for the course is based on process-oriented writing, combined with participatory methods from design and creative writing. The teaching encourages you to use writing and reflection as techniques to approach future communication challenges like scientists.

The course is divided into three parts. The first part teaches you how to analyze a scientific article relevant to your field of study, and how to prepare a presentation related to your own research. Here, you will write and annotate a scientific abstract related to your own research project, and prepare a scientific presentation (a poster or a short talk).

The second part teaches you the basic elements of storytelling, and how to communicate science to a broader audience using both textual and visual media. Here, you will write and annotate a popular science article and prepare a short presentation for a non-scientific audience.

The third part, the home exam, teaches you how to employ your knowledge about science communication to a new and unfamiliar genre. You must choose a genre, an audience and an appropriate message to communicate, and must submit a text, a video or a graphical presentation as your final delivery. The submission must also include descriptions of analyzed reference works, reflections on the writing process, and a short text describing the reasoning behind the strategies selected to communicate effectively.

Attendance at the first lecture is mandatory.

Attendance at 80 percent of the course and approval of the four assignments is required to be allowed to take the home exam. 

Examination

Two weeks after the final day of teaching, participants must submit a written home exam.

Approval of the four assignments is required to be allowed to take the home exam.

 

 

Examination support material

Support material is allowed during the home exam period. 

Language of examination

You may submit your home exam in Norwegian or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Evaluation

The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course

Credits

5

Level

PhD

Teaching

Every autumn

Examination

Every autumn

Teaching language

English