SCIENCE 7020 - Communicating Science

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2014

Overview of science communication in the 21st century; Science writing: structuring articles and reports, writing effectively for both specialist and non-specialist audiences; Use of oral presentations and displays to communicate science; Use of emerging online social media in science communication.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code SCIENCE 7020
    Course Communicating Science
    Coordinating Unit Sciences General
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 5 hours per week
    Course Description Overview of science communication in the 21st century; Science writing: structuring articles and reports, writing effectively for both specialist and non-specialist audiences; Use of oral presentations and displays to communicate science; Use of emerging online social media in science communication.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Natalie Williamson

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 an awareness and understanding of the background, fundamentals and theory of traditional and emerging media and how these relate to the communication of science.
    2 the ability to produce reports and written communications suitable for government and policymakers, newspaper articles and online publication.
    3 the ability to write a scientific paper suitable for publishing in a refereed journal.
    4 oral communication skills from speeches to soundbites.
    5 online communication skills from blog posts to viral videos.
    6 radio, print and television media management skills.
    7 the ability to build and maintain a network of contacts.
    8 an appreciation of the scope and diversity of science communication.
    9 development of responsible, ethical and respectful attitudes as the field undergoes disruptive change fuelled by rapid technology advancement.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-8
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2-6
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-7
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 4, 5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-9
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 9
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The Little Penguin Handbook (2nd Australasian Edition) (Lester Faigley: Longman; 2012)
    Recommended Resources
    Sharing Knowledge: A Guide to Effective Science Communication (Julian Cribb, Tjempaka Sari Hartomo: CSIRO Publishing; 2002) (Link to e-book from Barr Smith Library available on MyUni)

    Writing for Science (3rd ed; Heather Silyn-Roberts: Pearson, 2012)  (Available from the Barr Smith Library)

    Writing Scientific Research Articles: Strategy and Steps (Margaret Cargill, Patrick O’Connor: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009) (Available from the Barr Smith Library)

    Other required/recommended texts will be based on OER (open education resource) principles and will be available for free download online.

    Other reading material as provided by lecturers and/or made available on MyUni.
    Online Learning
    It is important that all students maintain active communication channels with the course coordinator and course teaching staff throughout the course. The primary communication channels from staff to students are email and MyUni for course-related announcements, teaching material and additional resources.

    The University's online learning management system, MyUni (, will be used to provide students with a variety of learning resources, including (but not limited to) the following:

    * Lecture notes
    * Assessment information
    * Marking rubrics
    * Links to other websites that may assist learning, or provide further information

    All learning resources will be provided electronically, and no printed copies will be supplied.

    MyUni will also be used on a regular basis to post announcements about assessment deadlines and other information related to the course and to send students emails to their University-provided student email account.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    No information currently available.

    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.