Author: Frans van Dam – Utrecht University, Netherlands


  • Marina Joubert – Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Andy Ridgway – UWE Bristol, United Kingdom

Online courses offer flexible modes of study, allowing science communication practitioners to learn about research who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, such as those who are outside the country or lack the time to attend conventional courses. On campus, when integrated into ‘face-to-face’ courses, online modules help students to be better prepared. Instead of meeting briefly each week, an online learning class becomes an ongoing community. Moreover, in the COVID era, lecturers and students worldwide have experienced the possibilities and challenges of online learning.

New questions
Online education introduces new questions, about the benefits of face-to-face contact, the pros and cons of synchronous and asynchronous teaching, questions about course fees and how connections between participants. Moreover, teaching online requires a thorough revision of a course.

Sharing experiences
At the same time, online learning enables easy exchange of course modules. In this demonstration, three lecturers share their experiences in designing and delivering online courses on science communication. And what are the lessons learned for the post-COVID era?

For science communicators in southern Africa, Marina Joubert has been teaching a six-week introductory science communication course for the past five years. Andy Ridgway delivered an online continuing professional development course in science writing attended by participants from around the world. Frans van Dam recently developed a course in public engagement in which students design an activity for a researcher. The speakers will briefly demonstrate their experiences in the context of communication and education theory.

In the second part of this session, groups of participants will generate ideas on areas of science communication research that are difficult to cover in face-to-face teaching but could be covered effectively in an online programme; thus, transforming their course curricula. They will also be asked to consider how online learning could further improve in / after COVID times.
The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Demonstration
Theme: Transformation