A qualitative study of reflective accounts of a science communication training

A qualitative study of reflective accounts of a science communication training

Author: Mitsuru Kudo – Osaka University, Japan

Eri Mizumachi – Osaka University
Ekou Yagi – Osaka University

At Osaka University, Japan, we run a postgraduate minor programme that delivers a range of courses in which students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds work together to tackle emerging questions concerning science-society relations and science communication through social scientific approaches. The programme places emphasis on developing students’ capacity for working across academic, industrial, public and government sectors towards collaborative and socially responsible innovation, so that the graduates can make use of their learning in the programme in their professional careers after graduation. In order for us to better understand what aspects of our educational programme are regarded as the most valuable by relevant professionals in the real-world science communication situations, we have been conducting small scale interview research with the programme graduates to explore how they retrospectively look back at their learning in the programme and evaluate it in light of a set of skills and expertise required in their current professions. Although the interview research is still in progress, we already have started to capture a number of both expected and somewhat unexpected comments that point to strengths and limitations of our educational programme. For example, one of the noticeable characteristics of many courses provided in the programme, which is multi-disciplinary student-centred discussion, is regarded by the interviewed graduates as highly effective in equipping students with skills in cross-disciplinary communication. At the same time, they are also aware that learning primarily through discussion by students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds tends to divert the focus of the discussion away from cautiously evaluating the rationale and feasibility of ideas presented in the discussion, which would be of critical importance in the real-world professions. In this presentation, we report on some of the notable preliminary findings and discuss how they should be taken into account in further developing the programme.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Individual paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Teaching science communication