Final year science communication projects for undergraduate science students

Final year science communication projects for undergraduate science students

Author: Claire Concannon – Otago Museum, New Zealand

Co-author: Muriel Grenon – National University of Ireland Galway

The Cell EXPLORERS programme based in the National University of Ireland Galway is an educational outreach programme that engages with the public on STEM topics. As part of the Cell EXPLORERS working model, third level education students can opt to complete science communication final year projects as part of their curricula. The students are assigned a science communication challenge from a research laboratory and are then tasked with creating, piloting and evaluating novel science communication resources. The students are guided through the project by a series of interactive self-reflective workshops and seminars. These cover key concepts and methods in the fields of science communication and science education, and aim to equip the students with skills to develop effective resources. All resources created are then piloted within the community and the students are asked to reflect on their evaluations.

This module helps to address some science communication education challenges. In today’s research world there is an increasing requirement for dialogue between scientists, policy-makers and the public, thus it is necessary for future scientists to learn communication skills during their training. There is also increasing recognition that undergraduate science students should be equipped not just with their subject specific skills and knowledge but with generic positive graduate attributes that will help them in future careers. In addition, the nature of these projects require collaboration both in and outside of the university. As such the projects reflect real life challenges and act to strengthen links between the university and its surrounding community.

These projects are currently in their 4th year and more than 40 students from final year Biochemistry, Microbiology and Zoology courses have undertaken this project. Here we will outline the structure and content of the project module and discuss the results of evaluation of this module.

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

Presentation type: Show, tell and talk
Theme: Science
Area of interest: Teaching science communication