Training for the future: Teaching science communication and new media

Training for the future: Teaching science communication and new media

Author: Samantha Vilkins – Australian National University, Australia


  • Dominique Brossard – University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • Sarah Mojarad – University of Southern California, United States
  • Erinma Ochu – The University of Reading, United Kingdom
  • Kim Trollip – Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, South Africa

How do we train new science communicators to work in a rapidly shifting digital landscape?

Scientists and science communicators are increasingly reliant on social and new media in their work, which presents both benefits and challenges for engaging with others.

While success stories can be easy to see, designing an environment where each student comes away with experience and enthusiasm is difficult when starting up against big publishers, paid sponsorships, and algorithmic content controls. Such issues also compound differently across the globe. Technological advances and digital freedoms vary dramatically from country to country, and data privacy initiatives such as in the EU show the difficulty of standardisation across digital and political borders. Our teaching, too, may not translate as universally as we assume.

How can we best prepare new science communicators? Can we embed optimism and ethical perspectives when working in such spaces — now, and into the future?

This panel brings together international experience in teaching, research and practice in new media to speak on broad issues across learning foundational digital skills, building trust online, and how communities engage and disengage under changing technological regulations and restrictions.

The panel is chaired by Samantha Vilkins, lecturer for the undergraduate and postgraduate course Science Communication and the Web at the Australian National University. She is joined by Professor and Chair of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dominique Brossard, Professor Sarah Mojarad from the University of Southern California, Digital Society Fellow at The University of Reading Dr Erinma Ochu, and Kim Trollip of the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa.

Join us as we discuss not only what skills are required today, but how we can prepare students to think big with future media, and how our training needs to adapt.

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

Presentation type: Roundtable discussion
Theme: Technology