Being a scientist or any other academic today means not just navigating the world of research but also interacting with the community, reaching out via the digital realm and having at your disposal modern and exciting communication skills. So why settle for a standard science or humanities degree when you can become workplace ready by taking the new Science Communication minor alongside your major. Starting in 2017, the Centre for Science Communication and the Department of Media, Film and Communication at the University of Otago are offering this exciting new Minor in Science Communication.
The Minor is designed to complement an existing Major in either the humanities or the natural sciences with the latest in science communication, both practical and theoretical. The Minor is composed of five papers, four compulsory and one elective. The four compulsory papers provide a background to communication theory, an understanding of the societal context within which science and science communication operates, as well as a whole host of practical skills such as film making, hosting public events, and creative non-fiction writing. The elective paper allows you to pursue more specialised interest, from the philosophy of science, to journalistic writing, to public health promotions.
The compulsory papers will be:
MFCO 103 Introduction to Communication Studies
This paper is an introduction to communication theories, media and genres and will introduces students to the concepts and debates that are vital for the study of communication today. Students will also be introduced to important areas of study, such as science communication and popular communication.
SCOM209 Communicating Science: An Introduction
This paper will introduce the students to science communication as a field and will teach them the practical aspects of one-way, audience directed science communication. Students will learn about the theories of how and why we communicate science before turning to some practical know-how. Specifically, they will be taught how to communicate science to a non-specialist audience from writing a media release, a biography, to presenting science, to making a short film.
MFCO222 Science, Technology, and Society
The paper examines how social, political, cultural and material conditions shape scientific work, and how science, in turn, shapes society. Because of the central role of science, technology and medicine in driving modern developments, understanding the relationships among science, technology and society is crucial for understanding the history of humanity and the contemporary world. The paper explores general themes in the field of science, technology and society, as well as specific case studies involving key controversies and debates, and how various knowledges are used in these debates.
SCOM301 Science and the Public
This paper will cover advanced topics on the theory and practice of making science public, including participatory science, outreach, and public engagement events. Students will learn how to design and evaluate a science engagement event, as well as learn about other ways science and the public can interact. The paper will also consider some of the more theoretical aspects of making science public, delving into critical areas about the relationship between science, knowledge, the public and society.
The electives are:
ECOL 212 Ecological Applications
ENGL228 Writing For The Professions
ENGL327 Creative Non-Fiction
HIST229 Science And Society 1789-1914
HIST306 Medical History
MFCO220 Writing For The Media
MFCO223 Documentary Film And Media
MFCO321 Strategic Communication
PHIL225 Philosophy Of Science
PHIL235 Environmental Philosophy
POLS207 Environmental Politics
PUBH202 Health Promotion
PUBH203 Health Policy And Politics
RELS217/317 Religion Science And Magic
SOCI208 Environmental Sociology
TOUR306 Ecotourism And Sustainable Development