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About this module

This module aims to provide students with better and critical understanding of increasing need and changing conditions for evidence-based communication. Traditional as well as newly emerging problematic science communication topics are discussed and analysed in the context of the contemporary media environment taking into the account following questions:  what kind of challenges science communicators face today in the environment of increased uncertainty and rapid change? How do we communicate science effectively in the era of disinformation, information overflow or fake news? What are the recommendations, guidelines and useful resources for young professionals?

Knowing the audience: it is important to know, who are the students you are going discuss the material with, - where they are coming from, what are their background and what knowledge do they have about the topics, so that you could adapt/adjust some of the content to the level of their knowledge, understanding and direct it closer to their field of interest. For instance, this module of Science Communication was tested with the students coming from different backgrounds and holding different level of diplomas, however, it was not an obstacle, - through open discussions and active participation students were able to find their own approach to the course and the material.  

Being open and flexible: LIVE discussions are very important. While pre-recorded videos provide students with study material, it is essential to have a  discussion and address some of the questions, issues, which are important for the students. Being flexible and open and able to give the floor to the students to express themselves and get their feedback is as much important as providing them with the material. The discussions can be carried out in larger or smaller groups, depending on overall number of students and on individual preferences.

Explaining the reasons why this module is the part of the study course: while this module might be seen as relevant (especially taken into the consideration the global situation today) and could be successfully integrated and discussed in a variety of different study courses (e.g., social studies, communication, psychology, health studies, technologies, etc.), however, it is essential to make clarifications for the students, why should we talk about Science Communication in this particular study course. Such explanations and justifications increase students’ motivation and participation

Upon completing the module, the student will be able to:

  • understand, explain and critically assess the concepts, practices, and principles of science news reporting;
  • critically assess, explain and discuss the challenges and opportunities science reporters and media channels face today in the environment of increased uncertainty and rapid change;
  • understand and assess the importance of evidence based information in the era of “infodemics”;
  • apply their knowledge in practice by creating science news reports or other content;
  • find best solutions and effective ways to communicate evidence based information for lay audiences.

Upon completing the module, the student will be able to:

  • find, evaluate and manage relevant information; distinguish between high and low quality information (including fake news); propose new ideas to solve complex challenges in the field of science communication (information and data literacy, DigComp p. 23-25);
  • interact, share, engage and collaborate through different channels and means while successfully communicating evidence-based information to the public (communication and collaboration, DigComp p. 26-31);
  • creatively use the knowledge of the field and the practical skills to find solutions for complex problems and propose new ideas and processes to the field of science communication (problem solving, DigComp p. 40-43);
  • clearly understand and value the principles of justice, fairness, and equality in  the processes of science communication (CDC p. 18);
  • exercise the obligations and responsibilities of active citizenship at either the local, national or global level by communicating science (CDC p. 17);
  • meet commitments to others (CDC p. 17);
  • takes action to stay informed about civic issues (CDC p. 30);
  • identify any discrepancies or inconsistencies or divergences in materials being analysed (CDC p. 36);
  • evaluate the preconceptions and assumptions upon which materials are based (CDC p. 36);
  • analyse how parts of a whole interact with each other to produce overall outcomes (CDC p. 36);
  • analyse the motives, intentions and agendas of the people who produce propaganda (or fake news, misinformation, etc.), stereotypes, intolerance and hate speech in the mass media (e.g. newspapers, TV) (CDC p. 50);
  • describe the effects that propaganda has in the contemporary world (CDC p.50).
  • Main concepts, models and principles of journalism and media, e.g., agenda setting, media framing, gatekeeping, evidence based reporting;
  • Basic understanding of news reporting and principles of journalistic work: how journalists gather and verify information (?); what is newsworthiness (?); how media attract public attention (?) and what effect it might have on public (?);
  • Knowledge of basic communication concepts and models, including  understanding of the communication process and different types of it; knowing main public communication actors and principles; etc.
  • Ability to gather information, critically assess it, verify using different approaches and report it in several ways and forms;
  • Basic knowledge about scientific process and science communication principles, including structure of scientific article, main resources for science articles, public understanding of science, etc.