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Science Communication: Video Research Pitch (2 ECTS)

In this PhD level course students will learn about the common skills that all effective science communicators have: identifying and characterising the target audience, distilling the relevant information to be communicated, effective ways to deliver and receive information, and the variety of techniques and media by which scientific information is communicated. The final outcome of the course will consist of students presenting their video elevator pitches at the KBC DAYS 2021.

If you are a PhD student or Postdoc, we encourage you to present your project during the KBC DAYS 2021, November 9-10, in a form of a short video research pitch and a break-out room discussion. Your pre-recorded videos will be available on the conference homepage during the KBC DAYS. In your personal break-out room, you will discuss your video presentation and your project with the KBC DAYS participants. You will be the moderator of your break-out room discussion. Feel free to prepare your discussion as you like (e.g., prepare some background information that you can show during the discussion).

To help you to present yourself and your project in the best way, we offer you to participate in the course "Science Communication: Video Research Pitch (2 ECTS)". As a part of this course, you will produce a video research pitch.

Note! The course is open for all PhD students and junior Postdocs, but midterm PhD students will be given priority for the course participation. The number of course places is limited to 16 (first come, first served)!

Course Syllabus

Credits: 2 ECTS credits
Established: 2020-09-15
Syllabus valid from: 2020-09-15
Main field of study: General science
Grading system: G pass, U Fail
Level of Education: Doctoral course

Dates:

First part: September 9 & 10, 2021 - focus on developing your message

Second part: October 6 & 8, 2021 - focus on crafting your video pitch

Language: English

Place: The aim is to meet in person, but depending on the epidemiological restrictions, the meetings might be partially or fully moved online

1. Requirements

Admitted PhD students / junior postdocs

2. Learning Outcomes

After completing the course, students shall be able to:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe the importance of a clear message in interpersonal communication, and different ways to communicate effectively in written, spoken, and other forms. Understand that a clear message is as important in communicating to their peers as it is to the general public.
  • Describe how science is valued in society in a variety of cultural, economic, political, and social contexts. Understand what each of these potential audiences expect from the scientists and the institutions they represent.
  • Understand the various communication channels available to them and the different audiences they can reach through these.

Competence and skills

  • Develop the tools to put individual research into a broader context for various audiences, including the classroom teaching environment (undergraduate and graduate), public engagement, industry, and policy.
  • Demonstrate creative ability to communicate in ways that audiences will pay attention to, understand, remember and act on.
  • Possess communication skills for the oral presentation of scientific arguments to an informed audience.
  • Film a short (2-minutes) elevator pitch encompassing the skills and competence outlined above.

Judgement and approach

  • Discuss the purposes of science communication in society.
  • Discuss factors that influence the context of how (popularized) science communication can be carried out, particularly the role of prior knowledge, experience, attitudes and beliefs.
  • Critically reflect upon the challenges by different contexts and audiences in relation to the communication of science.

3. Contents
Course outline

Day 1: 9 September 2021

8:15-12:00: Why and where do we communicate science? First elevator pitches and introduction to the Message Box.
13:00-16:30: Prepare your Message Box, give and receive feedback on message boxes.

Day 2: 10 September 2021

8:15-12:00: From message box to elevator pitch script.
13:00-16:30: Prepare your first elevator pitch script, give and receive feedback on elevator pitches.

Day 3: 6 October 2021

8:15-16:30: Planning video pitches. Afternoon feedback exercises on film scripts.

Day 4: 8 October 2021

8:15-16:30: Filming video pitches. Afternoon feedback exercises on video pitches.

Course Description

In an increasingly linked and networked world, scientists need to be effective communicators to many different audiences, from grant agencies to scientific peers, public audiences and the media. To communicate science well does not always come naturally, but just like other aspects of scientific work, science communication is a skill that can be learnt and developed. In this PhD level course students will learn about the common skills that all effective science communicators have: identifying and characterizing the target audience, distilling the relevant information to be communicated, effective ways to deliver and receive information, and the variety of techniques and media by which scientific information is communicated.

Course Content

The course will be hosted by a science communication professional. The course will cover the following topics:

1. Why communicate science?
2. The media ecosystem – how people encounter science in their everyday lives (radio, TV, newspapers, blogs, podcasts, social media, websites).
3. Elevator talks – how to distill information down to the essential points.
4. Creating a video elevator talk.

The nature of this subject will require active participation, interaction and creativity. Students will be required to communicate with each other during the course to practice and develop these skills. The activities that participants will undertake include:

• Story boarding and the Message Box tool
• Writing a short introductory text about yourself and your research (2-3 sentences)
• Creating a video ‘elevator talk’ about your own research (2 minutes)

4. Instructions

This course consists of 4 sessions with short introductions to course topics, and hands-on exercises and feedback sessions with the instructor, and in small groups.

Practical exercises will occur in small groups, e.g. one-on-one between two students with instruction, guidance and support from the course instructor. Students will offer feedback for each other’s communications efforts, e.g. elevator talk, switch roles and then form new one-on-one groups. After small group activities, students will then present their communication effort to the larger group for feedback.

The final outcome of the course will consist of students presenting their video elevator pitches at the KBC days. These videos and the presentation of the videos will inform their final evaluation at the end of the course. The course instructor will provide written feedback on these videos after KBC days. In addition, the short text produced in the course will be used on the KBC DAYS conference website to introduce the students and their videos.

5. Examination

The grade will be determined by the level of participation and quality in the daily practical activities and the video elevator pitch. Student participation requires actively developing communication tools and providing critical feedback to other students throughout the course.

6. Other Directives

Academic credit transfers are always reviewed individually according to the University’s set of rules and academic credit transfer regulations.

7. Recommended Course Literature

  • Nancy Baron 2010. Escape from the ivory tower: a guide to making your science matter. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Some excerpts from the book above and any other course materials used will be available online through the course’s Canvas website, or given out during the course.

There is a lot of practical, hands-on work during the course such as crafting your message and making a video. You will need internet connectivity, a laptop, something to record video on (e.g. laptop, smart phones, tablet computer, and digital cameras with a video function) and you will need to know how to transfer your video to a common computer.

We aim at meetings in person, but based on the COVID-19 restrictions during fall 2021, this course might be conducted partially or totally through a virtual conferencing platform, such as Zoom.

Contact

Gabrielle Beans Picón
Senior research engineer
E-mail
Email

Registration

Registration form
Registration form

Register latest on the 30 August. Remember also to register for the KBC DAYS 2021