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NES3114 : Science Communication for Sustainable Development

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Miss Janine Maddison
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 30 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System


• To introduce science communication as a skill and as a career choice.
• To explore a range of careers in science communication and understand the relationship of these careers to
students’ courses as well as exploring aspects of science communication within other STEM careers.
• To examine and compare the principles and techniques of science communication in different media and when
catering to different audiences.
• To develop students’ communication and overall employability skills by creating a short portfolio of work
showcasing their skills in science communication.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will include:
• An introduction to science communication
• Science and the media
• Research and policy
• Museums and exhibitions
• Digital media and science
• Outreach and informal learning

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading122:0024:00Required and suggested reading given after every lecture
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching23:006:00Oral presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:00Workshop on presentation skills in small groups
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork110:0010:00Visits to museums or science centres
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery22:004:00Presentation practice and feedback session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study130:0030:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures: The lectures will introduce the module and the field of science communication. The lectures will cover the skills required for effective science communication and introduce some of the areas in which science communicators work, such as museums, policy and outreach. This will be supported by guest lecturers who will explain both the nature of each role and the communication techniques required, allowing students to compare and contrast science communication in different contexts. Students will have the opportunity to pose questions to the guest lecturers to broaden their understanding of science communication.

Fieldwork: Optional visits to local museums or science centres will provide students with a greater understanding of the challenges facing communicating science to the public, and give a behind-the-scenes look at how public spaces are designed to maximise engagement with science.

Workshops: The workshops will help students to develop their presentation skills in small groups allowing ample time for practice and feedback for each student. The sessions provide students an opportunity to improve their presentation and science communication skills not only for application in their assessment but also for future public speaking they may be required to do in further study or employment.

Drop-in: Optional drop in session to allow students to practice their presentation and gain informal feedback prior to assessment.

Directed Research and Reading: References to key literature will be given after each lecture to guide students to expand their knowledge and engage in further study.

Small group teaching: timeslots for students to deliver there assessed oral presentations

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Examination1M5010 minute individual presentation
Written exercise1M50a piece of science communication according to a brief set by an external organisation or internal team (max 2000 words)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Portfolio1MMixed Media Portfolio-Check in half way through module for feedback and or peer review.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Oral Presentation: The presentation will allow students to showcase the science communication skills they have learned throughout the module as they will be asked to present a piece of scientific research in an engaging and accessible way. They will also demonstrate their abilities to adjust their communication to a specific audience. Students will also be assessed on their overall presentation style and skill, which they will develop throughout the module.

Written exercise: This assessment allows students to showcase another style of science commination to show the breadth of their learning. They will be allowed to choose the format of their work, to allow them to focus on and practise an area of science communication that is of interest to them. This enables students to develop further skills and knowledge of an area of science communication that may be more relevant to their personal career plans.

Reading Lists