Education

Incorporating Communication Skills into Science Curriculum

I am evaluating a new curriculum that incorporates science communication training directly into science coursework. The aim is to find ways to turn science students into better communicators, improve their understanding of scientific content, and empower them in their future careers.

For many scientists, answering the question “What do you do?” can be difficult. Not that they don’t know the answer, but because most academic science programs don’t do much in the way of science communication training. Oftentimes, professors or advisors don’t have the time or expertise to help younger scientists when it comes to sharing their scientific knowledge outside of academia. By not teaching crosscutting skills like communication in science classes, academic departments fail their students. National and global surveys have shown that employers of recent graduate value communication skills more than discipline-specific knowledge. Furthermore, when students consider language and subject matter in parallel, an exchange occurs between the two cognitive spaces so that science is clarified through language and language stimulates reflection on scientific content.

McLachlan, R.L. (in prep). Integrating Written-Communication Skills into Undergraduate Science Curriculum.

Can we empower science students with communication skills by eliminating the barriers of time and expertise? – Project Campaign on Experiment.com