[PCST] New postgraduate course on communicating science in the information age
R.M.Holliman at open.ac.uk
Tue Dec 2 16:34:23 UTC 2008
Communicating science in the information age
Colleagues working in the Science Faculty at the Open University, UK are
delighted to announce a new course in the postgraduate science programme
called SH804 Communicating science in the information age.
Registration is now open for this course. To find out more about the
course, please visit the Open University's course and qualifications
website at: http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01SH804.
The course draws on the expertise of a good number of experienced
practitioners and researchers to examine a range of contexts where
contemporary science is communicated.
The examination of contemporary examples includes discussion of emerging
forms of science communication, including blogs, open access and social
networking, and international debates about public service broadcasting
for science in the context of the digital switchover. The course also
considers recent developments in how science is communicated in museums
and discovery centres, and what recent calls for upstream public
engagement with science might mean for those interested in communicating
science. However, the course also examines media forms that have endured
over time, including various forms of print media, such as popular
science books, journals, magazines and newspapers, and their broadcast
equivalents, such as science on the radio.
In exploring these different media forms we draw on a range of
scientific case studies. These include recent debates about the
communication of climate change and how this relates to representations
of scientific consensus, but also important considerations of accuracy
and impartiality. We also examine ideas about the strategic management
of scientific information for particular reasons. For example, a
historical case study examining the Windscale nuclear accident from the
1950s provides a vehicle for exploring contemporary ideas about openness
and transparency. This is compared to more recent communications that
have promoted the work being conducted at CERN, notably with the recent
announcements in relation to the Large Hadron Collider.
A further case study that examines the role of patents and intellectual
property in relation to a tobacco plant facilitates exploration of the
innovation agenda in relation to contemporary science communication. In
so doing, we explore whether the dual imperatives of objectivity and
impartiality that scientists have cherished for so long are being
challenged by the demands to seek a return on investment in intellectual
capital? Historical examples are also addressed, including an
examination of the communication that followed the discovery of the
structure of DNA, and a critical investigation of the emergence of peer
review as a crucial and enduring mechanism for verifying new scientific
This course is delivered almost exclusively online, and is available to
those wishing to study part-time and at a distance. This includes those
who wish to study from beyond the UK. Other course materials are
delivered in more traditional forms, including two readers that have
been co-published with Oxford University Press (Holliman et al.
* Holliman, R., Whitelegg, E., Scanlon, E., Smidt, S. and Thomas,
J. (2009a). (eds.) Investigating science communication in the
information age: Implications for public engagement and popular media.
Oxford University Press, Oxford. For more information, see
* Holliman, R., Thomas, J., Smidt, S., Scanlon, E., and Whitelegg,
E. (2009b). (eds.) Practising science communication in the information
age: Theorising professional practices. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
For more information, see
Please note that if you are planning to study the course, these books
are supplied as part of the materials.
SH804 is a component course for the following Open
* MSc in Science and Society;
* MSc in Science;
* Postgraduate Diploma in Science and Society
Dr. Richard Holliman
Senior Lecturer in Science Communication
The Open University
Tel +44 (0)1908 654646
For more information about my teaching, research and science outreach
and public engagement interests, see:
For more information about the Informing Science Outreach and Public
Engagement (ISOTOPE) Project, visit the home page at:
http://isotope.open.ac.uk <http://isotope.open.ac.uk/> .
For more information about the Invisible Witnesses Project, visit the
homepage at: http://www.open.ac.uk/invisible-witnesses
The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).
More information about the PCST