Week 13 - So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 05/03/2017 - 11:42

Happy summer, everyone!  I hope you had a little fun with our last (short) class, trying to lead your classmates to a story and watching them succeed (or not)!  I also hope you come away from this course with a stronger idea of what science communication is all about and how you can practice it in your daily and academic life at all levels of discourse.  May your babies be ever cute and easy to find.  Good luck, and definitely stay in touch!

Week 12 - (The Penultimate Post) "My Experiences with Sci Comm" Panel

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 09:29

We had some guests join us in class this week to tell us more about their own experiences with sci comm.  Patty Brennan, who through conservative-minded attacks on her research has become a champion in the defense of basic research; Katie Wu, a graduate student at Harvard who is the co-director of Science in the News, a massive outreach effort that spans all different kinds of media; and Bridget Macdonald, whose primary job these days involves outreach for the North Antlantic Landscape Conservation Coop.

Week 11 - Keeping it Simple, a Lesson in Tweeting

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:06

This week we borrowed a page (or several) from the Thing Explainer, Randall Monroe's book on explaining complex ideas using only the list of 1000 most commonly used English words.  First, we crafted a short (~30 word) summary of what we do using ONLY those words.  Then we worked to tighten them further to only 140 characters (or a single tweet), injecting in some more complex language while simultaneously preserving the simplicity of the statement.  I found it very interesting that several people pushed back on the exercise, feeling it was too silly or puerile to be truly useful.

Week 10 - Tell Us About Your Favorite Blog!

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 11:08

Hopefully this week's Favorite Blog presentation wasn't too stressful for you all!  I think they went great :)  Due to time constraints, I'm going to push the discussion aspect to the very beginning of next class, though we'll only have about 10 minutes to devote to it.  I wish we could have more time together!!!  

With all that in mind, here's your homework for this week:

Week 9 - Pitch and Title Workshop with TLS

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 04/05/2017 - 10:31

Hi everybody, I hope you enjoyed having Evan and Lian join our class this week as much as I did.  Hopefully you found their feedback useful.   For anyone who missed it, we took the pitches everyone wrote for homework last week and annotated them for jargon and assumptions.  Each pitch was read by four different people so that you all could get a few different perspectives on your work thus far.

Week 8 - Intro to Blogging

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 03/29/2017 - 15:13

This week, we spent a lot of time introducing the concept of blogging.  What does it mean to blog, what are some of the potential benefits and risks of blogging, and how can we handle negative feedback or, even scarier, deliberate trolls?  This was a discussion heavy class - if you missed it, I encourage you to talk to your fellow students about our in-class conversation.  Lecture slides are posted but will likely not be very useful without additional notes.

For next week, please do the following:

Week 7 - Jeff Blaustein and the UMass Public Engagement Project

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 03/22/2017 - 10:20

I hope you all enjoyed Jeff Blaustein's visit this week.  Jeff is a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, a member of the NSB program, and a long-time learner and educator right here at UMass.  His research focuses on the role of hormones, especially estrogen-like hormones, in brain function and mammalian behavior.  He has served as the editor-in-chief of Endocrinology, a top journal in his field.  His work with public engagement began very personally, when his wife got sick with breast cancer.

Week 6 - Learning About Industry with Dr. Marisha Godek

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 09:12

Hi all!  I hope you found this week's guest lecture useful.  Sorry I couldn't make it - the guy who was fixing the tile in my bathroom let out my cat overnight and I had to spend some time dealing with that situation.  Next week is, of course, spring break, so we will NOT be meeting.  Your homework over the break is twofold:

1) Drop me a comment here about the lecture I missed.  Tell me something interesting you learned and something you wish you'd heard more about.  Did you enjoy the lecture?  Why or why not?

2) ENJOY YOUR BREAK!

Week 5 - Difficult Concept Presentations

Submitted by dnavon on Wed, 03/01/2017 - 10:39

Hi all!  Fantastic job with your difficult presentation concepts this week.  You were all brilliant!  Remember - practice makes perfect, and you're just starting out.  Keep practicing!   We're striving to develop narrative intuition, or an instinctive feel for what makes a good story.  You can find examples of good (and bad!) stories all over science as well as in society.  When you watch a presentation from here on out, try to challenge yourself to answer the following questions: What is the story they are trying to tell?  What's the goal of this research?

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