MSc Science and Health Communication

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Science Communication Mentored Project

Unit code HSTM60622
Credit rating 30
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Centre for History of Science, Technology & Medicine (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This unit is an item of supervised coursework. It stands alone with its own course code because it is taken by all students, in parallel with their semester 2 units of which they have free choice. Students attend all four semester 2 units and select two to take for credit. Students will base their Mentored Project on their learning from one or more semester 2 units. The item of coursework will be chosen by the student and approved by the academic tutor, to ensure an appropriate level of challenge. From September 2021 Students can choose between doing an Organisation-Based Mentored Project or a Creative Mentored Project. Examples could be a proposal for a documentary; a gallery proposal; a short film; briefing notes for a Green Paper; a design for an interactive exhibit; or a research proposal. The projects will be supervised by the academic tutor. The ‘mentoring’ element will be provided by the course’s professional associates, most likely those who have contributed to the day schools. Mentoring will consist of guidance in the early stages of the project, and comments on a draft or pilot. 
 
 

Pre/co-requisites

Pre-requesites: Semester 1 (3) units (for part-time students)

Co-requesites: Semester 2 (4) units.

 

 

Aims

The unit aims to: 
• Allow students to develop a piece of work in science communication that is relevant to a professional context of their choosing 
• Appreciation of the skills, values and standards in a chosen professional specialism 
• Appreciation of the opportunities, constraints and processes of the relevant workplace 
• Independent research in academic and professional environments 
• Effective time-management and use of resources 
• Professional standard finish and delivery 
• Knowledge and understanding of potential outlets and audiences. 

Syllabus

This unit is an item of supervised coursework. It stands alone with its own course code because it is taken by all students, in parallel with their semester 2 units of which they have free choice. Students attend all four semester 2 units and select two to take for credit. Students will base their Mentored Project on their learning from one or more semester 2 units. The item of coursework will be chosen by the student and approved by the academic tutor, to ensure an appropriate level of challenge. From September 2021 Students can choose between doing an Organisation-Based Mentored Project or a Creative Mentored Project. Examples could be a proposal for a documentary; a gallery proposal; a short film; briefing notes for a Green Paper; a design for an interactive exhibit; or a research proposal. The projects will be supervised by the academic tutor. The ‘mentoring’ element will be provided by the course’s professional associates, most likely those who have contributed to the day schools. Mentoring will consist of guidance in the early stages of the project, and comments on a draft or pilot.

Teaching and learning methods

Students will draw primarily on a range of learning from lectures, discussions and encounters with real-world science communication and its practitioners, which is provided during semesters 1 and 2. Learning for the project in particular will be largely independent, with some one-on-one tutoring and some peer assessment. Advice will be sought from the professional mentor. Self directed activity and reflection will therefore be the main learning processes. On going peer feedback will be encouraged among classmates throughout the course of the project. 
 
Contact hours: Depending on the project, roughly four contact hours with the academic tutor and two exchanges with the professional mentor. 
 

Knowledge and understanding

• Research and learn in key areas of science communication 
• Appreciate the constraints and opportunities of the professional context 
• Recognise the forms, topics and styles that are appropriate for the medium and the moment 
• Identify and learn to use relevant technologies 
• Know how to access and approach the relevant people and institutions. 

Intellectual skills

•  Application of acquired academic knowledge concerning science communication 
•  Identify and imagine novel content and forms for particular media 
•  Construct and/or perform a communication that is persuasive and meaningful for a specific public 
•  Construct persuasive arguments for particular approaches to and implementations of that communication 
•  Understand the cultural and ethical aspects of the communication. 
 

Practical skills

• Manage time, materials and any other resources effectively 
• Use relevant equipment competently 
• Develop and process real and digital content efficiently and safely 
• Liaise with appropriate professionals and other relevant authorities. 
 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

• Manage the project with due regard to the self and others 
• Respond constructively to others’ needs and opinions 
• Act independently, but also within the institutional framework 
• Communicate effectively through relevant media. 
 

Assessment methods

  • Science Communication Product (Variable as form of project dependent on medium / topic) (50%)
  • Project proposal 2000 words (20%)
  • Academic justification 6000 words (30%)

Feedback methods

Formative feedback/supervision from the academic tutor and advice from the professional mentor; a mark from the academic tutor (and second marker) with commentary.

Recommended reading

To be drawn from the readings set for the semester 2 (4) modules, and as relevant to the choice of project, and from relevant grey literature.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 300

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Elizabeth Toon Unit coordinator
Harriet Palfreyman Unit coordinator

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