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Science and its Communication

Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.


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Course Description

Science features prominently in the news, and scientific discoveries enrich our lives on a daily basis, but how is science communicated, and for what reasons?  From advertising to education, our analysis of who is trying to communicate with whom leads us to examine the novel ways in which people are attempting to engage the public with science.

We will take an historical overview of the communication of science, from the founding of the Royal Society, to the birth of the Royal Institution and the creation of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. We will also consider the places and situations that are available for the public to find out more about science, from museums to ‘hands-on’ science centres, and from the daily newspapers to TV documentaries and the internet.

On our journey, we shall consider different contexts for communicating science, including: communication among scientists; communicating science in informal settings; and science in the media.  Our analysis of the communication process in terms of simple models will then lead us to consider what is meant by the Public Understanding of Science, as well as different strategies for engaging the public with science.

Who is this course for?

Anyone with an interest in how science is communicated.

Learning and Teaching

There will be lectures, discussions, group work and video material.

Coursework and Assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.

You will not have formal examinations but you may have class tests. You may be asked to write assignments, keep a course journal or put together a portfolio. Our assessments are flexible to suit the course and the student.

The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

There is no specific course book, and the tutor will supply any written material that is essential for the course.  Books that will help you to gain a broader understanding of the issues surrounding the communication of science are as follows:

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on

(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices.  This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.