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The Art of Science Communication—A Novel Approach to Science Communication Training

    Authors: Susanna Greer1,*, Hannah Alexander2, Thomas O. Baldwin3, Hudson H. Freeze4, Morgan Thompson5, Geoffrey Hunt6, Danielle R. Snowflack7
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    Affiliations: 1: American Cancer Society, Inc., Atlanta, GA 30303; 2: University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65203; 3: University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521; 4: Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037; 5: University of Massachusetts Medical School Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Worcester, MA 01655; 6: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Washington, DC 20001; 7: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Rockville, MD 20852
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. March 2018 vol. 19 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i1.1547
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    Abstract:

    Effective communication is a requisite skill for scientists. However, formalized training in this area is often unavailable for members of the scientific community. As one approach to combat this problem, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) developed The Art of Science Communication, an eight-week-long online course that provides facilitated instruction on how to communicate science in an oral format. The course is offered three times a year, and as of December 2017, nearly 200 individuals from all career stages have taken part in it. The course completion rate is currently 60%, a rate three to five times as high as the average for similar Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Participants have indicated that taking the course has improved their ability to communicate about their research, and that the skills and lessons learned have benefited them professionally. Moving forward, we are examining approaches that will help us improve the course and expand its reach throughout the scientific community. This article details the development of the course and examines the role and potential of such training within the larger scientific community.

References & Citations

1. Baldwin T2014Formalizing science communication training for graduate studentsASBMB Today1364043
2. Alexander H, Abell S2010Science and me: intergenerational interaction rewards both sidesJ Intergener Relatsh87982
3. Alexander H, Waldron AM, Abell SK2011Science and me: a student-driven science outreach program for lay adult audiencesJ Coll Sci Teach4062834
4. Thompson M2011Students on front lines of public engagementASBMB Today891214
5. Onah DFO, Sinclair J, Boyatt R2014Dropout rates of massive open online courses: behavioural patterns5825 Gómez Chova L, López Martínez A, Candel Torres IProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies IATEDBarcelona, Spain
6. Dorn C2017There are many ways to skin this courseASBMB Today1683436
7. Kennedy J2014Characteristics of massive open online courses (MOOCs): a research review, 2009–2012J Interact Online Learn131116
8. Jordan KMOOC completion rates: the datawww.katyjordan.com/MOOCproject.html

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2018-03-30
2018-04-25

Abstract:

Effective communication is a requisite skill for scientists. However, formalized training in this area is often unavailable for members of the scientific community. As one approach to combat this problem, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) developed The Art of Science Communication, an eight-week-long online course that provides facilitated instruction on how to communicate science in an oral format. The course is offered three times a year, and as of December 2017, nearly 200 individuals from all career stages have taken part in it. The course completion rate is currently 60%, a rate three to five times as high as the average for similar Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Participants have indicated that taking the course has improved their ability to communicate about their research, and that the skills and lessons learned have benefited them professionally. Moving forward, we are examining approaches that will help us improve the course and expand its reach throughout the scientific community. This article details the development of the course and examines the role and potential of such training within the larger scientific community.

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