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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rachel Marie Mitchell
BISSTS 397
Bothell Campus

Topics in Science, Technology, and Society

Examines a topic, theme, or problem at the intersection of science, technology, and society.

Class description

This class is designed for students a science major. This course will cover the effective communication of science to the public. Students will learn how and why science communication often fails (why, for example, so few people understand basic scientific concepts like climate change and evolution) as well as strategies and techniques for communicating science more effectively. This class will emphasize public speaking, but will also cover science writing, blogging, etc. Students should have a solid foundation in science, as they will be expected to examine, in detail, a scientific process, question, or finding, and present it in a clear way to the class, and to the general public.

Students will simultaneously research a scientific topic that they are interested in, while developing a public talk and poster to help teach other students about the topic. Students will also practice their public speaking skills through class discussion and improvisational arts.

Although a science background will be helpful for this course, it is not required.

Student learning goals

Students will have in depth understanding of their research topic.

Students will understand why science communications often fails.

Students will be able to give engaging, informative science-based talks.

Students will be able to create informative and interactive posters that effectively communicate a science topic.

General method of instruction

This course will focus on how science is communicated to the public. Early in the quarter, students will select a research topic that they are interested in, with the goal of communicating that topic via public speech and poster at the end of the quarter.

Course time will consist of a mixture of lectures, discussions, viewing and critiquing film, theater games, public speaking, and group work.

Recommended preparation

A science major is preferred, but students with a strong science background, or an interest in science are encouraged.

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Rachel Marie Mitchell
Date: 10/23/2012