The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered

Course handbook


This very practical course equips students with the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes for effective communication. The course introduces the exciting field of 'science communication' and provides training in most aspects of personal presentations. Other communication issues likely to impact contemporary professional people are also presented. As part of the course students are required to conduct a small practical or work-based communication project.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


    Learning outcomes

    On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate an holistic understanding of the principles of contemporary scientific and professional communication

    2. Appreciate the ethical, WHS, legal, technological and practical implications of their work as a leader/communicator

    3. Effectively communicate professional and scientific messages with various audiences peers, other professionals and the general public via personal presentations

    4. Demonstrate the essential skills to effectively work in various contemporary scientific or professional contexts


    Module 1 - Background to contemporary science and professional communication

    • What is science? What is communication? Introduction to science communication.
    • What do we mean by "professional communication" and why is it important?
    • An introduction to the legal and regulatory implications of your work including privacy, risk management, Workplace Health and Safety aspects of presentations and events, IP
    • How do you ensure quality events and communications? Lifecycle design, evaluation, feedback and Total Quality Management (TQM) are introduced.

    Module 2 - Science and professional presentations

    • Developing a presentation: structure, content, timing, props, interaction
    • Preparing for a presentation: rehearsal, setup, warm-up
    • Basic presentation skills: cuing, visualising, questioning
    • Advanced presentation skills: voice, body language, professionalism
    • Practical issues: Using resources such as PowerPoint, PA systems and equipment

    Module 3 - Science and professional communication in practice

    • The essential skills for contemporary leader/communicators are introduced: Netiquette and email, research and referencing, meetings, preparing reports and briefings, leadership and teamwork, time and project management
    • A compulsory practical / work-based project plus three electives.Topics include:
    1. Science shows: science theatre, story-telling, demonstrations, interpretation
    2. Science communication and the internet
    3. An introduction to science writing
    4. Introduction to working with the media
    5. Communicating research
    6. Leadership
    7. Effective evaluation
    8. Introduction to sciences centres, museums, zoos, eco-tourism
    9. The University of Newcastle science communication programs

    Assessment items

    Quiz: Online Quizzes

    Written Assignment: Written Assessments

    Portfolio: Project Portfolio

    Formal Examination: Final Examination

    Contact hours


    Self-Directed Learning

    Online 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

    This course is delivered on-line only. The number of hours per week is a minimum recommendation and may vary with individual students learning style for on-line courses.