The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

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.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020
  • Semester 2 - 2020

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): SCIE2100. Students who have successfully completed SCIE2100 are not eligible to enrol in STEC2100.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Define the principles of contemporary scientific and professional communication with a holistic view.

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

3. Demonstrate the effective communication of professional and scientific messages with various audiences peers, other professionals and the general public via personal presentations.

4. 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, WH&S 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 & 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

Self-Directed 10 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

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