Communicating Biomedical Science and Engineering

Module aims

In this module you will be introduced to key theoretical concepts underpinning science communication and education in schools and other learning environments. You will observe practical science communication through a placement in a school or other learning environment and then design and deliver your own learning activities within these placements. You will critically reflect on how the theory you have learnt relates to the practical activates you have observed and start to evaluate the effectiveness of your own practice.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module you will be able to: 

  • Discuss key contemporary issues in science education and communication. 
  • Evaluate how key contemporary issues in science education and communication are reflected in the daily practice of their host organisation. 
  • Plan and deliver a science learning activity, with clear explanation of the rationale for their design choices. 
  • Critically evaluate the success of a science learning activity. 

Module syllabus

The theoretical content will include: establishing professional expectations, why we teach science, what we know about how students learn, approaches to science education, assessment for learning, inclusive science education, the difference between science and engineering, learning outside of schools. 

The practical content will include observing, participating in and then leading science education activities in schools (primary or secondary) or other learning establishments such as museums or science centres. This may be in person or through an online platform.

Teaching methods

The module will include 10 combined lectures/seminars of 2 hours duration, designed to introduce key contemporary issues in science education. These sessions will include staff presentations, student presentations, discussion of independent reading and of observations from host placements. 

The practical component will be a placement in either a school or other science learning environment. Students will progress through observing, participating in and finally leading and evaluating science education activities. Logbook activities will guide students to reflect on how their classroom learning relates to their practical experience.

Assessments

Formative assessment will include a presentation on a topic in science communication given to the seminar group. Courses leaders will also assess students contributions to weekly seminars. Halfway through the course, module staff leaders will meet with students to review their logbook and ensure it is being completed to a high standard. Students will be able to book an individual consultation with course leaders to discuss their teaching activity. Placement organisations will provide formative feedback on student’s professional skills throughout the placement and students will have the opportunity to discuss their proposed teaching activity with placement staff. 

Summative assessment will be coursework-based. Students will complete a weekly log-book, reflecting how their classroom learning relates to their practical experience. They will also write a 2,500 report outlining the teaching activity they designed, the key considerations made when planning the activity and evaluating the activity. Staff in the host organisation will complete an evaluation of the student’s professional skills and attributes and their engagement with the course.