Engagement activity

Create an exciting activity to involve and inspire the public with science, engineering and maths.

Module details

  • Offered to 2nd Year students in Spring term
  • Mondays 16:00-18:00
  • Planned delivery: On campus (South Kensington)
  • 1-term module worth 5 ECTS 
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore 

This lively and interactive module explores public engagement (PE) and why is it important. Public engagement means involving those outside of our institution with our research and teaching. It might include an activity at a festival, talk or performance, schools workshop or discussion with patient groups, amongst many others.

In this module you will discover how to deliver enjoyable and meaningful PE activities for you and a diverse range of audiences, whilst developing communication and teamwork skills. You will experience a range of practical examples of engagement, discuss the importance of involving underrepresented groups in research, and explore how engagement enables our work to have a broader impact in society.

An interview with a past student on this module

Public Engagement

Meet Angela: Festival Volunteer

Published on May 9, 2023

Hear from a past student about why she chose the Public Engagement module and volunteered at the Great Exhibition Road Festival in 2022.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

 By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Apply your knowledge and understanding of public engagement to develop and plan the practical delivery of an activity exploring Imperial research.
  • Effectively communicate Imperial research to a non-specialist audience using appropriate language, styles and formats.
  • Work effectively and appropriately with others as part of multidisciplinary teams to deliver pair and group tasks, including sharing constructive peer-to-peer feedback based on your growing understanding.
  • Evaluate public engagement experiences and ideas using the models and knowledge introduced within the course, and reflect on your personal skills and knowledge development.
  • Recognise how public engagement can enable research to have a range of impacts within wider society, and consider your own academic identity and potential role within this context.

Indicative core content

This course will provide a broad understanding of public engagement within higher education and key concepts to consider when designing engagement activities. You will develop practical skills and hands-on experience as you work to devise, plan and deliver a public engagement activity.

Sessions 1-3 will introduce the module and assessments, tutors and wider Public Engagement team. We will introduce engagement within a university context, the breadth of activities this might include, as well as the range of benefits it can lead to. The group will discuss different audiences for public engagement, including varying attitudes towards STEMM, and why it is important to create inclusive, accessible public engagement. We will cover models of participation and engagement, and students will meet speakers from public, community engagement and outreach teams within the College.

Sessions 4-6 will help you to formulate an idea for an engagement project based on an area of Imperial’s research. Consider how engagement can meet aims for both you, your research, and your public participants such as skills development, sharing insights and inspiration, and working on common challenges. We will explore practical tips and considerations for engagement delivery, including using communication, storytelling and tailoring activities to different audiences.

Sessions 7-10 will involve presenting engagement ideas to the group and reflecting on examples of engagement you have had the opportunity to experience. We will hear from academic colleagues around how public engagement has enabled them to connect with diverse audiences and enhance the impact of what they do. And we will discuss how to measure the effectiveness of the engagement you deliver, and share your successes! Finally, find out how to get involved in more public engagement at Imperial and beyond.

Learning and teaching approach

This module is structured to support you on a journey through the steps involved to design and deliver an engagement activity. Sessions will be delivered in a seminar format blending lecture, discussion and hands-on activities. You will be given a module handbook and access to the module VLE outlining all session topics, preparation, assessments and deadlines.
You will explore a range of engagement formats and best practice with case studies, visits and guest speakers from engagement teams across the College and externally. Sessions will be practical and discursive, favouring experiential learning and teamwork within multidisciplinary groups.

As you develop and refine your engagement idea, you will receive support and formative feedback from tutors, peers and visiting speakers to incorporate within summative assessments. Specifically you are expected to incorporate feedback from group presentations, into the development of your coursework, including the materials you produce and accompanying production plan.


  • Coursework: Activity Observation: Attend and submit written evaluation of a public engagement activity - 3-5 pages (40%)
  • Coursework: Engagement Idea: Develop an idea for an engagement activity based on an area of Imperial’s research, for a specified audience. Submit activity materials and accompanying narrative- 3-5 pages (60%)

First marks and feedback will be returned to you within the VLE within two weeks of assessment submission.

Key information

  • Requirements: It is compulsory to take an I-Explore module during your degree (you’ll take an I-Explore module in either your 2nd or 3rd year, depending on your department). You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 105 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes for example reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments, project work and preparing for other assessments
  • I-Explore modules are worth 5 ECTS credit towards your degree; to receive these you will have to pass the module. The numerical mark that you obtain will not be included in the calculation of your final degree result, but it will appear on your transcript
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 course
  • This module is offered by the Public Engagement Team
Great module! Finally a course that systematically teaches public engagement concepts, ideas and operations.
Taught me about how public engagement is essential to communicate specialised knowledge to the general public in a creative and fun way.
The sessions were very interactive… There was a lot of opportunity to develop team working, leadership and public speaking skills.