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

Module details

  • Offered to 2nd Years
  • Mondays 16.00-18.00
  • Planned delivery: On campus (South Kensington)
  • 2-term module worth 5 ECTS
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

This lively and interactive module will explore 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. You will have an opportunity to practice your communication and teamwork, whilst also developing valuable evaluation skills to help you evidence if your activities are successful.

This is a module focusing on face-to-face public engagement activities for a range of non-academic audiences. Whilst it will help to develop communication skills it is not a module about presentation or public relation skills.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

children watch model volcanoes

On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:
  • Apply your knowledge and understanding of public engagement to plan the delivery and evaluation 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 to deliver pair and group tasks.
  • Apply established techniques to critically evaluate your public engagement activity and reflect on your personal skills and knowledge.
  • Recognise potential impacts of public engagement within higher education.

Indicative core content

children learn about bubbles through play

  • In the first term you will gain a broader understanding of public engagement within higher education and key concepts to consider when designing engagement activities. In the second term you will develop practical skills and hands-on experience as you work with your group to plan, deliver and evaluate a public engagement activity.
  • Sessions 1-4. Introduction to module, engagement within a university context and public audiences. Including what engagement is, why it is important and the benefits of engaging the public. Exploration of history and drivers of public engagement within UK higher education and evolving relationships between STEM research, universities and wider society.
  • Sessions 5-10. Designing and planning engagement activities tailored to specific aims and audiences. Learn about key audience groups for engagement through external speakers and interactive activities. Consider the aims and potential outcomes of engagement. Experience exhibition design first hand through visit to a museum with discussion of exhibition design, text and marketing. Working individually or in small groups you will be supported to develop engagement activity ideas for a target audience based on Imperial research. Each student/group will pitch your ideas to the class and Public Engagement team for inclusion in the Student Showcase event in the second term.
  • Session 11-16. Engagement in practice. Module tutors and the Public Engagement team will support you to practice identifying key messages, constructing a story and delivering clear and confident communications. Building on the activity pitches from the first term, you will work in groups to translate Imperial research into a hands-on engagement activity as part of a Student Showcase event. Each group will present a written production plan to module tutors and refine your ideas through feedback, piloting and rehearsal for delivery to a live audience.
  • Sessions 17-20. Reflections on the role of public engagement. Time to reflect on the Student Showcase event and discuss what went well and what you would change for the future. Exploration of range of case studies of how to tell a research impact story to support your written reflections of your activity and experiences across the module. Consideration of broad range of public engagement activities and future opportunities within Imperial.

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.
Term 1
You will explore a range of engagement formats and best practice with case studies, external visits and guest speakers. Working individually or in pairs, you will be supported to develop and pitch an engagement activity idea for inclusion in the Student Showcase.
Term 2
Building on your knowledge from term 1, you will work in a group to refine your engagement activity idea. With support from the Public Engagement team and tutors, you will plan, deliver and evaluate your engagement activity as part of a Student Showcase Event.
First marks and feedback will be returned to you within the VLE within two weeks of assessment submission.
As you develop and refine your Student Showcase Project, you will receive support and formative feedback from tutors, peers and visiting speakers to incorporate within summative assessments. Assessments are structured to support the development, delivery and evaluation of a real-world public engagement activity. Specifically you are expected to incorporate feedback from group written production plan, into the development and delivery of your engagement activity and reflect on how you have incorporated tutor comments in your written evaluation.


  • Coursework: Group written production plan for public engagement activity - 1-3 pages (20%)
  • Practical: Individual engagement activity delivered as part of Student Showcase event (20%)
  • Coursework: Individual written evaluation of public engagement activity - 3-5 pages (60%)
Please note: To manage workload, where you are required to be involved in the delivery of a practical engagement activity taking place outside of usual class hours (for example at an Imperial Lates event) class time will be substituted and homework in the adjacent weeks reduced for the equivalent time of the engagement activity.

Key information

  • Requirements: You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 85 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments and preparing for other assessments.
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 module. For an explanation of levels, view the Imperial Horizons Level Descriptors page.‌
"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."