LSC 212: Introduction to Scientific Communication


Name: Madeline Fisher
SCID: College of Agricultural & Life Science
Department: Life Sciences Communication
Course Name: LSC 212: Introduction to Scientific Communication

Supported Program Outcomes:

  • Specialized knowledge in theoretical and applied communication of science and technology, along with an education broad enough to meet the challenges of changing careers and opportunities.
  • SPO2: The ability to think critically and creatively: to synthesize, analyze, and integrate ideas for decision making and problem solving.
  • SPO3: The ability to communicate effectively across media and a broad range of audiences.
  • SPO4: A global perspective; an appreciation for the interdependencies among individuals and their workplaces, communities, environments, and world; and an understanding of the interrelationships between science and society.
  • SPO5: The ability to work with others in small or large groups, to recognize civic and social responsibilities, and to appreciate the uses of public policy in a democracy.
  • SPO6: A respect for truth, a tolerance for diverse views, and a strong sense of personal and professional ethics.

Course Objectives:

  • CO1: Explain how writing well means listening to and engaging in conversation with others, and how this concept applies across scientific, professional, and public discourse, including social media.
  • CO2: Discern and analyze the existing arguments (conversation) surrounding a science topic, and use these ideas to evaluate their own views and frame them in a compelling way.
  • CO3: Identify science-based information sources, apply successful search strategies, and evaluate the credibility and usefulness of different sources.
  • CO4: Apply knowledge of the rhetorical moves and stylistic elements in good writing to write an essay about a science topic of their choice.
  • CO5: Describe the common barriers to effective science communication and apply practices for overcoming them.
  • CO6: Foster dialogue and community by participating thoughtfully and respectfully in online and in-person discussions, including peer reviews of each other’s work.

Course Units:

  • CU1: Introduction to Writing as a Conversation (1 week)
  • CU2: Articulating Others’ Views (2 weeks)
  • CU3: Finding and Researching a Topic (2 weeks)
  • CU4: Articulating Your View (2 weeks)
  • CU5: Engaging the Audience (2 weeks)
  • CU6: Putting It All Together: Writing and Revising (4 weeks)

Unit Being Redesigned:
Introduction to Writing as a Conversation

Unit Objectives:

  • UO1: Describe and employ practices for engaging in class discussions that foster dialogue, community, and mutual understanding. (Apply)
  • UO2: Explain why it’s important to summarize the argument(s) or conversation you’re responding to before stating your view. (Understand)
  • UO3: Explain why authors return periodically to the “they say” argument when making their own argument. (Understand)
  • UO4: Identify the various forms that “they say” and “I say” arguments can take in a text. (Understand)
  • UO5: Apply appropriate moves for introducing the views of others and your own view into your text. (Apply)

Summary of Blended Activity Flow

Pre-Class Activities In-Class Activities Post-Class Activities

Week 1, Thursday:None

Week 2, Tuesday: Read Chap. 12, They Say, I Say: Entering class discussions (UO1); Optional: Get started with Chap. 1 (UOs 2 to 5)


Week 1, ThursdayPresentation:Syllabus and course intro: writing as a conversation; communication vs. English, grammar study; science focus, etc.

Pair sharing: Students introduce themselves in pairs (UO1)

Presentation:Online tutorial tool: Can students access it?

Week 2, Tuesday: Think/Pair/Share:Think of a class discussion you really enjoyed and one you disliked. Talk with a partner about what you enjoyed, didn’t enjoy, and why. (UO1)

Discussion:Group share out: What are the DOs and DON’Ts of a good class discussion? What does They Say, I Sayrecommend? (UO1)

Think/Pair/Share:UC Berkeley activity: How scientific is it?

Discussion:What is science? Post Ch. 12 templates, DOs and DONTs as guides to good discussion. (UO1)

Group assessment:How did our

first discussion go? What did we do well, where can we improve? Examples of where we followed the “rules” in Chap. 12? (UO1)

Week 2, Thursday

1-minute quiz:Did they read essay? (UOs 2-5)

Discussion:Readings, tutorial, additional examples. (UOs 2-5)

Think/Pair/Share:Annotate “Don’t Blame the Eater” and discuss (UOs 3-5)

Discussion: Annotations, wrap up questions. (UOs 2-5)

Week 1, Thursday

Writing:Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses as a writer; what you most want to gain from course; anything else you’d like me to know about you?

Online survey:Did you take Comm A? What is your major? Why are you taking this course? 

Week 2, Tuesday: None

Week 2, Thursday

Writing:Choose template from Chap. 1 as prompt, write short paragraph on topic that interests you, including both “they say” and “I say.” Bring to class next Tuesday.(UO5)

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