Course Content

Communicating Science Class Schedule





Class 1

Introduction – Course overview; What is effective communication?  What are unique aspects of communicating science? Discussion of the capstone project

Icebreakers: Improvisation exercises


Prepare a 3 minute oral presentation about your research
(Due date: Class 2)

Class 2

Communicating your science (short lecture)

3 minute oral presentations by all students (videotaped)

Write a lay abstract about your research – 250 words
(Due date: Class 3)

Class 3

Scientific storytelling

Picture exercise for telling a scientific story

Turn your 3 min oral presentation into a 30 second elevator pitch about your research
(Due date: Class 4)

Class 4

Distilling your message; Knowing your audience

Feedback on your abstract; Give your elevator pitch to a classmate


Write a short description of a plan for your capstone project; rewrite your abstract
(Due date: Class 5)

Class 5

Building confidence in public speaking; Voice, presence, body language; Amy Cuddy TED talk on presence, body language, etc.

Improvisation methods relevant to lecture content

Write a 500 word Introduction about your research and select a figure of data (print and digital versions)
(Due date: Class 6)

Class 6


Scientific papers; How to structure a written story

Answer questions to sections of a paper


Prepare a deck of power point slides that you would use for a 10 min talk based on your abstract for peer editing
(Due date: Class 7)

Class 7

Visualizing science; How to communicate visually with slides

Peer editing of slides; Review capstone projects

 Revise your slides and work on capstone projects(Due date: Class 8)


Class 8

Speech giving skills

Speaking exercises


Practice your 3 min talk and work on capstone projects. 
(Due date: Class 9)


Spring Break – No class



Class 9

Effective teaching; Lecture objectives, slides, team based learning, flipped classroom; writing exam questions   

Flipped classroom

Write 4 or 5 lesson objectives for a lecture on the background for your research or prepare a flipped classroom exercise and how you would assess if they learned it.
(Due date: Class 10)

Class 10

Media: how to write press releases, handle media interviews and write opinion pieces.

Persuasive written and oral communication

Write a press release or op/ed piece about a controversial scientific topic
(Due date: Class 11)

Class 11

Communication skills to influence and persuade

Exercises relevant to lecture content

Practice a 1 minute talk either asking a venture capital company to invest in your start up or advocating for a policy on your controversial topic to a mock congressional hearing
Select and bring a full size poster from a previous scientific meeting or bring the electronic file
(Due date: Class 12)

Class 12

Scientific posters

Critique each other’s old posters

Print out and review your abstract and introduction about your research and resume (if you have one) for a mock job interview
Revise the poster on your research based on feedback from critiques
 (Due date: Class 13)

Class 13

Interviewing for a job

Mock job interviews; Dress rehearsals for final 3 minute research talks

Prepare an oral presentation about your capstone project
 (Due date: Class 14)

Class 14

Presentation of capstone  project summaries

Professionals and faculty evaluate capstone project summaries

Practice your final oral presentation
(Due date: Class 15)

Class 15

Graduation videotaping and viewing

View videotapes for critiques and feedback