NSCPHD1216 PhD Course on Applied Science Outreach

Volume 2016/2017

PhD students at the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.



PLEASE NOTE         

The PhD course database is under construction. If you want to sign up for this course, please click on the link in order to be re-directed. Link: https://phdcourses.ku.dk/nat.aspx


The Natural History Museum of Denmark offers a practitioners course teaching PhD students how to communicate their specialized research to non-specialists. We move the teaching out of the classroom and let PhD students engage in public outreach by sharing their knowledge through various outreach programs at the Museum. 

Effective dissemination of research results is no longer only a question of doing conference and poster presentations or writing publications for academic journals. Rather, a world of multifaceted types of outreach has emerged in which broader communication skills are required. 

The objective of the course is to train PhD students in different types of outreach and science communications for different target groups e.g. collection based teaching, presentations for high school students, citizen science projects, family events, Science Night and talking to the media. This will be done on a basis of theories introduced by outreach professionals and scholars. The overall aim of this is to improve PhD students’ communication skills through a combination of theory and practice. 

The course runs over a period of fivemonths, starting every November where an initial introduction to outreach and communication theory is given and debated with a number of outreach professionals, in combination with hands-on exercise and assignments. 

Following this theoretical part of the course, all PhD students will take part in two or three of the museum’s outreach programs. In this practical part of the course, PhD students will e.g. present their research at science events at the Zoological Museum in the winter holiday or at Science Night in March or give talk to high school students at the Geological Museum.  Other possible outreach programs for PhD students to be involved in could be the Botanical Garden Day, Geology Days, BioBlitz, geological fieldtrips, teacher inspiration days, etc. 

Learning Outcome

Participants will after the completion of this course be able to:

  • Take part in public outreach programs

  • Teach outside classrooms

  • Communicate their own research

Customize presentations to different types of audiences, e.g. primary school pupils, museum visitors, high school students and journalists. 

Selected articles will accompany the lectures during the two days of introduction. Students will receive these in advance.

15 hours of introduction, including lectures and dialogue on e.g. What is science communication? performance and rhetoric when presenting scientific material, how to understand your target groups, collection-based science education, body language and communicating in informal settings.

Between and after the days of introduction the student should be prepared to spend time preparing presentations and receive feedback.

All outreach activities carried out by the PhD students will be supervised by an outreach professional. The Students must be prepared to take part in these outreach activities during e.g. weekends, holidays and after work hours. After each activity, the efforts and performance of each PhD student will be evaluated in a dialogue between the PhD student and the outreach professionals attached to the specific outreach program. This way, the PhD students’ practical skills are continuously developed and improved throughout the course period.

Decisions on what outreach programs the individual PhD student will take part in is made by the course coordinator, and will depend on the student’s experience, skills and field of research. The practical outreach workload amount to 60 hours.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Guidance
  • 5
  • Lectures
  • 15
  • Practical Training
  • 60
  • Preparation
  • 45
  • Total
  • 125
Type of assessment
Course participation
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship

The introduction does not have to be taken again if the outreach activities are not conducted in the originally planned semester.

Criteria for exam assesment

The course is passed based on active participation in the two day introduction and the following outreach activities specified by the course coordinator after the two days of introduction.