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Unit information: Science and Success: Writing, Speaking and Communicating Science in 2018/19

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Science and Success: Writing, Speaking and Communicating Science
Unit code BIOL20017
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1A (weeks 1 - 6)
Unit director Professor. Memmott
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description

This unit will teach a range of transferable skills, including scientific writing and presentation skills, along with job application and interview skills. The unit has the short-term aim of preparing you for writing up and presenting your field course report/laboratory workshop report, and your year 3 and year 4 research and literature projects, and the long-term aim of preparing you for job hunting and life after graduation. Writing clearly is a key skill in many careers and while it is relatively easy to recognise good writing, it is rather harder to write well yourself. Similarly, a good spoken presentation is obvious, but it is harder to characterise the factors that make it so good.

During this course you will learn both of these skills and use them to write short reports and give a presentation. Success in science, and elsewhere, is obviously dependent on finding a job in which to succeed. You will apply for real jobs, short-list your peers' applications, and then interview others and be interviewed by peers in realistic role play. All parts of the course will be taught within a biological context. The unit culminates in you writing your Personal Development Plan (PDP). This teaches you the ability to review, plan and take responsibility for your own learning.

Aims: Preparing students for life after graduation through the acquisition of key transferable skills;

  • Use collaborative and activity-based teaching approaches to maximise learning
  • Improve written communication skills through (1) lectures, (2) assessed work, and (3) peer-to-peer feedback
  • Improve oral communication skills through (1) oral presentations and (2) a job interview
  • Improve team-work skills through peer collaboration and peer assessment in (1) presentation assessments, (2) mock job short-listing panels and (3) mock interview panels
  • Improve job hunting skills through (1) applying for a real job advert with CV and covering letter, (2) being interviewed for the job, (3) short-listing peer applications in a panel, and (4) interviewing peers

All parts of the course will be taught within a biological context. PDPs and CV writing are introduced at level 1; Science and Success will build on and strengthen this existing provision.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to;

1. Write a scientific paper, citing published papers

2. Give clear oral presentations

3. Understand and be able to use key interview skills

4. Produce an evidence-based Personal Development Plan (PDP)

Teaching details

  • Limited number of lectures from invited specialists
  • Scientific writing: lectures, demonstrator assessment and marking
  • Presentations: individual flash presentations to peer panel, peer feedback and assessment, demonstrator feedback and marking

Assessment Details

The peer feedback, assessment and marking, as well as formal marking by academic-trained demonstrators are all assessed. The Personal Development Plan (PDP) is not assessed, but it is an essential piece of work that students will be required to complete.

Written and oral communication skills are tested using role play in which students apply for a job and take part in mock interviews.

Each student will use their course feedback to write a Personal Development Plan (PDP).

Exclusively continuous assessment in this unit (i.e. no exam).

Weightings: 40% scientific writing, 30% oral presentation, 30% job applications.

Reading and References

  • Gemayel, R. (2016) How to write a scientific paper, The FEBS Journal, 283: 3882-3885.
  • Matthews, J.R, Bowen, J.M. & Matthews, R.W. 3rd edition 2007. Successful Scientific Writing. Cambridge University Press.

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