University of Colorado Boulder
Designing Effective Science Communication
University of Colorado Boulder

Designing Effective Science Communication

Taught in English

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5,173 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Melanie Peffer

Instructor: Melanie Peffer


(31 reviews)

Beginner level

Recommended experience

10 hours to complete
3 weeks at 3 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Describe principles of human learning that are important to consider when designing science outreach activities. 

  • Compare and contrast modalities for science communication/outreach.

  • Identify common pitfalls in science communication/outreach.

  • Design a science communication/outreach activity based on principles learned in this course. 

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There are 5 modules in this course

In this module, you will learn the basics of human learning, including an overview of the cognitive processes that underlie learning (e.g. perception, attention, motivation, memory), major educational psychology theories (e.g socioculturalism, constructivism, behaviorism) and aspect of human cognition that can lead to difficulties with outreach (e.g. bias, motivated reasoning, epistemic cognition). We will also discuss use of evidence in designing outreach, how to evaluate types of evidence, and principles behind effective design of outreach.

What's included

5 videos4 readings1 quiz1 discussion prompt1 plugin

In this module, you will learn important considerations for effective oral presentations, including best practices for giving live, recorded, and virtual presentations. In addition, we will also cover best practices for creating visual supports (poster, PowerPoint slides) to help communicate your message during an oral presentation. We will also discuss best practices for media interviews.

What's included

3 videos6 readings2 discussion prompts

In this module, you will learn best practices for writing as a vehicle for science communication. Rather than focusing on grammar and general writing mechanics, this section will focus on how to effectively use the written form as a tool for science outreach, including how formal scientific writing varies from pieces for the general public.

What's included

3 videos3 readings1 peer review1 discussion prompt

In this module, you will learn about technological forms of science communication outside traditional media (e.g. written or oral communication). In this module, we will discuss how science is communicated through various forms of educational technologies, including computer games, simulations, and social media. We will also briefly discuss learning analytics and their utility in understanding learning in technology-based environments.

What's included

4 videos1 reading2 discussion prompts

In this module, you will learn about the importance of artistic forms of science communication. The arts can serve as an important gateway between scientists and the rest of society making difficult or abstract concepts feel more personal and less intimidating. Here, we will talk about use of art, such as photography as well as music to help feel others connected to science topics.

What's included

4 videos6 readings1 peer review1 plugin


Instructor ratings
4.8 (18 ratings)
Melanie Peffer
University of Colorado Boulder
8 Courses25,453 learners

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