Science Communication
Visiting professor Jack Holbrook
Miia Rannikmäe
Length of course 2 credits (80 hours)
Medium of Instruction: English
Dr Jack Holbrook
PhD in Chemistry, University of London
Teaching Certificate, University of London
School Teacher of Chemistry/Maths/General Science in the UK.
Chemistry (Science) Teacher Educator - UK, Tanzania (with
British Aid), Hong Kong.
Visiting Professor in Science Education – Estonia.
Freelance Education Consultant - Uzbekistan, Bangladesh,
Jordan, Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar
Research interests - Curriculum philosophy, classroom
implementational strategies, action research, assessment and
evaluation in science education
Prof. Miia Rannikmae
• PhD Science Education,
Univ. of Tartu
• Chemistry teacher certificate, Univ. of Tartu
• Gymnasium chemistry teacher
• Senior Researcher, Dept of Sc. Education
• Research interests – Scientific and
Technological Literacy (STL), Learning of
Science, Relevance of Science Education
Your introductions
Please give your name and research topic, but more
importantly please comment on:
• Why join this course ?
And in writing, please answer the following:
What do you perceive the course to be about ?
What are your expectations from this course ?
(I do have a plan for the course which I will convey to
you, but if it is possible to entertain your expectations I
am willing to try).
Breakdown of lectures, seminars, self study
• Lecture
approx 20 hours
• Seminars approx 20 hours
• Self study approx 40 hours
Main purpose
To assist you, on the one hand, to have a better understanding
of the nature of science and, on the other, to develop
communication skills that will assist you with the developing of
a PhD degree and becoming a member of the (science)
academic community (University staff member, etc)
• A special aspect is that participants should acquire skills to
review papers, present and discuss research ideas and
disseminate outcomes through seminars presentations,
posters, etc.
Key competencies
At the end of this course, you are expected to possess the ability
• Hold a justifiable view on the Nature of Science and able to
express this in appropriate terminology.
• Meaningfully read and create materials articles useful for
conferences and seminars within a specific field of study.
• Make clear, confident and audible oral presentations on a
topic (nature of science, research).
• Present a topic using suitable, well organised, support materials
such as multimedia and a conference poster.
• Exhibit skills as seminar chairmen, session leaders and
discussants in conferences, seminars, etc.
• Demonstrate cooperative skills in working with others with
respect to research, group discussions and developing written
Course Assessment
This will be by:
Marking of 4 written outputs (60%) covering:
(i) Essay on the ‘nature of science’.
(ii) Creation and presentation of powerpoint slides and a
conference poster paper in areas of relevance.
(iii) Introductory comments as seminar chairman/ leader and
separately, notes on comments when a session/
presentation discussant.
(iv) Set of summaries of comments on papers/posters created
by participants.
Class involvement in discussions, activities and oral
presentations (40%)
No formal examination is intended.
Breakdown of major components
of the course
1. Nature of Science
[what is ‘scientific’]
• Discussion of the philosophical aspects (science v cognitive
psychologist views), undertake activities geared to exploring
the nature of science in depth and build up data which can
form part of the basis for communication activities.
• Reflect on the meaning of science - natural science v social
science as separate areas,
• The approach is lecture, activity and discussion based,
building philosophical views of science and perhaps exploring
the relationships between the nature of science and the nature
of science as taught (secondary/tertiary) and the place of
ethical issues.
• Output is an essay on the ‘nature of science’.
2. Oral Presentation skills
Promote ability to present information (science),
orally exhibiting skills of clarity, confidence,
audibility and positioning.
Participants develop a presentation (of their
discussions/research etc) and deliver this to an
The approach is group practice and individual
3. Reading of articles
Participants undertake activities, discuss meanings based
on written materials made available (articles) on the
nature of science (perhaps with science teaching
The approach is reading and discussion based, building
up an understanding of higher order skills in the context
of science learning and reporting.
Output are notes guiding a presentation to be made on
reading undertaken on the nature of science and
involving the handling of questions/comments from the
4. Creating Poster Papers
Participants consider style, sequencing,
references for developing conference poster
materials in English relevant to a research
theme of choice, but specifically developed for a
‘layman’ audience.
The approach is through seminar presentation of
the poster and answering questions in English.
Output is a conference poster paper in an area of
personal relevance.
5. Effective use of powerpoint)
Participants present using powerpoint, or other
multimedia, concentrating on effective use of the
technology and clarity of the presentation
(including interaction between media and
The approach is group practice and individual
Output is a set of support materials for a
presentation on the nature of science.
6. Acting as session chairman
and discussant.
Participants develop skills to become session
chairman by offering introductions and become
discussants to comment on presentations.
The approach is through discussion and role
Outputs are a set of guidelines created by
participants and summaries of discussions held
(across all course components).
Looking at the Nature of Science
(what do we mean by scientific ?)
The issue
Not only is there a problem in the translation of nature
of science into Estonian, but there seems to be little
general agreement as to an actual definition of this,
even by scientists.
But luckily, there does seem to be areas of common
agreement which we can explore.
We begin to explore this in session 2.
Session 1
But to end this session, may I seek your initial ideas by
means of a questionnaire.
The questionnaire is quite long (on purpose, as I am
wanting to get some idea of your strength in reading
English – however this is not a test; it is intended to
guide my future presentations).
There are no absolute answers, but the sincerity of
your response is important.
You are permitted (even encouraged) to ask the
meaning of any English you do not comprehend
(the questionnaire was created by non-native English
Thank you
The End of Session 1
Tentative Programme
Session 1 9th March
Session 2 11th March
Introduction/ideas on science questionnaire (L)
Nature of Science (assumptions, observation to
inference; prediction; reasoning) (L)
Session 3 16th March Reflections on science ideas and group presentations
Session 4 18th March Nature of Science (Science v, Pseudoscience;
historical explanations; false assumptions) (L)
Session 5 23rd March Review of NOS and Presentations/Oral skills (L)
Session 6 25th March What is Social science ? (L)
Session 7 30th March Suggestions for Preparing posters (L)
Session 8 1st April
NOS (Hypotheses, Theories and Laws); Reading
articles on NOS (L)
Session 9 6th April
About Chairing sessions/being a discussant (L)
Session 10 8th April
Poster presentations on own work (S)
Session 11 13th April
4th/5th May Presentations on essay (reading) /chairing a session
/being a discussant (S)

Science Communication Teaduskommunikatsioon)