Fall 2016 Science Communication Classes

Communicating Science courses are open to masters and PhD students in STEM disciplines. Tuition is covered for Ph.D. students (fall or spring semesters) if they’re currently supported full-time by their program (TA/GA/RA or Fellow) and have a full Graduate Tuition Scholarship. Enrollment in the course requires pre-approval from your Graduate Program Director. Masters students can also enroll and pay tuition as normal.

Register now through SOLAR. If you have questions, please email: AldaCenter@stonybrook.edu.

View and Download the Fall 2016 Course Schedule.


1-CREDIT CORE COURSES:

The two core components of the Alda Center curriculum are Improvisation for Scientists and Distilling Your Message. We strongly recommend taking the core courses first.

JRN 501 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: DISTILLING YOUR MESSAGE

Students learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters, in terms non-scientists can understand. Practice finding common ground with listeners and speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences. Includes a video interview with a journalist.

See course bulletin for details.


JRN 503 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: IMPROVISATION FOR SCIENTISTS

This innovative course uses improvisational theater techniques to help students communicate more directly and responsively. It’s not about acting; it’s about connecting with an audience. A video about the process can be seen at AldaCenter.org.

See course bulletin for details.


1-CREDIT ADDITIONAL COURSES (JRN 502, 504, 508, 509, 512):

JRN 502 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: WRITING TO BE UNDERSTOOD

Students develop their ability to write about science or health for a public audience without “dumbing down” their material. The course focuses on such forms as letters to the editor, blogs and op-edits. This is a 4-wk, 1-credit course.

See course bulletin for details.


JRN 504 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: USING DIGITAL MEDIA

How to use blogs, podcasts, video, Twitter and other forms of social media for two-way communication with different segments of the public. Includes hands-on instruction, tailored to students’ experience and development of a weekly blog. This is a 5-week, 1-credit course.

See course bulletin for details.


JRN 508 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: ENGAGING KEY AUDIENCES

This is a 4-week, 1-credit course for students who have taken either JRN 501 Distilling Your Message, or JRN 503 Improvisation for Scientists, and want to build on the skills introduced in those courses. Through role-playing and other exercises, students will practice communicating with key audiences, such as potential employers, students, journalists, and public officials.

See course bulletin for details.


JRN 509 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: PRESENTING SCIENCE UNPLUGGED

This course is for students that have taken JRN 501 Distilling Your Message and JRN 503 Improvisation for Scientists, and want the full experience of working in front of a live audience.

With group meetings and private coaching sessions, students will hone science presentations into 10-minute talks for a lay audience on campus, and 25-minute talks for a high school or library audience. Students must begin the class with a prepared talk ready for coaching and a clear and vivid short description for marketing purposes.

Each student will participate as a peer coach for one other student and will be required to attend at least one other talk off campus. To see samples from our pilot workshops, click here.

See course bulletin for details.


JRN 512 VIDEO STORYTELLING FOR SCIENTISTS

In these days when video rules the web, there are few better ways to showcase yourself and your research than by making your own short video. And you can make a great one with something you already have in your purse or pocket – your smartphone. But only if you know how to shoot well, edit skillfully and, most importantly, know how to tell a compelling story in the language of video. Learn the skills you need to produce a vivid video impression of your science for your web or Facebook page, or for your next publication. The technology is there. You just need to know how to use it!

Students must have previously taken either JRN 501 Distilling Your Message, or JRN 503 Improvisation For Scientists.

See course bulletin for details.


FOR UNDERGRADUATES:

JRN 365 TALKING SCIENCE

This is a 3-credit course designed to help science majors learn to speak effectively and responsively with multiple audiences, from peers and professors to potential employers, policymakers and the lay public. Students will focus on communicating about science clearly and vividly, as well as develop skills that are central to oral communication on any subject. The techniques used include improvisational theater exercises that help speakers connect with an audience, paying close and dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues, and responding freely without self-consciousness.

Students will practice delivering their message effectively for different audiences, including defining goals, identifying main points, speaking without jargon, explaining meaning and context, responding to questions, using storytelling techniques, and using multimedia elements. Students will be videotaped at least once during the semester as part of the learning process.

As a culminating activity, students develop and deliver an engaging short oral presentation on a scientific topic. This course requires active participation not only as speakers, but also as active listeners and constructive critics in a rigorous but supportive environment.

Prerequisite: Upper-division major in science, engineering, mathematics or health.

See course bulletin for details.


COURSES OFFERED IN SPRING SEMESTER:

JRN 500 INTRODUCTION TO NEWS MEDIA CONCEPTS AND INSTITUTIONS
How the U.S. news media work, with a focus on how they cover health, science, the environment and technology.

JRN 505 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: CONNECTING WITH THE COMMUNITY
How to reach and mobilize the community and key stakeholders on health- and science-related issues related to students’ research, outreach or community education objectives.

JRN 565 COMMUNICATING YOUR SCIENCE
This course is for graduate students in science, biomedical, engineering and health disciplines who want to communicate effectively and responsively with multiple audiences from peers and professors to potential employers, policymakers and the lay public. Students will focus on speaking about science clearly and vividly in ways that can engage varied audiences, especially those outside their own field.

The class will include instruction and practice in connecting and finding common ground with an audience, defining goals, identifying main points, speaking without jargon, explaining meaning and context, using storytelling techniques and using multimedia elements. The class will include improvisational theater exercises that help speakers pay close and dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues and responding freely without self-consciousness. As a culminating activity, students will develop and deliver an engaging short oral presentation on a scientific topic.

See course bulletin for details.

JRN 612/SCHOOL OF MEDICINE ELECTIVE: COMMUNICATING HEALTH SCIENCES
For medical, nursing and dental students, an introduction to effective communication.