Tuesday, 16 January 2007: 11:45 AM
Integrating Research and Education: Strategies for Teaching Science Students about Public Outreach
206B (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Graduate students will spend their careers communicating about science and technology and interacting with a variety of audiences, from undergraduates to their scientific peers to their neighbors. Increasingly, these students express a need for training in skills needed to manage those diverse communicative environments. In response to that need and as part of a broader NSF sponsored program (Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning – CIRTL) we have developed a course on informal science education titled “Informal Science Education for Scientists: A Practicum.” The course provides students with informal science communication tools in ways that encourage participants to see those tools as grounded in an ongoing process of inquiry that can be constructed much like the research they conduct in their own disciplines. To learn how to communicate skillfully in an informal setting, we argue, requires the willingness to be an ongoing learner through the use of inquiry and analysis, a process we call “teaching as research” -- a major goal of the CIRTL program. The course has been taught in various forms since the summer of 2003. This presentation will summarize course objectives and methods, assessment of student learning and how we adapted to student needs and assessments.