Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

About this Course

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Although many would prefer to leave science in the past and no longer engage with it once completing compulsory science classes in school, the reality is that engaging with science is an integral part of our daily lives. Moreover, for the safety and wellness of human society, it is necessary to engage with scientific information. We are faced with the necessity of examining scientific evidence on topics ranging from conservation to public health and make decisions that impact not only our families but those around us. However, in spite of decades of science education reform and dedicated efforts to improving science literacy, many members of the general public lack the confidence, skills, or interest in engaging with scientific issues, instead choosing to align their scientific decisions with non-scientific stakeholders, such as political or pop culture figures. These problems are ongoing and destructive. How do we communicate science more effectively with the general public? With other scientists?

This course is designed for scientists, science educators, and science communicators who are interested in re-thinking how we communicate science to diverse audiences, particularly to the general public. Topics include evidence-based considerations of human learning as well as effective communication through a variety of modalities, including oral presentations, written forms of communication, technology, and artistic media. The objective of this course is to equip learners with the skills needed to design and implement effective methods of science communication. Learners will be able to identify key principles of human learning that undergird science communication, describe pitfalls in “popular” avenues for science outreach, and apply best practices to science communication in a variety of media.SHOW ALL COURSE OUTLINESHOW ALL


  • 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. 







Science Writing

Syllabus – What you will learn from this course

WEEK13 hours to complete

Connecting the Science of Learning to Science Communication

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.5 videos (Total 63 min), 4 readings, 1 quizSEE ALLWEEK22 hours to complete

Speaking of Science: Oral Presentation

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.3 videos (Total 27 min), 6 readingsSEE ALLWEEK32 hours to complete

Writing Science: Written Communication

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.3 videos (Total 40 min), 3 readings, 1 quizSEE ALLWEEK41 hour to complete

Decoding Science: Technology Based Communication

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • When will I have access to the lectures and assignments?Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in audit mode, you will be able to see most course materials for free. To access graded assignments and to earn a Certificate, you will need to purchase the Certificate experience, during or after your audit. If you don’t see the audit option:
    • The course may not offer an audit option. You can try a Free Trial instead, or apply for Financial Aid.
    • The course may offer ‘Full Course, No Certificate’ instead. This option lets you see all course materials, submit required assessments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate experience.
  • What will I get if I purchase the Certificate? When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page – from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.
  • Is financial aid available? Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the “Enroll” button on the left. You’ll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. Learn more.
  • Will I earn university credit for completing the Course? This Course doesn’t carry university credit, but some universities may choose to accept Course Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more. Online Degrees and Mastertrack™ Certificates on Coursera provide the opportunity to earn university credit.


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