SCOM1101 Communicating Science

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Science Communication major sequence
  • Level 1 complementary unit in the Conservation Biology; Microbiology and Immunology; Mathematics and Statistics; Zoology; Botany; Agricultural Science; Geology; Environmental Science; Natural Resource Management; Geographical Sciences major sequences
  • Level 1 complementary unit in the Coastal and Ocean Systems specialisation in the Marine Science major sequence
  • Level 1 complementary unit in the Marine Biology specialisation in the Marine Science major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit are Life and Health Sciences, Management and Commerce, Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 1 elective
What is scientific knowledge, how does it develop and how can it be more effectively communicated? How do you determine credibility of 'scientific' information and decide what information to use and how to use it appropriately?

Students find, examine and critically analyse information relating to a scientific topic. They learn to use various mechanisms to discuss and present scientific ideas. They discuss their findings, write a scientific article and give an oral presentation. Students provide feedback to their peers. Students work with their workshop as a team to organise an event about a science topic of their choice.
Students are able to (1) have an awareness and understanding of scientific practices, including the scientific method, development of scientific knowledge and communication about that knowledge, to peers and to the wider community; (2) find and critically analyse information and the credibility of information sources, and understand appropriate mechanisms of crediting sources of information and be able to cite those sources; (3) present information and ideas in an effective written form that is appropriate to the purpose and the reader; (4) have an awareness of basic learning theories and an understanding about the impact of how people process information on effectiveness of communication; (5) demonstrate effective verbal communication skills through the development and presentation of oral presentations and through teamwork in workshop activities; (6) have demonstrated mastery in organising and presenting scientific information in the form of a report written according to professional standards; (7) work both independently and collaboratively by effective participation in individual and team projects; and (8) provide constructive feedback and incorporate peer feedback appropriately.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) scholarly skills activities; (2) scientific report; and (3) event. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Pieter Poot and Dr Sam Illingworth,
Unit rules
ATAR Mathematics Applications
WACE Mathematics 2C/2D
TEE Discrete Mathematics
MATH1720 Mathematics Fundamentals (only required if students haven't completed Maths Applications
WACE Mathematics 2C/2D
TEE Discrete Mathematics
higher). Please note that there will be a delay in validating your enrollment in SCOM1101 after you have enrolled in MATH 1720.
Contact hours
Lectures: 2 hours per week (1 face to face, 1 on line; overall 21 lectures)

Lab sessions: 2 hours per week (either face to face or on line; overall 6 face to face, and 4 on line labs)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]

Recommended text (i.e. not compulsory):

Illingworth, S. and Allen, G. (2016). Effective Science Communication. A practical guide to surviving as a scientist. Bristol, UK: IOP Publishing.

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.