|Module Title||SCIENCE AND THE MEDIA|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Dylan G Jones|
|Course delivery||Lecture||10 lectures in the form of web-based materials|
|Practical||These sessions will be degree scheme specific.|
|Seminars / Tutorials||Students will need to set time aside to study additional materials (video, pdf articles etc) which will also be available on the web.|
2. Historical aspects. The early newspapers. Health was (and is) one of the major topics covered as it is of great public interest. The Victorian Age and the idea of progress as a good thing for mankind. Comparison with modern attitudes towards progress, particularly in the context of the destruction of the environment and developments in genetics. Ironically, in a 'secular' age, 'playing God' is now a common theme used in criticism of scientists.
3-6. The situation today. Problems of communication and understanding between scientists, the public and the media. Topics that scientists consider important may be ignored or presented in ways that seem sensationalised or trivialised. The nature of scientific proof is not widely understood and public perceptions of statistics (e.g. figures for risk in different contexts) may be unrealistic.
Illustrated by case studies:
7. Practical aspects. Spoken and written communication of ideas, for different audiences. Comparing articles / interviews produced in different styles. How to contact the Press, and 'how to be interviewed' for the radio or television.
8. Factual TV programmes. Studying specific programmes and discussing how they convey specific information, how they entertain, and how science and scientists themselves are represented.
9. Public perceptions: The scientist as hero and villain. How are science and scientists portrayed in the different media. Examples of scientific 'heroes and villains' from throughout the last century, e.g. Einstein as the archetypal caricature of the eccentric white-haired scientist, Christian Barnard as a hero of medicine or Steve Jones as the 'face of genetics' today. Fictional images of science and scientists on film and TV from Metropolis and Frankenstein to The Fly and Jurassic Park.
10. Trust, or lack of trust. Is it true that people today no longer trust what scientists tell them? Is this just part of the general trend of lack of faith in 'authority figures', such as politicians, or does it relate to the image of scientists in general, or to specific recent controversies such as BSE, MMR or GM? Aspects of propaganda, bias, ethics, and instances of faking scientific findings. The influence of the funding structure, and the pressures to publish (the reality, and the public perception). How can things be improved?
11. Subject specific material - Introduced by the tutor and involving exercises that are subject specific. A tutor in Genetics might introduce and focus on the GM debate whilst a tutor in Zoology could introduce animal testing, etc.
|Problem solving||Production of articles for different audiences and with different bias.|
|Research skills||Articles and presentation.|
|Communication||Articles, presentation and interviews|
|Improving own Learning and Performance||Articles, presentation and interviews|
|Team work||Since the presentations will be followed by `media style¿ interviews it is felt that the fairest system would be for students to produce, and `defend¿ their presentations individually.|
|Information Technology||Presentation, and use of web resources.|
|Application of Number||Understanding and intelligible presentation of statistical data will be included in the lectures and students will be encouraged also to include this aspect in articles and presentations.|
|Personal Development and Career planning||This module will not only help the scientists of the future to communicate better with the media and the public, but will also be of great relevance to those who pursue other careers in education, government/administration or, of course, the media.|
|Subject Specific Skills||Interview skills, writing skills.|
This module is at CQFW Level 5