Science is not completed until it is communicated. Though many scientists may agree, they often lack the resources required to develop their own science communication (SciComm) skills. The Steering Group for the iGEM Science Communication Network has created a free course to provide fundamental training in science communication. Our course equips scientists with the essential skills in writing, presenting, social media, illustration, and best practices needed to realize the full potential of their research and make advances at the intersection of science and society.
We surveyed current and past iGEMers on what SciComm topics they would like to master. These are the top 5 topics that you, our iGEM community, have identified for us:
Communicating to broad audiences
Communicating to a scientific audience
We have recruited SciComm experts in the areas you have helped identify. Each expert has created and recorded a video lesson, and each concludes with a short opportunity to practice at the end. Wait, does that mean we have assignments? Yes, you do, but we have designed these to help you, and here’s how! Because of the central role communication plays in science, these skills can improve not only your projects but also your career! As such, we’ve structured each lesson to conclude with an assignment to reinforce the concepts, to be evaluated by the corresponding expert or by our very own Steering Group. By the end of the course, you’ll have your very own SciComm Portfolio to demonstrate your new skills!
We are excited to be launching our own course on Mastering Science Communication!
How it works
Step 1: Watch one video in each of the five course categories.
Step 2: Complete the assignments, one from each video you watched.
Step 3: Submit your finished assignments (at least 5 in total) as one portfolio via this form.
Step 4: Wait for us to get back to you with feedback and your certificate of completion.
Step 5 (optional): Contact us to have your portfolio displayed by us on our website.
The course is completely free and accessible online at any time. The pre-recorded lessons are hosted on the iGEM Video Universe and linked to this webpage as well for easy access! We are also posting the instructions for each assignment here. Each lesson will be about 30 minutes in length on average and the assignments will be designed to take about 30 minutes to an hour (but feel free to spend more time perfecting them!). Since lectures are pre-recorded, you start the course at any time and complete it at your own pace!
What will you achieve
Learn about the best practices for effective and accessible science communication
Learn strategies for communicating to broad audiences
Understand how to leverage social media to share your science
Use science illustration to inform scientific concepts while bypassing language barriers
Develop hands-on skills using tools and resources to complete your own SciComm Portfolio
Earn a certificate of course completion
This course is independent of the iGEM Competition, and is not directed towards guiding you for medal and award eligibility.Any opinions expressed in this course are not reflective of any institution(s) with which we may be affiliated (except for iGEM Community).
Each expert has thought of an assignment compatible with their lesson.The assignments for each category can be found at the end of each video, in each video's description as well as in the downloadable PDF below.
Please make sure that you only use materials that are appropriately licensed for reuse, such as open-source code or Creative Commons licensed images, text or video clips for your assignments. Music and background sounds must be royalty-free, or specifically licensed for creative commons use. You have to attribute and credit all the creators and licenses of the material that you submit. Remember, accurate citations are a part of doing good science!
After watching one video lesson and completing one assignment from each category, you will compile your work into a portfolio for submission. The submission is organized via a form that you fill in and can upload files into.
If you have only written documents and pictures you can compile them into one large PDF and upload that file in the form. Make sure to clearly label your assignments in the PDF and keep the portfolio organized and neat. If your portfolio includes video or audio files, you can choose to upload them to a video/audio hosting platform and fill in the link to the video in the form. The iGEM Video Universe is the primary video hosting platform used by the iGEM Community and you can freely use it after creating your own iGEM account. However, you may utilize whatever hosting platform you are comfortable with that can generate a link so we may access and review your work. Example hosting platforms are: YouTube, Google drive, Dropbox, Buzzsprout, Podbean, Bilibili, etc. In the submission form you will be asked:
Which videos you watched
How you liked the course
To upload your portfolio PDF (Name the PDF: Portfolio_MasteringSciComm_YOURNAME)
To add links to externally hosted assignments like videos
Please ensure that your personal information is correct since it will be used for the certificate