A University Laboratory Course to Improve Scientific Communication Skills

A University Laboratory Course to Improve Scientific Communication Skills A 14-week laboratory course at the University of Helsinki was offered to improve undergraduate and graduate students' writing and speaking skills, as well as their scientific skills. To emphasize active learning, the course avoided long lecture sessions and featured intensive homework assignments and in-class exercises. Examples of these assignments included a title-writing exercise, brainstorming, peer-reviewing, and prcis. To reveal their attitudes about and approaches toward scientific writing, gauge their opinions and knowledge of scientific communication skills, and guide the course content, the students completed a survey during week 1. The survey asked questions on such varied topics as the use of first-person pronouns in scientific writing, willingness to publish in open-access journals, and attitudes regarding coauthorship between students and professors. A final in-class presentation involved the students asking for funding for their research project from a panel of nonspecialists, forcing the students to convince others of the value of their research. The challenges of teaching this kind of laboratory course included encouraging student participation and the amount of grading, although these challenges could be overcome by small-group exercises and changing the approach to grading, respectively. Finally, this article discusses the opportunities for these exercises to be applied to regular curriculum courses in the atmospheric sciences. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

A University Laboratory Course to Improve Scientific Communication Skills

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
D.O.I.
10.1175/2010BAMS3037.1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

A 14-week laboratory course at the University of Helsinki was offered to improve undergraduate and graduate students' writing and speaking skills, as well as their scientific skills. To emphasize active learning, the course avoided long lecture sessions and featured intensive homework assignments and in-class exercises. Examples of these assignments included a title-writing exercise, brainstorming, peer-reviewing, and prcis. To reveal their attitudes about and approaches toward scientific writing, gauge their opinions and knowledge of scientific communication skills, and guide the course content, the students completed a survey during week 1. The survey asked questions on such varied topics as the use of first-person pronouns in scientific writing, willingness to publish in open-access journals, and attitudes regarding coauthorship between students and professors. A final in-class presentation involved the students asking for funding for their research project from a panel of nonspecialists, forcing the students to convince others of the value of their research. The challenges of teaching this kind of laboratory course included encouraging student participation and the amount of grading, although these challenges could be overcome by small-group exercises and changing the approach to grading, respectively. Finally, this article discusses the opportunities for these exercises to be applied to regular curriculum courses in the atmospheric sciences.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Sep 20, 2010

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