The annual online science communication course at Stellenbosch University in South Africa provides an opportunity for science communication professionals (or those aiming to move into this field) to develop and build their careers. The course provides an introduction to science communication theory and practice, as well as an overview of current trends and challenges related to public science engagement.

Now in its fifth year, 247 participants from around the world (mostly from South Africa and other African countries) have successfully completed this course. Read feedback from the class of 2018.

The 2019 course will be co-presented by Dr Marina Joubert and Dr Lars Guenther.

Who is the course for?

All students and scientists who are interested in communicating science to the general public and who want to know more about the theory, research and best practice of the field should benefit from this course. This course is specifically designed for people who are already working in the field of science communication, or want to move into these careers (i.e. as communication professionals at universities, science councils, museums, science centres, NGOs, etc).

Course overview and dates

  • 23 April 2019
    Deadline for applications
  • 3 May 2019
    Course platform opens
  • 6 – 12 May 2019
    Week 1 – Introduction to science communication
  • 13 – 19 May 2019
    Week 2 – Science communication role players
  • 20 – 16 May 2019
    Week 3 – Science and the media
  • 27 May – 2 June 2019
    Week 4 – Creative approaches to sharing science
  • 3 – 9 June 2019
    Week 5 – Science communication as a field of research
  • 10 – 16 June 2019
    Week 6 – Practical skills for science communicators
  • 17 June to 16 July 2019
    Joint practical science communication research project

Each week of this online course is roughly equivalent to 2 – 3 hours of teaching time. In addition, participants should allow at least another 2 – 3 hours for reading through materials and watching short videos or video talks. All course materials are in English.

Feedback from participants in previous #scicomm online courses:

I am so glad that I got this opportunity to do this course. I cannot speak highly enough about it. I welcome all that I have learnt during this course and can’t wait for the next one to take place in 2019, so that I can refer my colleagues to it. (Michelle Binedell, knowledge manager, South African Sugarcane Research Institute)

The course has boosted my critical thinking skills as a science communicator. I now understand how easy it is for both communicators and the public to misinterpret research data. Also, a lot of quackery gets passed off as real science in the “fake news” age, but now I have the tools to better identify it! (Thalia Brussow, copywriter & online engagement officer, National Research Foundation)

The Scicomm online course was excellent. Well planned and better than I hoped for. I can definitely recommend the course.(Elbie Els, Central Analytical Facilities, Stellenbosch University)

The course is simply good value for money, from the contents to materials to interaction and the availability of the facilitators for response and guidance! (Tlou Masehela, South African National Biodiversity Institute)

Application

Contact Rolene Langford to book your place on the 2019 course. She will assist you with the online application process.

Cost

The course fee for 2019 is R8 500 (South African Rand) per participant. You (or your institution) will receive an invoice from Stellenbosch University once you have applied.

Assessment and certification

A certificate will be awarded to participants who contribute constructively to weekly discussions and exercises/assignments for the duration of the course, and who achieve an average of 50% or more for the course assignments.