31 October 2023

The 2023 edition of the science communication online course successfully concluded its six-week journey, fostering memorable and creative conversations about science. Guided by Professor Marina Joubert and Lili Rademan, this year’s program brought together 41 students from a diverse range of locations and professions. We delved into various aspects of science communication including its history, science and art, slaying jargon dragons, and using storytelling as a scicomm superpower.

Participants from diverse corners of the world

The course welcomed a diverse array of students from both local and international backgrounds, hailing from countries including South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon, and Spain. What’s particularly noteworthy is the broad spectrum of professions these participants represent, with practicing scientists, healthcare professionals, and communication officers, each contributing their unique expertise to the course. Their fields of study and professional backgrounds spanned health sciences, agriculture, engineering, education, media studies, and marketing.

Insightful guest speakers

One of the highlights of the course was the inclusion of renowned local and international science communication experts as guest speakers. Notable among them was Mohamed Elsonbaty, an award-winning science journalist from Egypt, who shared his personal journey as an African science communicator with a global career. He offered valuable insights into finding (and creating) opportunities, the importance of networking, and the significance of lifelong professional development.

Inspiring alumni

Jamila Janna, a storyteller and marine biologist who is also an alumna of the 2022 scicomm online course, shared her inspiring journey as a science communicator. She revealed how science communication symposiums played a pivotal role in her career, leading to one of her awards being used to create an award-winning film, “Hluleka.” This nature documentary, with a marine conservation theme, seeks to foster community engagement in decision-making, focusing on South Africa’s smallest marine protected area, Hluleka.

Participant feedback

Following the completion of the course, participants shared their thoughts and experiences, highlighting the profound impact it had on their understanding of science communication. Some of the feedback from the course participants included:

“This has been so helpful. I honestly didn’t know of science communication as an independent field. I was in tears during the first lesson because it gave language to what I always saw as a gap within the scientific world. Science and creativity/art should co-exist.”

“Participating in this course significantly expanded my understanding of effective science communication strategies. I now appreciate the vital role science communication plays in bridging the gap between research and the public. This course equipped me with valuable skills and boosted my confidence in conveying complex scientific concepts to diverse audiences.”

“Participating in this course has been incredibly enlightening for me. It has significantly changed my view of science communication and highlighted its important role in my career.”
“It has opened my eyes to a whole new interesting world. It felt more like home.”

The 2023 science communication online course has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on its participants and course facilitators, equipping them with valuable skills and insights as they continue their journeys in science communication.