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Course Description

This course is intended for scientists, science communicators, journalists and freelancers who write science news and stories for the general public. Topics include: writing skills, planning and structuring your work, finding and evaluating science stories, the roles of the internet, interviewing, controversy and ethics in science writing, fact checking and understanding statistics. Learn through study, practice, peer and instructor feedback, and assignments.

Course Details

Course Learning Outcomes

This course will focus on the specialized skills applicable to writing about science for the general public.  Through real-world assignments, participants will learn about selecting material, finding the “hook” that will make it interesting and relevant to the audience, and accurately translating scientific jargon into meaningful prose.  Online research and writing tools will be discussed and you will be encouraged to practice with them during the course.  With any luck, we’ll all learn a lot and have some fun too!

By completion of this course, successful students will be able to:

  • Choose a good topic to write about, or, if a topic is assigned to you, find the most interesting and relevant aspects of it to write about.
  • Find credible sources of information and differentiate between primary and secondary sources.
  • Choose the appropriate reference management and writing tools for your work.
  • Describe the role of graphics (photos, infographics, etc.) in science writing and choose appropriate images.
  • Edit your own (and other people’s) copy to enhance readability and meaning.
  • Explain how to deal with scientists as sources.
  • Determine when an idea merits a short article, long form piece, even a book
  • Define the requirements of various media (print, electronic, web, etc.) and be able to match a story idea to the best medium.
  • Assess the importance and nuances of copyright issues, “fair use,” and the publication and dissemination channels for science writing.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: Learning Online (BMC 352 or BMC 152) 

You may not register online for this course until you have successfully completed Learning Online or have a Learning Online Prerequisite Waiver in your profile. You may enrol in this course by telephone if you are enrolled in a section of BMC 352 that will be completed before this course begins.

Applies Towards the Following Certificate(s)

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