Co-Creating the Future of Science Communication: The SCI-LEnS Project at the University of British Columbia

Friday 3:00pm-4:00pm SERC Building - Atrium | Poster #12
Poster Session Part of Friday Poster Session


Frederick Beeby Maglaque, University of British Columbia
Kirsten Hodge, University of British Columbia
Ruth Moore, University of British Columbia
Raveen Sidhu, University of British Columbia
Wylee Fitz-Gerald, University of British Columbia
Laura Lukes, University of British Columbia
Emma Betz, University of British Columbia
David Anderson, University of British Columbia
Shandin Pete, University of British Columbia

This presentation will provide an overview of the SCI-LEnS project (Student Curated Informal Learning and Engagement Spaces), an initiative at the University of British Columbia (UBC) redefining science communication education for graduate students. The course SCI-LEnS has developed aims to provide science graduate students with the skills and tools they need to communicate their cutting-edge research with the general public. It is with this goal in mind that the course and its development centers informal learning settings— museums, summer camps, aquariums, social media, podcasts, press releases, and beyond — as it is in these sites that science meets public audiences.

Community-driven collaboration is at the heart of the SCI-LEnS project, and this presentation will highlight how these collaborations have been core to structuring the course's development. We will highlight the importance of involving local museum professionals, who have contributed their expertise to the course, engaging with Indigenous scholars and community members, who've steered the course's key theme of decolonization in the sciences, and having students as co-developers of the course's core curriculum, leading research and content creation as part of a students-as-partners model of course development (Healey et all, 2016). We will also cover the course's experiential learning opportunities provided through the Pacific Museum of Earth, the course's "host" museum, which will allow students to apply their learnings in a real-world setting. As a reciprocal relationship, the course will also benefit the Pacific Museum of Earth's long-term sustainability as a university-run informal learning space as students will build and iterate on the museum's resources.

This presentation is aimed at educators, museum professionals, and anyone interested in the intersection of education, community engagement, and the importance of providing early-career scientists with the skills to communicate why their science matters.

Healey, M., Flint, A., Harrington, K. (2016). Students as partners: Reflections on a conceptual model. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 4(2).