Course Overview. Communicating in the Sciences is an introduction to the communication genres and styles within the scientific discourse community. Students learn to read and comprehend articles from scholarly scientific journals; evaluate the rhetorical situation in a variety of communication settings encountered by scientists; analyze and evaluate communications in their major fields, write papers and present scientific information orally for a variety of audiences; correctly use and explain appropriate jargon and word choices; develop assignments through assignment analysis, drafting and research, workshops, peer review, and revision; write at least one science article in publishable format following journal conventions; and develop one presentation following science conference conventions.

In this class, students are invited to join their scientific communities as scholars, receiving instruction in selecting, evaluating, and integrating sources into their work. Homework, writing and oral assignments, and collaborative work challenge students engage in a professional framework, use language skillfully to relay their ideas to a particular audience and for a particular purpose; polish and proofread carefully, evaluate sources, and establish their own ethos as authors of their own work.

Course-Specific Learning Outcomes. After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Read, comprehend, summarize, and explain scientific literature successfully
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, author ethos) in scientific written and oral communication
  • Communicate with a combination of precision, clarity, objectivity, and authority
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of ethical standards, the writing process, and collaborative strategies in science communication
  • Find and integrate scientific sources appropriately in communications; correctly formats citations using designated citation systems

Cluster 1C Learning Outcomes. After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Read with comprehension and critically interpret and evaluate written work in discipline-specific context
  • Demonstrate rhetorically effective, discipline-specific writing for appropriate audiences
  • Demonstrate, at an advanced level of competence, use of discipline-specific control of language, modes of development, and formal conventions
  • Demonstrate intermediate information literacy skills by selecting, evaluating, integrating, and documenting information gathered from multiple sources into discipline-specific writing

Texts and/or Assigned Readings. The following list represents the kind of texts instructors may assign:

  • A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, 8/E by Jan A. Pechenik. Pearson: 2013.
  • Writing in the Sciences: Exploring Conventions of Scientific Discourse, 3/E by Ann M. Penrose and Steven B. Katz. Longman: 2010.
  • Writing in the Life Sciences: A Critical Thinking Approach by Laurence Greene. Oxford University Press: 2009.

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