Session Title

Lightning Round


Althouse College, Auditorium, Room 1050

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I required students in 3rd year Environmental Change class to complete a blog writing assignment on a class blog. I communicated to the students that their task was to communicate a single primary research, scientific article in a format that would be accessible and interesting to the general public. The students, divided into focus groups, brainstormed their own criteria about how to effectively write for a general audience. These ideas were used to define the assignment criteria and create the marking rubric. Guided by their own criteria, students wrote, peer-edited, and maintained the blog, with at least two new articles posted each week during the course. The merits of the assignment were: (1) the students had to critically and closely read a scientific article in order to be able to explain it to a general audience; (2) the students practice a different (and useful) form of writing; (3) the students had to focus on presentation aspects, including whitespace, article length and audience appropriate imagery; (4) blogging has more room for creativity than conventional essay writing; and (5) the students were exposed to the work of their classmates, giving them a broader background in scientific research in the topic of Environmental Change.



Blogging: An Exercise in Communicating Science to the Public

Althouse College, Auditorium, Room 1050