September 2019 -July 2020
The goal of the three-year CIS Programme is to train you to become proficient academic communicators. Communication is an intrinsic part of the work of the researcher, and is just as important, and perhaps even more important, than being competent at bench work and data analysis. Biomedical scientists must be proficient writers and presenters; to publish your research you must demonstrate your work is valid, convince your audience, and engage with critics via peer review. By following the CIS line you will learn the principles of communication and how apply them within a scientific genre to inform, convince and inspire your audience.
CIS is organized as a line, a kind of red thread, that weaves through each of the modules of the year. Throughout the year, you will be trained and supported in performing a series of communication activities that cover the full breadth of skills needed by present day researchers.
CIS uses a task-based design; this means you will learn by doing. You will learn by practicing and refining tasks that, over time, will grow in complexity. To foster active learning you will spend considerable time carrying out peer review- providing and receiving feedback, critique and suggestions from your fellow students. This is an important element of learning as it developed your understanding and analytical capacities.
Learning to be a science communicator involves two elements: assimilating essential principles, and becoming skilled in applying communication techniques to various media: writing, presenting, and designing posters. In this year we will focus on three fundamental communication principles:
Audience awareness: each audience your work with has different needs, requirements and levels of knowledge. The first step in communicating effectively is to develop awareness of your audience’s requirements. This principle seems simple, but that does not make it easy. As your scientific knowledge and experience grows it becomes increasingly challenging for researchers to reach the needs of different audiences.
Purpose driven communication: Science communication is by definition purpose driven: activities on the CIS programme will help you to identify your purpose, and make sure that this purpose is not only clear, but is used to move your whole research story forwards.
Message focus: CIS training will help you to identify your main message, the main points that you wish to communicate, and help you to make sure that this message is clear, relevant and resonates with your reader.
A number of techniques can be learned to help you achieve your communication goals: you will learn interactive techniques to capture and hold the attention of a live audience. You will learn how to structure text so that it coherent, cohesive and compelling. You will learn how to develop a persuasive line of reasoning, and you will learn to enthuse and inspire your audience.
Our focus in this first year will be on the fundamentals of science communication; we will begin with how to structure a scientific text, and we will explore the conventions of scientific discourse. You will learn the conventions of the scientific genre: how should a research story be composed and presented; what expectations do researchers have for scientific texts, and how you can adhere to them .We will focus on key characteristics of science writing: relevance, impersonal tone and concision. Your first writing tasks will be in Dutch, though the majority of this year will focus on English language communication. This will best prepare you for your research career.
In summary, the focus this year is on the following objectives. You will:
Become familiar with the formal register and conventions of biomedical science communication
Develop your time-management skills and organise you studies
Transform a experiment protocol into a Material and Methods section
Write a scientific report using formal register in Dutch
Become familiar with presentation techniques for formal presentations in Dutch
Become familiar with the scientific register of English
Write a journalistic article and a formal abstract
Write a scientific report using formal register
Write a scientific report collaboratively as a team
Write a symposium report based on the Biomedical Sciences Symposium
Mode of instruction
The line course Communication in Science (CIS) is a form of transmodular education that is integrated with the modules. CIS is taught via lectures, work groups, self-study, video training and individual tutorials. Students build up a portfolio containing all assessments and feedback. The course makes use of the electronic learning environment Blackboard.
CIS applies continuous assessment; the final mark for the year is a weighted average of all individual marks for the written assignments and a formal oral presentation.