There’s a bunch of master’s of public health students at the University of Michigan who want to communicate about complex science to the public and you’re invited. Mind the Science Gap blog is a project of Dr. Andrew Maynard’s. The project is being presented as part of a course. Here’s a description of the course for the students (from the Syllabus webpage),
This course is designed to teach participants how to connect effectively with a non-expert audience when conveying complex science-based information that is relevant to public health, using the medium of a public science blog (http://mtsg.org).
In today’s data-rich and hyper-connected world, the gap between access to information and informed decision-making is widening. It is a gap that threatens to undermine actions on public health as managers, policy makers, consumers and others struggle to fish relevant information from an ever-growing sea of noise. And it is a gap that is flourishing in a world where anyone with a smart phone and an Internet connection can become an instant “expert”.
To bridge this gap, the next generation of public health professionals will need to be adept at working with new communication platforms, and skilled at translating “information” into “intelligence” for a broad audience. These skills will become increasingly relevant to communicating effectively with managers, clients and customers. But more broadly, they will be critical to supporting evidence-informed decisions as social influences continue to guide public health activities within society.
Here’s a bit more about the blog itself and what the students will be doing (from the About page),
Mind the Science Gap is a science blog with a difference. For ten weeks between January and April 2012, Masters of Public Health students from the University of Michigan will each be posting weekly articles as they learn how to translate complex science into something a broad audience can understand and appreciate.
Each week, ten students will take a recent scientific publication or emerging area of scientific interest, and write a post on it that is aimed at a non expert and non technical audience. As the ten weeks progress, they will be encouraged to develop their own area of focus and their own style.
And they will be evaluated in the most brutal way possible – by the audience they are writing for! As this is a public initiative, comments and critiques on each post will be encouraged, and author responses expected.
This is not a course on science blogging. Rather, it is about teaching public health graduate students how to convey complex information effectively to a non-expert audience, using the medium of a science blog.
The blogging starts Jan. 16, 2012 and you are invited to participate. You can be a casual commenter or Andrew has a list of almost 40 mentors (people who’ve committed to commenting on the content at least once per week) and he’s asking for more. BTW, I (Maryse de la Giroday) am on the list as is Robyn Sussel, health and academic communicator and principal for Signals, a Vancouver-based communications and graphic design company. If you’re interested in signing up as a mentor, you can contact Andrew through this email address: email@example.com
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