In spring 1931, the BBC transmitted six weekly radio programmes, under the title Science in the Making, as part of its adult education provision.
Each week a different scientist outlined his area of research, and in five cases invited listeners to report their observations of phenomena described in the programme.
Topics included the factors affecting the start of breeding season of birds, the advance of the grey squirrel in Britain, the perception of sound, and the pervasiveness of certain types of dream.
Science in the Making was thus an early venture into ‘citizen science’ and one broadcast led to an academic-journal article. This presentation gives the story of Science in the Making, and looks at a second series the following year that concentrated on social science.
Allan Jones is a Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications, part of the Faculty of Mathematics, Computing & Technology in the Open University.
When I got an email from Richard Holliman about an Open University (OU) media skills training course, it took me all of 30 seconds to double-check with my PhD supervisor and sign up. I’d previously attended a one-day event with the Royal Society, and was keen for a more in-depth course. I had no idea what to expect, but was excited to hear that the aim of the course would be to build up the skills needed to design, produce and edit a short film.
From the 2nd to 6th June I worked with fellow OU PhD students Frazer Bird, Jamie Dorey, Hnin Myint, and Phillipa Smith, under the expert guidance of presenter Janet Sumner, cinematographer Gerard Giorgi-Coll and Assistant Producer Tom Ryan to create a short film about a collaborative research project between the OU and the Field Studies Council (FSC), an environmental education charity that provides opportunities for people of all ages to engage in fieldwork. You can watch the results of our efforts by selecting the video below.
Last week I was helping out with a media training week, working with MK College students. The students spent the week learning the skills needed to make a short film focusing on a research project being run by the OU. This particular training focused on the nQuire platform. Here’s my run down of the week: ...continue reading →
Creating and sustaining an online research presence
As part of a small team of researchers working within the OU's Public Engagement with Research Catalyst team, Trevor Collins and I have been exploring how researchers across the OU are using digital tools as part of their public engagement with research activities to develop an online presence that sustains public engagement with their research. Here's an update on the work we've been doing...
Research staff surveys
The first step was to include four questions in the Vitae CROS and PIRLS research staff surveys in 2013. In one, we asked respondents to give us an example of a public engagement activity they had undertaken; only 3.5% (six people) identified some form of digital engagement (e.g. blogging, citizen science, podcasting, etc.). This suggests either that respondents are unaware of the potential of digital tools as an engagement technology or do not think of digital technologies as a means for engagement.
The conference celebrated 10 years of science communication programmes based at the SCU and it was lovely to see that around a fifth of delegates on the day were our graduates.
The programme was packed with interesting plenary talks, vibrant presentations and quick paced PechaKucha chats. The Science Communication Unit @SciCommsUWE Twitter feed captures some of the online discussion, and we've also created a Storify of the day.
On Friday 4th April 2014 I’ll be involved in hosting the second conference in our Evolving Science Communication series. You can find details of the first, held five years ago, in this report.
This conference celebrates 10 years of science communication programmes based at the Science Communication Unit (SCU), University of the West of England, Bristol. We’ve been delighted to work with our graduates to design a conference programme that we hope appeals to them, as well as to others currently working in and/or researching the ‘field’. ...continue reading →
Change takes time, persistence, commitment, care, collective action. How does this fit with academic pressures to produce journal publication after journal publication and busy teaching commitments?
If you're into social and environmental change, there's a tension, a challenge with coming at change from an academic perspective where your contributions to wider society and the environment might not be valued. For me, the reward, is a feeling - not money, not promotion - but a sense that day-by-day a different world is crafted when our work is shaped by outside influences and we are ourselves open to change.