Why communicate science?

Communicating your science to the right people, at the right times and in the right ways, ensures that your research has value and impact beyond academia. Effective science communication helps support positive changes in policy, practice and behaviour. With a focus on humanising science, and the people who do it, our course invites researchers to explore and develop the powerful stories that help audiences connect with their work. We pair this human focus with practical tools for strategically, cost-effectively and professionally communicating your work with non-specialists and the media.

Instructors

Brendon Bosworth and Tali Hoffman

Senior instructor

Brendon Bosworth

Brendon Bosworth believes that academic research needs to be paired with a softer, more human approach that relies on the power of storytelling to bring science to life. Brendon is the founder of Human Element Communications and has over 10 years experience as a journalist, editor, and communicator with a focus on urbanisation, climate change, and development. He has worked with organisations including the African Centre for Cities and African Climate and Development Initiative (both at the University of Cape Town), UN-Habitat, and Kenya's Deepening Democracy Programme. His work inside and outside of research institutions has allowed him to identify the challenges and opportunities for creating better synergies between researchers and non-specialist audiences.

Senior instructor

Tali Hoffman

With a PhD in Zoology Tali Hoffman is able to understand and interpret the technical details and complexity of a wide range of scientific disciplines. Through a decade of working as a science communicator with clients such as the African Climate and Development Initiative, the Cape Leopard Trust, the Future Water Institute, the Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa, and the Neuroscience Institute, she has also honed her abilities to make that science more relatable and accessible to diverse audiences. Tali is as confident communicating science in the spotlight – on television, on the radio and in public speaking fora – as she is developing professional and cost-effective communication products. Her passion for teaching and experience as a trainer allows her to successfully help others to build their capacities in these same areas.

What you'll learn about

  • Communicating strategically

    Learn to develop a targeted communication strategy with specific and measurable communication goals to up your impact.

  • The power of stories

    Reflect upon your own story and learn how to apply storytelling techniques to communicate with different audiences.

  • Becoming a media-savvy scientist

    Gain an improved understanding of the world of news media and learn to confidently communicate with journalists so that you ace your next media interview.

  • Communication tools

    Learn about animations, podcasts, photography, social media and more as you explore creative and cost-effective ways to communicate your work.

What students say

Informative and imparts skills to enrich your writing

Kennedy Chege, PhD candidate (Law), University of Cape Town

"I really enjoyed the course. I got to learn different things that will be invaluable in my writing for different audiences. It was also great to learn from the rest of the Mineral Law in Africa (MLiA) group. I would recommend the course because it is very informative and imparts skills to enrich your writing."

Well structured and slick

Dr Alta de Vos, senior lecturer, Rhodes University

"This course is an excellent sci-comm 101. It gives a great introduction to essential communication strategies and tools for everyone from science students to tenured professors to science practitioners. The course is well-structured, slick, beautifully produced, and easy-to-follow, and the enthusiastic instructors will make you want to keep watching. Whether you are looking to make sense of the sci-comm landscape, need tools and strategies to interact with the media when your research suddenly turns out to be controversial, or are looking to make your work more impactful and understandable to decision makers and the public, this course is for you. It will leave you feeling empowered, emboldened by a treasure trove of strategies and resources to return to again and again as you use your newfound knowledge to make a difference in the world."

Helped strengthen my communication techniques and strategies

Darlington Sibanda, postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cape Town's African Climate and Development Initiative

"It was the best communication course l have ever attended. It helped me to strengthen my communication techniques and strategies and also to understand my audience. The course is well structured and informative."

Fun and accessible

Zoë Boshoff, research fundraising specialist

"The ability to communicate science can make the difference between having an average and an exceptional scientific career, both in terms of raising funds and creating on-the-ground impact. Tali and Brendon make the principles fun and accessible, using real-world examples from their work as science communicators. I would highly recommend the course to anyone who wants to improve the reach and relevance of their scientific findings."

Facilitated learning

We run facilitated courses for specialist groups of eight or more, and can customise the content in places to make it more specific to particular fields. Over four weeks (approximately eight hours per week), students learn through a mix of video lessons, assignments, and facilitated group and one-on-one sessions. We provide an interactive learning environment, based on real-world experience, and support students as they develop their own communication product. Contact us for more information and pricing options.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Before you start

    • Welcome to the course!

    • Who we are

    • Pre-course survey

    • How to use the Thinkific platform

    • Online etiquette for facilitated sessions

  • 2

    Strategy chapter

    • Strategy chapter summary & learning outcomes

    • Lesson 1. Communication strategies

    • Assignment 1. Develop your communication strategy (part 1)

  • 3

    Stories chapter

    • Stories chapter summary & learning outcomes

    • Lesson 2. Why stories matter

    • Lesson 3. Story elements

    • Lesson 4. Personal narratives

    • Assignment 2. Craft and tell your story

    • Assignment 3. Develop your personal narrative

  • 4

    Media chapter

    • Media chapter summary & learning outcomes

    • Lesson 5. The language of the media

    • Lesson 6. What's newsworthy about your work?

    • Lesson 7. Developing soundbites

    • Lesson 8. Staying calm and focused during interviews

    • Lesson 9. Preparing for video interviews

    • Lesson 10. Putting yourself out there

    • Assignment 4. Write a lead paragraph

    • Assignment 5. Develop your soundbites

    • Assignment 6. Prepare for video interviews

    • Assignment 7. Put yourself out there

  • 5

    Toolbox chapter

    • Toolbox chapter summary & learning outcomes

    • Lesson 11. Improving the usual communication suspects

    • Lesson 12. Giving online presentations

    • Lesson 13. Using social media for impact

    • Lesson 14. Writing for the media

    • Lesson 15. Script before you scribble

    • Lesson 16. Taking photographs

    • Lesson 17. Making films

    • Lesson 18. Making podcasts

    • Lesson 19. Making animations

    • Lesson 20. Making infographics

    • Lesson 21. Thinking outside the toolbox

  • 6

    Develop your communication product

    • Assignment 8: Develop your communication strategy (part 2)

    • Assignment 9: Plan your communication activity

  • 7

    Before you go

    • Congratulations!

    • Course feedback form

    • Further reading

    • References

More information

  • Lesson length

    Each lesson is approximately 10 minutes long, giving the course a total lesson time of 4 hours.

  • Assignments

    Each chapter has assignments that can support your learning. Collectively, assignments will take approximately 15 hours to complete.

Pricing

The cost of the course varies depending on the number of participants and the degree to which we customise the design and content of the course. Please get in touch with us for more information.

Contact us

Whether you're an organisation wanting to arrange a customised course, or an individual who wants to start your communication journey, we're here to answer your questions!

Clients