LSC students head into Fall 2014

250 articleStudents all across the Department of Life Sciences Communication have kicked off their fall 2014 semester. LSC offers a wide variety of classes to educate students in both the theoretical and practical side of science communication. We believe this balance is important for a well-rounded science communicator to succeed in today’s rapidly changing media and technology environment. Read on for more information about exciting things our students will learn about this semester.

Learning the ropes

Freshmen’s first experience with LSC is through LSC 100: Introduction to Communication — Inquiry and Exposition. In this class students develop effective written and spoken communication skills that serve as their base and help them succeed in other LSC classes.

In a teaching environment set up to specifically allow for small class sizes, students will learn how to gather and evaluate information, write research papers and other documents, and prepare and deliver oral presentations.

The class focuses on communication in the life sciences, combining aspects from health, environmental, agricultural, and biological sciences. These fields are a common theme throughout the semester.

Tools of the trade

The LSC faculty comes from a variety of backgrounds and excels in both practical and theoretical science communication. On the practical side, there is a method to giving every mode of communication a proper science spin and LSC gives students the tools to do so.

Students interested in any form of written or spoken science communication will feel right at home in LSC. They’re taking classes in everything from newswriting, video production, graphic design, website design, advertising, and radio — all with a focus on how to succeed in that area when it comes to the life sciences.

A news story, video or radio segment has its own set of needs and challenges when it comes to communicating the life sciences, and a piece of advertising or website dedicated to the life sciences has its own quirks. It is through classes like these in LSC that students learn to face these issues head on.

These classes include LSC 111: Science and Technology Newswriting, LSC 212: Introduction to Scientific Communication, LSC 270: Communication in Life Sciences Industries, LSC 314: Introduction to Digital Video Production, LSC 332: Print and Electronic Media Design, LSC 360: Information Radio, LSC 431: Advertising in the Life Sciences, and LSC 532: Web Design for the Sciences.

Grounded in theory

Without an education in the theory behind science communication, practical knowledge in the field becomes a moot point. LSC students are exposed to these important theoretical ideas through classes during their university careers.

Research plays a big role in the success of the department and undergraduates are no exception. This semester some students will become armed with knowledge of science communication research theory and methodology.

In an era of rapid technological change and media convergence, it is important for students to stay at the forefront of the trends. From surveys to focus groups to case studies, LSC students will become versed in how to pursue their own research interests.

The theory and research classes include LSC 250: Research Methods in the Communications Industry, LSC 440: Contemporary Communication Technology and Their Social Impacts, LSC 625: Risk Communication, and LSC 640: Case Studies in the Communication of Science and Technology.

To see a full list of undergraduate classes check out the Undergraduate Catalog: http://pubs.wisc.edu/ug/cals_lsc.htm