LSC 350: Visualizing Science & Technology Summer 2021

Todd Newman, assistant professor of life sciences communication, teaches an LSC course at the Microbial Sciences Building at UW–Madison in Madison, Wis., Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Photo by Michael P. King/UW–Madison CALS

The department of Life Sciences Communication is a world leader in science communication research, education and practice. We invite students, scientists, and communications professionals to join us this summer for LSC 350: Visualizing Science & Technology.

This online course runs May 24-June 27, 2021 with an asynchronous structure so you can fit it into your busy lifestyle.

Visuals, ranging from graphics, photographs, videos, animations to data visualizations, are being widely used to communicate scientific concepts and information. Content aside, the visual formats, including colors, shapes, aesthetics, etc., may shape our processing and understanding of the conveyed message subconsciously. This course introduces the theoretical and practical principles of visual communication pertaining to science, environment, and agriculture.

Throughout the semester, students will (1) identify and analyze visual representations of interested topics, (2) understand and explain their effectiveness in terms of illustrating, informing, and persuading, (3) offer and justify recommendations for visual design practices. Students will also learn to discern unethical manipulations of visuals, such as deepfakes, distorted data graphs, and fake photos. Each week, lectures introduce a visual theory from psychology, neuroscience, vision science, communication, or information science; student-led discussions then explore intriguing and visually appealing examples from mass media, exhibits or other venues.

I’m interested in enrolling in this course, now what?

Current UW-Madison students can enroll for the course using Course Search and Enroll.

Professionals and non-UW students who want to take LSC online courses and are not currently enrolled students, need to first complete a free application to be a UW-Madison “special student” at least one month prior to the start of the course in order to enroll in courses at the university. The application can be found here.

Applicants will be asked to select their student status in the application. Most likely, professionals interested in courses offered by the Department of Life Sciences Communication will fall under the category of UNDS (Professional Development or Personal Interest) or UNRS (Preparation for Admission to Graduate or Professional School).

Please Note: The special student application asks for a statement of interest, but this can be a short sentence stating the class of interest.

Information about special student tuition and fees can be found on the Adult Career and Special Student Services’ tuition and fees webpage.

For additional information on special student status, refer to the university special student section of the UW-Madison Continuing Studies website.

Contact Tera Holtz Wagner at if you have any questions!