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Communication Practice for Health Science Professionals

2nd term
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Brian Klaas

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses.


Do you feel your ability to deliver an elevator pitch needs a refresher? How often have you wished you had expressed yourself in a more succinct way in high or low stakes situations? And how good are you explaining what you do at work or in class to friends and family? Being able to communicate our work as health science professionals clearly, confidently and accessibly is an important skill set in our daily practice. This course will provide you with basic, practice-oriented communication training in a collegial atmosphere - and in unusual settings - to help you become more confident and effective at speaking in lay terms and at expert level.

Introduces students to current trends in presentation design and delivery. Focuses on narrative-oriented thinking to improve information dissemination. Emphasizes clarity and simplicity in communication practice in multiple settings, targeting both lay and interdisciplinary expert audiences.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Construct visual presentations around simple, clear narratives
  2. Formulate concise statements and brief lightning speeches about current research topics without presentation aids
  3. Explain the need for their research in multiple formats, targeted at interdisciplinary and lay audiences
Methods of Assessment:

Weekly deliverables will have both formative and summative assessment character. All students will complete eight deliverables, each of which counts toward the overall course grade. Peer-to-peer feedback activities and participation account for 15%.
Weekly deliverables:
1) Knowledge assessment
2) Pecha Kucha style presentation
3) Press release (abstract size)
4) Problem pitch (interdisciplinary expert)
5) Problem pitch (lay audience)
6) Making it matter – social media
7) Promotional podcast
8) Discussion on science credibility

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for undergraduates

For consent, contact:

Special Comments:

Part of the R3 graduate science initiative