Spring 2018 Course Offerings

Communicating Science graduate courses are open to masters and PhD students in STEM disciplines. Tuition is covered for PhD students (fall or spring semesters) if they are currently supported full time by their program (TA/GA/RA or Fellow) and have a full Graduate Tuition Scholarship. Enrollment in the course requires pre-approval from your Graduate Program Director. Masters students can also enroll and pay tuition as normal.

Register now through SOLAR. If you have questions, please email: AldaCenter@stonybrook.edu

1-Credit Core Courses

The two core components of the Alda Center curriculum are Improvisation for Scientists and Distilling Your Message. We strongly recommend taking the core courses first.

JRN 501 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: DISTILLING YOUR MESSAGE

Students learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters, in terms non-scientists can understand. Practice finding common ground with listeners and speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences. Includes a video interview with a journalist. 

JRN 501.01 – Mondays, Jan 22, 29 Feb 5, 12, 19; 5:30-8:20pm 
JRN 501.02 – Tuesdays, Feb 27, Mar 6, 20, 27, Apr 3; 3:30-6:20pm 

JRN 503 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: IMPROVISATION FOR SCIENTISTS

This innovative course uses improvisational theater techniques to help students communicate more directly and responsively. It’s not about acting; it’s about connecting with an audience.

JRN 503.01 – Tuesdays, Jan 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20; 4:00-6:50pm
JRN 503.02 – Mondays, Feb 26, Mar 5, 19, 26, Apr 2; 5:30-8:20pm

1-Credit Additional Courses

JRN 502 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: WRITING TO BE UNDERSTOOD

Students develop their ability to write about science or health for a public audience without “dumbing down” their material. The course focuses on such forms as letters to the editor, blogs & op-edits. This is a 4-week, 1-credit course.

JRN 502.01 – Tuesdays, Feb 27, Mar 6, 20, 27; 5:30-9:00pm 
JRN 502.02 – Wednesdays, Apr 11, 18, 25, May 2; 5:30-9:00pm

JRN 504 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: USING DIGITAL MEDIA

How to use blogs, podcasts, video, Twitter and other forms of social media for two-way communication with different segments of the public. Includes hands-on instruction, tailored to students’ experience and development of a weekly blog. This is a 5-week, 1-credit course.

JRN 504 – Mondays, Feb 26, Mar 5, 19, 26, Apr 2; 5:30-8:20pm 

JRN 508 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: ENGAGING KEY AUDIENCES 

This is a 4-week, 1-credit course for students who have taken either JRN 501 Distilling Your Message or JRN 503 Improvisation for Scientists and want to build on the skills introduced in those courses. Through role-playing and other exercises, students will practice communicating with key audiences, such as potential employers, students, journalists, and public officials.

JRN 508 – Mondays, Apr 9, 16, 23, 30; 5:30-9:00pm 

JRN 514 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: SCIENCE UNPLUGGED PRESENTS

This course is the second part of a two-part presentation course after the successful completion of JRN 509. It is designed for students who are preared to deliver their scientific talks to a public audience. Students will travel to local high schools or libraries to deliver their prepared talk. Each student will deliver their talk at least twice, as well as participate as a peer coach for another student off-campus. In addition, students will have a guest spot on the Science Unplugged web show. Learn more and watch samples. Email valeri.lantz-gefroh@stonybrook.edu for permission to enroll.

JRN 509.02 – The class will meet as a group on Wednesdays, Jan 24, 31, and Feb 7 from 5-7pm and will then meet independently with the instructor, Valeri Lantz-Gefroh.​

JRN 512 VIDEO STORYTELLING FOR SCIENTISTS

In these days when video rules the web, there are few better ways to showcase yourself and your research than by making your own short video. And you can make a great one with something you already have in your purse or pocket – your smartphone. But only if you know how to shoot well, edit skillfully and, most importantly, know how to tell a compelling story in the language of video. Learn the skills you need to produce a vivid video impression of your science for your web or Facebook page, or for your next publication. The technology is there. You just need to know how to use it! Students must have previously taken either JRN 501 Distilling Your Message or JRN 503 Improvisation For Scientists.

JRN 512 – Wednesdays, Feb 21, 28, Mar 7, 21, 28, Apr 4, 11, 18, 25, May 2; 2:30-3:50pm. 

Graduate 3-Credit Courses

JRN 500 COMMUNICATING SCIENCE: INTRODUCTION TO NEWS MEDIA CONCEPTS AND INSTITUTIONS

How the U.S. news media works, with a focus on how they cover health, science, the environment and technology. 

JRN 500 – Wednesdays, all semester, 5:30-8:20pm 

JRN 565 COMMUNICATING YOUR SCIENCE

This course is for graduate students in science, biomedical, engineering, and health disciplines who want to communicate effectively and responsively with multiple audience, from peers and professors to potential employers, policymakers and the lay public. Students will focus on speaking about science clearly and vividly in ways that can engage varied audiences, especially those outside their own field. The class will include instruction and practice in connecting and finding common ground with an audience, defining goals, identifying main points, speaking without jargon, explaining meaning and context, using storytelling techniques, and using multimedia elements. The class will include improvisational theater exercises that help speakers pay close and dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues, and responding freely without self-consciousness. As a culminating activity, students will develop and deliver an engaging short oral presentation on a scientific topic. 

JRN 365 – Wednesdays, all semester, 4:00-6:50pm

For Undergraduates 

JRN 365 TALKING SCIENCE

This is a 3-credit course designed to help science majors learn to speak effectively and responsively with multiple audiences, from peers and professors to potential employers, policymakers and the lay public. Students will focus on communicating about science clearly and vividly, as well as develop skills that are central to oral communication on any subject. The techniques used include improvisational theater exercises that help speakers connect with an audience, paying close and dynamic attention to others, reading nonverbal cues, and responding freely without self-consciousness. Students will practice delivering their message effectively for different audiences, including defining goals, identifying main points, speaking without jargon, explaining meaning and context, responding to questions, using storytelling techniques, and using multimedia elements. Students will be videotaped at least once during the semester as part of the learning process. As a culminating activity, students develop and deliver an engaging short oral presentation on a scientific topic. This course requires active participation not only as speakers, but also as active listeners and constructive critics in a rigorous but supportive environment. Prerequisite: upper-division major in science, engineering, mathematics or health. 

JRN 365.01 – Tuesdays, all semester, 10:00am-12:50pm 
JRN 365.02 – Thursdays, all semester, 10:00am-12:50pm