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Katie & Christa

9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

End-of-term reflection

At the start of this project, Christa and I thought we would devote our final three blogs to Echo360. It’s a platform designed to enhance student engagement by incorporating interactive elements, such as quizzes and discussion boards, into lectures. You can also use it to livestream lectures or post them for later viewing — it even provides captions! I’ll talk a bit about Echo360 and my plans for it in my last post, but I first wanted to share some […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Teams Critical Thinking

I think a lot about critical thinking. As science communicators, we must constantly question the authenticity of information. People have agendas and biases, or they may operating on false information or assumptions. I want my science communication students to critically evaluate the science stories they read and consider whether the words on the page accurately reflect the science. I want them to consider the choices the writer made — the words they used, the sources they interviewed, the information they […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Teams Collaboration

It’s hard for people to get together — everyone’s busy and schedules don’t always align. This is especially true for students, many of whom juggle full course loads with jobs, clubs and volunteer work. Even if students have time to meet up, they don’t always have space. Many of the meeting rooms open to Science students here at McMaster are booked days in advance, I’m told. Other spaces are too noisy for productive group work. Collaboration is a central focus […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Teams Communication

When I started teaching 10 months ago, I asked my students how they communicate with each other. Where do they go to chat with their peers about tests or assignments? How do they coordinate group work? Their answer surprised me: Facebook Messenger. I can’t get anything done with Facebook open, and I know I’m not alone. There must be a better platform for these scholarly discussions, I thought. And there is. Every person with a McMaster University email address has […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Flip Critical Thinking

What do Flipgrid and Frankenstein have in common? They both capitalize on contemporary culture and technology to tell a great story. Stick with us on this. Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein centres on a young scientist who is selfishly determined to bring back the dead. In my fourth-year science communication course, we explore how the novel reflects the cultural anxieties around science and technology of its time. For instance, scientists were exploring the therapeutic potential of electricity and grave robbers […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Flip Communication

In an ideal world, my courses would unfold like a long, interesting and sometimes intense conversation. But maintaining a conversational feel in a class of 100 is tough. In an ideal world, students would practice communicating to each other and give each other thoughtful, substantive feedback — also a tall order in a large class full of busy students. And in an ideal world, students would read science news, think about what it got right and where it went wrong, […]

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9X9X25 Challenge, Extender Blogs

Flip Collaboration

Communication is a two-way street: We talk and then we listen. The listening part let’s us make sure we’re understood. I’m trying to bring more listening into my classroom. In my science communication courses, I ask students to explain complex concepts in terms anyone can understand. I know one of the best ways for them to hone their science communication skills is to get plenty of feedback. It’s also important for them to see how other students tackle the same […]

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