Course Syllabus

FISH 507
Science Blogging
Winter 2018

Instructors:

Julian Olden, Fisheries Science Blg., 318, olden@uw.edu                                       

Steven Roberts, Fisheries Teach. Blg., 232, sr320@uw.edu

Lecture location: FSH 105                                              

Lecture hours: T 1:30-3:20                                              

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Blogs are everywhere. They have exposed truths and spread rumors, made and lost fortunes, and toppled cabinet members and sparked grassroots movements. Immediate, intimate, and influential, blogs have put the power of personal publishing into everyone's hands. Recent years have seen blogs becoming a leading source of online scientific news for both lay audiences and newsmakers. From the reader’s perspective, blogs provide information and perspectives that are missing from or that supplement traditional media coverage, as opposed to simply amplifying the agenda of traditional media, and have the potential to educate in an entertaining way. Given the value of blogging for science communication, the intention of this course is to help graduate students develop the fundamental skills needed to be successful in the art of blogging.

 

INSTRUCTORS

The instructors endeavor to keep the course content timely and relevant to stimulate student discussion and participation for the most enjoyable and effective learning. Julian Olden is an ecologist whose research focuses on the ecology of freshwater ecosystems, in particular invasive species, climate change and water resource management. Steven Roberts is a conservation physiologist who uses molecular approaches to study issues that affect aquaculture and natural resource conservation.

 

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION

The course consists of one 2-hour discussion/practicum per week.

 

ASSIGNMENTS and GRADING

Item

Description

Due dates

% of Grade

Blog 1

A 1000-word blog addressing a research topic related to your lab.

Draft: Jan 26

Final: Feb 2

10%

15%

Blog 2

A 1000-word blog addressing a research topic related to a faculty’s lab at SAFS.

Draft: Feb 9

Final: Feb 16

10%

20%

Blog 3

A 1000-word blog addressing a research topic related to a faculty’s lab at SAFS.

Draft: Feb 23

Final: Mar 2

10%

20%

Blog reviews

Peer-review of a classmate’s blog post (x3).

Jan 29, Feb 12, Feb 26

15%

 

CLASS BLOG PLATFORM
As part of the class we will run our own Wordpress platform so you will become familiar with the logistics of writing and learn about options sharing and increasing views. Posts will eventually be posted on the School of Aquatic and Fishery’s website.

 

 

SCHEDULE

Date

Topic

Jan 9

Introduction to science blogging and course overview

What is a blog? Who is writing and reading blogs? What kind of opportunities do they present, and what are the pitfalls? Students will also introduce themselves, discuss various areas of interest, review the syllabus, reading materials and ground rules for blog post submissions.

 

Homework

- Read 3 “scientific” blog posts from any of the following blogs: Slate, The Conversation, Grist, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Discover Magazine (Science Sushi, Inkfish), Yale Environment 360, Treehugger, or any other of your choice. Then ask yourself, which of these blogs interest you most/least and why? Explore the subtleties of the voice and writing style in each blog, and make note of quotes from specific blog posts

- Post URL of the 3 blogs on Canvas for the other students to read

- Explore the SAFS website to identify 4 faculty research groups that you are interested in spotlighting in two blog posts

- Assigned readings

 

Jan 16

Nuts-and-bolts of writing a science blog

We’ll discuss the nuts and bolts of blogging, reviewing and critiquing blogging advice, and define goals for our own blog posts. We will discuss the principles of good writing and storytelling and apply these principles to the blogs we’ve been reading – what’s good about their writing? Where are they failing? We will also watch a TED talk on story telling.

 

During class

- Submit the names of 4 faculty research groups in SAFS that you are interested in spotlighting in two blog posts

 

Homework

- Brainstorm potential topics related to your own research (or interests) which will comprise blog 1 post, and complete a “mind-map” outline to guide the writing of your post

- Read the following assigned readings (Wilkins 2008, Paper 2)

 

Jan 23

Writing session – Blog 1

This week you will be writing and editing your blog 1 post according to your outline, building on the strategies previously discussed, and receive real-time feedback during class.

 

Homework

- Meet with SAFS faculty research group this week and discuss potential blog 2 topics

- Submit draft blog 1 post (due Jan 26) and peer review a student’s blog entry (due Jan 29)

 

Jan 30

Discussion – Blog 2

This week you we discuss some of the challenges you encountered with writing your first blog. You will begin to frame your second blog, write a “mind-map” outline, and receive real-time feedback during class.

 

Homework

- Submit final blog 1 post (due Feb 2)

- Continue to draft your second blog post, and develop a “mind-map” to guide the writing of your entry

- Read the following assigned readings (Paper 3, Paper 4)

 

Feb 6

Writing session – Blog 2

This week you will be writing and editing your blog 2 post according to your outline, building on the strategies previously discussed, and receive real-time feedback during class.

 

Homework

- Meet with SAFS faculty research group this week and discuss potential blog 3 topics

- Submit draft blog 2 post (due Feb 9) and peer review a student’s blog entry (due Feb 12)

 

Feb 13

Discussion – Blog 3

This week you we discuss some of the challenges you encountered with writing your second blog. You will begin to frame your third blog, write a “mind-map” outline, and receive real-time feedback during class.

 

Homework

- Submit final blog 2 post (due Feb 16)

- Continue to draft your third blog post, and develop a “mind-map” to guide the writing of your entry

- Assigned readings (Paper 5, Paper 6)

 

Feb 20

Writing session – Blog 3

This week you will be writing and editing your blog 3 post according to your outline, building on the strategies previously discussed, and receive real-time feedback during class.

 

Homework

- Submit draft blog 3 post (due Feb 23) and peer review a student’s blog entry (due Feb 26)

 

Feb 27

Discussion

We will recap the experience, what we have learned and avenues we might take this type of communication forward as individuals and as a larger community.

 

Homework

- Submit final blog 3 post (due Mar 2)

 

Mar 6

No class

 

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are serious violations of your contract as a student. We expect that you will know and follow the University's policies on cheating and plagiarism. Any suspected cases of academic misconduct will be handled according to University regulations. More information can be found at: http://depts.washington.edu/grading/issue1/honesty.htm. Be advised, the instructors of this course have the right and responsibility to notify University Conduct committees about ANY suspected student misconduct.

 

Email and computer use

All students are expected to have an email address and you will receive email relevant to this course on a regular basis.

 

GRADING POLICY

You must turn-in all your assignments by the noted deadline. Assignments received after the deadline will receive a zero grade unless otherwise arranged with the Instructors.

 

DISABILITY ACCOMMODATIONS

It is crucial that all students in this class have access to the full range of learning experiences. At the University of Washington, it is the policy and practice to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. If you anticipate or experience barriers to your learning or full participation in this course based on a physical, learning, or mental health disability, please immediately contact the instructor to discuss possible accommodation(s). A more complete description of the disability policy of the College of the Environment can be found here. If you have, or think you have, a temporary or permanent disability that impacts your participation in any course, please also contact Disability Resources for Students (DRS) at: 206-543-8924 V; 206-543-8925 TDD; uwdss@uw.edu e-mail; http://www.uw.edu/students/drs web.

Course Summary:

Date Details