NC – ScienceOnline Together, Thursday PM

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February 27, 2014 by Dr. G

Click on the hashtag #Scio14 to view all of my posts from ScienceOnline Together.

After today’s lunch, I headed to a session titled Communicating the Process of Science – which happened to be led by Kerstin Hoppenhaus (a filmmaker and freelance science journalist from Berlin, Germany), who I sat next to on the shuttle from the hotel to the conference center this morning.  The session was incredibly popular -this standing-room only session had to be moved to another room!  I took a full page of notes, and Kerstin did something very interesting – she set up a Google Doc for all session participants to type in their notes during the session – in essence, having one collaborative document for everyone to contribute to (a great idea I’ll have to keep in mind for the future).  Everyone agreed that most science communication is not about the process of science (the day-to-day work) but the outcome, or the end result.  So why don’t we communicate about the process of science?  Is it because it is not interesting enough?  Is it because it is too difficult to report?  One person suggested that the public becomes interested when the human aspect is featured, and or there is a disaster involved (for example, everyone knows about the spacecraft that went to Mars but didn’t quite make it because of the error with unit conversions).  This theme of the process of science is something I have been considering adding as a secondary learning goal for all of my courses, and now I am absolutely convinced this needs to be added to my syllabi.  Thanks to this session, I have lots of great information and examples to help make the process of science an effective component of my courses.

The second session I went to this afternoon was titled Beyond the Press Release: Developing Online Press Materials.  I unfortunately did not take as many notes in this session.  I hope hoping to learn some tips as to what I can provide and prepare for the Public Relations Office on campus to help them create effective press releases about my work and outreach.  But the session was really for public information officers, not what faculty could do to help.

DSCN3237It was then back to the hotel before everyone broke off in to different groups for dinner.  I had signed up to join the group that went to The Daily Planet Cafe at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  In addition to grabbing dinner (and doing a quick run through the museum and snapping a few photos of their right whale skeleton), we were able to catch animal-behavior scientist Dr. Danielle Lee give a talk on “Giant, Bomb-Sniffing African Rats!”  Dr. Lee spoke as part of the Museum’s Science Cafe night, and she was a dynamic speaker.  I have heard so much about her and her amazing blog and outreach, I’m glad I had an opportunity to hear her speak.

Dr. Danielle Lee, speaking on the mini-stage in The Daily Planet Cafe (with David Shiffman (@whysharksmatter) looking on from the left)

Dr. Danielle Lee, speaking on the mini-stage in The Daily Planet Cafe (with David Shiffman (@whysharksmatter) looking on from the left)



And the night still wasn’t finished!  The final event was Scio14 Game Night, a chance for people to come together for snacks and a relaxing evening around science-themed board games, such as Evo: The Last Gasp of the Dinosaurs and Bioviva.  This was a first for me of all the professional conferences I have attended – a board game night!  It was a great way to bring people together for informal conversation, a few good laughs, and some “healthy” competition!

I think this tweet by Liz Neeley summarizes what we all hope happens during and after ScienceOnline Together:

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