Students Publishing in New Media: Eight Hypotheses – a House of Cards?

William Douglas Rifkin, Nancy Longnecker, Joan Leach, Lloyd Davis, Lindy Orthia


Can science undergraduates learn effectively by activities that have them express science content in ‘new media’ – the popular communication forms that increasingly impact on their lives? We describe here rationale, approaches to date, and a series of hypotheses to be tested in a project designed to develop the content knowledge and graduate attributes of science students via science communication. The project explores the educational value in fostering student publication on the web – a medium of learning and publication that, one can argue, students find engaging, staff increasingly see as practical, and employers value as relevant. We aim to determine the extent to which science lecturers should and can exploit a growing number of publication opportunities provided by the web to enhance the learning that can be gained from a video production process, for example, as well as the motivation to select science and to engage effectively in its study at university. This article draws on literature, as well as evidence from the authors’ practice, to articulate hypotheses that are being tested in the project. We are setting out a research agenda to be explored as academics in various fields turn to assignments involving production of ‘new media’.

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