Integrating the assignments
The communications training aim to be completely integrated with the programmes, with the different assignments matched to the courses. Usually to adapt a course to DiaNa we simply use existing presentations and writing assignments and add feedback and self evaluation. Some assignments have been altered to adapt to the level of which the students are (made easier or more demanding). If there have been no communications exercise at all we work to include one. There is always a dialogue with the teacher responsible for the course to find a solution that works for all and always with the goal to communicate the course curriculum.
New challenges throughout the whole of the programme
The demands in communication skills increases from course to course. As the students progress they become more skilled in communication and thus more demanding tasks can be given to them. From short presentations and basic texts to presenting and writing a thesis and many other kinds of communication. The result is a BA or a MA skilled in communication; to present, write and work in teams. We are convinced some of the best representatives for science will be educated here in Uppsala!
Seeing the whole
When we integrate communications training into a course we take into consideration what kind of exercises the students have done beforehand. If they have done many oral presentations then the skills to write for example popular science or how to handle yourself in a debate will be more important. By alternating types of assignment and increasing the demands we try to make sure that regardless of which courses you choose to take you get the whole package with oral presentations, writing and group interactions.
To add systematic feedback may add to the workload of the teachers involved. To avoid this as much as possible we try to find ways to let students be responsible for the gain of knowledge connected to the communications training thus lessening the burden from teachers. This is also in line with the latest studies in pedagogy that shows an increase in learning if the amount of lecturing decreases in favor of well made tasks for the students to work with. In addition, a survey adressed to biology alumni 32 % wished for more independant work in the courses.
To highlighten the communications training all course plans shall include a line regarding feedback and self evaluation and these are formally binding.