For years we’ve heard from STEM professionals, particularly those near the start of their career, that taking part in I’m a Scientist, I’m an Engineer, or I’m a Mathematician is effective experiential learning – ‘on the job’ training for communication skills; a ‘crash course’ in sci-comm and public engagement.
The Academy Zone is designed to help STEM professionals take full advantage of this learning experience. It’s a 2-week long online course consisting of specialised questions and Live Chat Tutorials based on the NCCPE Engage Framework Good practice principles for public engagement and science capital concepts.
Taking the course allows participants to:
- better articulate and understand what they are learning while engaging with students
- build their understanding of public engagement fundamentals
- be more effective when planning future outreach activities“Taking part in both activities allowed me to engage in active, reflective learning… Learning about science capital has really changed my mindset.” — Katie Fala, PhD student and Academy Zone alum Read the case study
The Academy acts as a personal space for STEM professionals to reflect on their engagement as it’s happening (a key part of learning theory) during I’m a Scientist, I’m an Engineer, or I’m a Mathematician. Taking part can improve the quality of future engagement activities.
Read more about benefits for participants in the June 2019 Academy evaluation report.
It was a great opportunity to really think about what I was getting from the event… I think without the Academy I wouldn’t have actually sat down and thought about the various types of outreach and the pros/cons of each!
The experience for STEM professionals
…students were asking questions that weren’t directly related to my work, so initially I kept quiet, but then talking about it with Hannah and the other scientists, and reflecting on the Academy questions made me consider my work in terms of ‘social influence’
Here’s how you can use the Academy Zone course to boost your personal development:
Answer six questions
Every couple of days during course, you’ll receive a short question to answer. This could be based on your experience of I’m a Scientist/Engineer/Mathematician that day, or material related to topics such as Science Capital or the Engage Framework from NCCPE. It will include links to useful resources and reading materials to help your learning and inform your answers.
Dr Hannah Little, UWE science communication lecturer (and I’m a Scientist alum) will be online to provide feedback and advice throughout the course- in response to your answers and in the Live Chat Tutorial sessions.
Connect with your peers
There’s a group of STEM professionals in the Academy, all taking part in I’m a Scientist/Engineer/Mathematician alongside you:
- Learn from and comment on each other’s answers
- Share your experiences in lunchtime Chats
- Swap tips for taking on the students’ questions
And generally enjoy meeting people from a range of disciplines going through the same experience.
Use the Library section of the Academy site to find all the currently available resources related to the questions.
These links have been curated by the I’m a Scientist Team and UWE Science Communication lecturer Dr Hannah Little to give you more info about best practice, provoke reflection around your own engagement and provide context on current thinking in public engagement.
The Academy Zone is a private space for you and your fellow course members. No students, teachers, or STEM professionals outside of the course, can see what you write.
Evidence your development
Complete the Academy Zone course by answering all six questions. After the event you’ll be presented with a certificate evidencing your development- useful for demonstrating the effort you’ve put into your CPD.