For years we’ve heard from scientists, particular those near the start of their career, that taking part in I’m a Scientist is effective experiential learning – ‘on the job’ training for communication skills and a ‘crash course in scicomm’ and public engagement.
Academy Zone is designed to help scientists take full advantage of this learning experience. The course is based on the NCCPE Engage Framework Good practice principles for public engagement and Science Capital concepts.
It’s a personal space for researchers to reflect on their engagement as it’s happening (a key part of learning theory) during I’m a Scientist, improving the quality of future engagement activities.
It was a great opportunity to really think about what I was getting from the event… I think without Academy Zone I wouldn’t have actually sat down and thought about the various types of outreach and the pros/cons of each!
Academy Zone includes:
- Engagement in online reflection with peers and facilitators
- Building awareness of effective public engagement practice
- Personal development of communication skills
Read more about benefits for researchers in the June 2019 zone evaluation report.
…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 Zone questions made me consider my work in terms of ‘social influence’
The experience for Early Career Researchers
Here’s how you as an ECR can use Academy Zone to boost your personal development when taking part in IAS:
Connect with your peers
There’s a group of early career researchers in Academy Zone, all taking part in IAS alongside you:
- Share your experiences from the zones in the Academy Chat
- Swap tips for taking on the students’ questions
- Learn from and comment on each other’s ASK answers
And generally enjoy meeting people from a huge range of disciplines going through the same thing for two weeks.
Dr Hannah Little, UWE science communication lecturer (and past IAS alumna!) will be online to provide feedback and advice throughout the zone- and is also on hand in the Live Chats to offer a sympathetic keyboard.
Answer six ASK questions
Every couple of days during the IAS event, you’ll receive a short ASK question to answer in the Academy Zone. This could be based on your experience of IAS that day or material related to topics such as Science Capital and the Engage Framework from NCCPE. It will include links to useful resources and material to help your learning and inform your answers.
Use the Library section of the Academy Zone to find all the currently available resources related to the ASK questions.
These links have been curated by IAS 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.
No students, teachers, or other scientists not given places in Academy Zone can see what you write, either in ASK section or in Live Chats.
Evidence your development
Complete the Academy Zone by answering all six ASK 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 as a researcher. You also receive a log containing all your answers to questions in the zone as evidence of your learning.