Communication and Research in the Sciences

This week I taught a class on Communication and Research in the Sciences, an upper level English course geared towards science majors. The course covers a lot of scholarly communication topics, and trains students in writing and researching scientific topics in a scholarly fashion. This class was more advanced and more complex than the other classes I’ve taught with Kim so far. This time, instead of a basic introduction to the library, Kim spent the first half of the class discussing scholarly communication, particularly in relation to scientific information and communication. It was very interesting since this is currently a hot topic, with legislation like PIPA, SOPA, and the Research Works Act in Congress. Additionally, Kim discussed the Faculty Boycott of Elsevier, to demonstrate that the cost and system of scholarly information is getting out of control. However, I was able to tell Kim the very morning that we taught this class, that Elsevier had withdrawn support for the Research Works Act, so Kim was able to further demonstrate that researchers and writers can make a difference when there is a major issue going up against powerful companies. During the second half of the class, I demonstrated using the library website, a specialized science database, and Google Scholar. These were all things that I have done before, but not specific to a scientific research class, so it was a little challenging to make sure that the information and examples I was giving them was relevant. I used the topic, “the transfer of mad cow disease to humans” as an example in AGRICOLA.

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