Since I last posted, I have been inventing new courses to teach at Oregon State. This fall, I piloted Science Writing -- communicating science to the general public -- and am putting it online through E-Campus distance learning for winter. See the cool image by artist Santiago Uceda from Terra.
Why is Science Writing so important? Well, for me it's fascinating to learn more. Consider Robin Wall Kimmerer's Gathering Moss
from our own OSU Press - It's an amazing group of essays that teach a great deal about the mostly overlooked mosses.
For scientists, learning how to explain what they know and do is crucial -- they need to learn to speak clearly. Consider Dean's Am I Making Myself Clear: A Scientist's Guide to Talking to the Public
, Or Schulz's Eloquent Science: A Practical Guide to Becoming a Better Writer, Speaker and Scientist.
So scientists need to learn to communicate - as Randy Olson says Don't be Such a Scientist, learn how to communicate, not just to share cool ideas, but to help the world.
See Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. Then think of the climate change debate or the evolution debate.
So, part of my class is teaching science students to understand journalism and the rhetoric of the general public. The rest of the class is helping writing minors learn enough science to write an accurate and engaging article.