Best Practices in Teaching Science Communication Symposium

The WAC+ Best Practices in Teaching Science Communication Symposium showcases the work of UBC faculty, staff and students involved in teaching communication in science and brings together educators to share and discuss recent ideas and advancements in the area.  This is a dynamic event where participants cycle through a selection of 20-minute roundtable presentations, with the opportunity to discuss innovative teaching practices and approaches to scaffolding and assessing student learning.

The symposium expands upon the former WAC+ Community of Practice.

Previous Symposia Presenters and Topics

May 22, 2019 Symposium

CTLT Spring Institute
9:00 am – 10:30 am
IKBLC Room 256 (Chilcotin)

This roundtable symposium will explore a range of models that have been developed across the disciplines by UBC students and faculty to enable the dissemination of undergraduate research. Models may include undergraduate research journals, three-minute thesis competitions, undergraduate research symposia and conferences, course-based blogs, podcasts, course-based poster sessions, and public outreach initiatives. Participants will engage in lively small-group discussions around how these different models are being used to facilitate teaching and learning. Of course, models are always a work in progress, so “lessons learned” and suggestions for potential adopters will be shared. In addition to gaining new pedagogical perspectives as well as teaching and learning tools, participants will network with a range of educators with shared interests.


Scott Covey
Senior Instructor, Departmental of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UBC
3MT – A tool to enhance learning in research-based courses

Jen Sibley
Lecturer, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UBC
3 Minute Microbytes

Ana Ivkov, Amelia Tjoa, Mahta Amanian
Undergraduate Research Opportunities, UBC
Initiatives for engaging undergraduate students in presenting their research

Dylan Zhao, Tamar Av-Shalom, Christiane Boen
Undergraduate students, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UBC
MBIM Undergraduate Research Symposium

Jeremiah Mari Carag
Centre for Student Involvement and Careers, UBC
MURC: Using Research to Support Career Goals

Robin Young
Lecturer, Botany Department, UBC
Using Poster Sessions as a Tool for Learning to Communicate Science

Alice Roberts
Undergraduate student, Applied Mathematics and Statistics, SFU
BC Undergraduate Mathematics & Statistics Conference

Julia Huggins
Graduate student and JEMI Editor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, UBC
JEMI+: A Peer Reviewed Undergraduate Research Journal

August 29, 2017 Symposium


James Charbonneau and Tiffany Potter | Christopher Gradin | Neil Aubrey Leveridge | Duncan McHugh | Kate Power | Will Valley


James Charbonneau and Tiffany Potter
Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of English

ComPAIR – a new UBC-developed online peer review tool
ComPAIR is a new UBC-developed online peer review tool that students report improves both skill-specific learning and general feelings of engagement with course material. Students formulate answers to questions and then assess and rank pairs of their peers’ answers. Students write feedback as they compare, and then can go back to revise their own answers, applying both the feedback they have received and the understanding they have gained in giving feedback to others. This easy-to-use application promotes critical thinking, peer feedback, constructive criticism, and self-reflection.


 Christopher Gradin
Vantage College

A Genre-Based Approach to Scaffolding ELL Students’ Articulation of Reasoning in Physics
VANT 140 is a 5 credit adjunct course providing language support for disciplinary courses in the Vantage One program. In the science stream, instructor feedback of student performance in the classroom often identifies a strong ability to work with formulae, yet a limited ability to articulate the reasoning behind the calculations. One of the learning goals for the course is to equip ELL students with the linguistic tools necessary to communicate specialist knowledge to a non-specialist audience. In this session, coursework developed to scaffold presenting physics solutions from a genre-based approach will be showcased. Specific stages of the presentation and their associated language features will be discussed.


Aubrey Neil Leveridge
Vantage College

Co-constructing meaning with a wiki-based timeline project 
In this session, I will demonstrate how I created a collaborative, wiki-based timeline project for students to illustrate the historical progression of physics related concepts. Students developed a concept wiki in Physics to show the historical progression of key concepts and how those relate to experiments students perform for their current physics labs. This session will demonstrate how I incorporated an online wiki into a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) assignment for an embedded English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program. For the project being demonstrated, this timeline was then dynamically updated in order to draw stronger connections between the students’ academic discipline and their language choices. This project also supports students in becoming self-directed language learners through group work, peer evaluation, and process writing. I will then describe how the timeline wiki was integrated into and supports learning in the classroom space.


Duncan McHugh
Faculty of Land and Food Systems

The power of podcasting in the hands of students 
The tools of podcasting and digital storytelling have become more and more accessible in the last decade. LFS 400: Audio Storytelling teaches students to use audio technology and a journalistic framework in order to tell powerful stories and present academic content in engaging new ways. By the end of each term, students create 10-minute podcasts on topics related to the Faculty of Land and Food Systems’ disciplines to share with the world. Duncan McHugh will discuss how this course came to be, how it’s evolved, and the challenges of having students work in a new medium and in a public forum.


Kate Power
Arts Studies in Research and Writing

Promoting student engagement through online peer review
Student engagement is central to a positive undergraduate educational experience. Peer review – that is, students giving formative feedback on each other’s work prior to submission – has been found to foster engagement, as has the use of new technologies. In this session, I will describe how I have incorporated open online peer review in three of my undergraduate writing courses, using two UBC-home-grown online platforms: STUDIORUM and Collaborative Learning Annotation System (CLAS).


Will Valley
Faculty of Land and Food Systems

The multifunctionality of an infographic assignment in an undergraduate course
Will Valley will discuss an assignment in his third-year course that nourishes many birds with one feeder. Students in the course conduct community-based experiential learning projects. At the end of the term, they are required to prepare a traditional academic report, which helps support their development of scholarly writing, but is not a particularly accessible form of communication for broader audiences. Students are required to create an infographic to translate their project findings into a different medium, which is then printed off and exhibited in a public poster forum, and further disseminated through digital media. In this session, we will discuss assignment logistics and feedback received from students who have participated in the activities.