Speed21-A Science Communication Infographic and Video Project to Engage Remote Chemistry Students
A Science Communication Infographic and Video Project to Engage Remote Chemistry Students
Given the move to a mostly online experience in the Fall 2020 instruction of Chemistry and the Citizen 1 (340 students), Science Communication Projects were created as a way for students to engage with chemistry in the context of online media. Each student created an infographic and video about one of the course’s four discussion topics. With the infographics, they learned how to communicate chemistry to the broader public using bold images and limited text. The video was a 3-minute voice-over narration of their infographic. The four Nebraska-specific discussion topics were Nebraska’s niobium deposits, Livestock methane management, Nebraska’s carbon black production plant, and Nebraska’s climate change report. Students submitted drafts of their infographic and video, which the recitation TAs scored according to a set of criteria. The TAs then made suggestions how to improve. The recitation TAs also worked individually with students during their recitation meetings and office hours. The two most popular topics were livestock methane and climate change. In a survey of students about these projects, they agreed that science communication is important (79% said “strongly agree” or “agree”) and that they learned skills that will useful in future classes (81% said “strongly agree” or “agree”).
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[00:00:04.710]So Ashley is not going to be joining me today.
[00:00:08.010]She got her PhD just the other day
[00:00:10.520]and she's out of the state right now and is trying to relax.
[00:00:15.520]But she is the one who did the surveys for this project
[00:00:20.890]and they are key for understanding that it worked.
[00:00:24.450]So again, we had a fully remote fall semester
[00:00:27.720]and I thought how am I going to connect
[00:00:29.530]with my students in an online environment?
[00:00:32.280]And thought of infographics, right?
[00:00:34.020]So visual, short words, describe science.
[00:00:38.400]But then also make a voiceover narrative video,
[00:00:42.100]three minutes long.
[00:00:43.930]So they can explain why they made their choices.
[00:00:46.740]And so here's a example of one
[00:00:51.530]and I'll give you some statistics on the course soon.
[00:00:54.800]But Ruminate Methane,
[00:00:57.510]right now there is a good topic for you.
[00:00:59.030]Everybody likes talking about that.
[00:01:00.440]But now look at the visuals on this thing, right.
[00:01:02.710]Clear blue sky.
[00:01:03.990]This is a farm scene.
[00:01:05.740]We have this cow floating in the air.
[00:01:07.810]Right it's farting.
[00:01:09.310]It's grabbing your eye right away.
[00:01:12.320]But that's actually not where this story begins.
[00:01:14.100]Right so as soon as you look at this,
[00:01:15.520]you're saying why am I interested in this?
[00:01:18.130]And then you now realize methane's the first thing.
[00:01:21.910]And they're telling you that's what comes out of the cows.
[00:01:24.750]We got a picture of the state of Nebraska
[00:01:26.550]telling you it's a beef state.
[00:01:29.200]Then they pass gas
[00:01:31.180]and we could help limit by deciding what to feed them.
[00:01:36.880]And so pretty complete story here.
[00:01:38.100]We've got some chemistry, we've got Nebraska,
[00:01:40.670]we have a problem, we're proposing solutions to the problem.
[00:01:44.830]And the voiceover narration on this one was really good too.
[00:01:47.970]So this is probably among the best
[00:01:49.940]of the graphics of my class of 320 students.
[00:01:55.980]It's a course for non-science majors.
[00:01:58.730]You know, they don't intend to get into science
[00:02:01.810]but they're going to be business majors
[00:02:03.130]or they're going to run their ranch
[00:02:04.800]or they're going to become a nurse.
[00:02:07.000]And they do need to know science.
[00:02:09.880]And because it was that strange fall semester,
[00:02:13.060]I recorded all my lecture videos.
[00:02:15.550]They had to watch them, do quizzes
[00:02:17.310]but then we devoted our in-class time for discussions.
[00:02:21.160]And we always do discussions
[00:02:22.930]but this now became our only reason
[00:02:25.580]for talking to each other in person.
[00:02:27.760]And I wanted them to do their infographics
[00:02:29.950]about the discussion topics.
[00:02:32.640]And this was again, another way of getting them to think
[00:02:35.900]about what's the relationship of what they're learning to
[00:02:39.240]how they're going to explain it to other people.
[00:02:42.130]And there is, was actually our fairly recent paper written
[00:02:47.700]by Andy Brunning.
[00:02:48.620]Who's done infographics for about 10 years now
[00:02:52.040]describing a lot of different things for you to think about.
[00:02:58.150]Again infographic, three minute voiceover narrated video
[00:03:03.700]and they had to choose one of four topics.
[00:03:06.690]And we choose in my class four different discussion topics
[00:03:10.190]throughout the semester.
[00:03:11.760]And they relate to the something in Nebraska
[00:03:15.930]as well as something in what we're learning.
[00:03:19.890]So in the beginning
[00:03:21.360]we always have a discussion topic about atoms and elements.
[00:03:24.130]So niobium deposits in Nebraska.
[00:03:27.200]The second unit is about bonds.
[00:03:31.080]So we've talked about covalent bonds, molecules
[00:03:34.090]and ionic bonds salts.
[00:03:36.350]But here methane is a very simple molecule.
[00:03:40.530]Carbon black production,
[00:03:41.700]so we're talking about chemical reactions
[00:03:44.060]and then climate change.
[00:03:45.680]We're talking about earth and atmospheric chemistry.
[00:03:49.040]So they had these four choices.
[00:03:51.270]They had newspaper articles
[00:03:53.580]that they could read to bone up on the background.
[00:03:58.120]And this was the essence of what they were told to do.
[00:04:02.010]Identify an important issue.
[00:04:03.850]Basically one of those four topics.
[00:04:05.570]Suggest a solution.
[00:04:07.300]This turned out to be probably the most important part
[00:04:10.250]of what I said here.
[00:04:12.340]Has to be scientifically accurate.
[00:04:14.890]Balance your images and your text.
[00:04:17.270]Can't use jargon.
[00:04:19.330]Has to do something about Nebraska.
[00:04:21.150]Must include a chemical structure.
[00:04:22.880]And then this is for keeping everything equal,
[00:04:27.000]pdfs and mp4s.
[00:04:28.970]Because believe me there's a million formats out there.
[00:04:32.190]And then to help me, I had my recitation TAs.
[00:04:37.810]They met with the students in groups.
[00:04:41.760]They met individually.
[00:04:43.750]They reviewed all the first drafts gave feedback.
[00:04:47.180]And then they decided
[00:04:50.640]whether the final versions met all the criteria.
[00:04:54.260]So the TA's were critical in making this happen.
[00:04:58.260]And Ashley Wolf work as one of my TA's.
[00:05:01.820]So here's two more examples.
[00:05:03.890]Again, I've chosen some really beautiful ones.
[00:05:08.720]Title is what grabs first here.
[00:05:11.390]You see a light colored cow.
[00:05:14.750]And what this person is trying to show you is
[00:05:17.130]that most of the methane that comes
[00:05:19.450]out of the cow is actually burping,
[00:05:21.050]it's not farting.
[00:05:22.060]Right everybody talks about cow farts,
[00:05:23.800]but it's mostly burping.
[00:05:25.630]And I love these little methane molecules, right?
[00:05:28.640]I'm a chemist.
[00:05:29.473]So this kind of thing is attractive to me.
[00:05:31.350]And they're trying to show you what goes on in the room
[00:05:33.680]and why is it making this methane occurs during digestion.
[00:05:40.220]But then what this student wanted to do was try to
[00:05:43.360]communicate to you how important or not our livestock
[00:05:49.160]in producing the methane, that's warming the planet.
[00:05:52.780]And they chose this pie chart,
[00:05:54.750]which is too small to read.
[00:05:56.530]Right here's an example where they could have done better
[00:05:59.760]on this part and we could zoom in right.
[00:06:04.010]But I'm not going to do that.
[00:06:05.950]And then why is methane important?
[00:06:09.300]It's an organic compound.
[00:06:11.490]And then UNL students are studying methane emissions
[00:06:15.260]and ways of reducing them.
[00:06:16.380]So here's our solution and a big red N.
[00:06:20.530]And another example,
[00:06:23.290]how producers manage methane.
[00:06:25.640]And again, quite a bit of words here,
[00:06:29.070]beautiful looking brown and white cow.
[00:06:31.800]That's probably what's catching your eye,
[00:06:34.789]but again trying to show you that livestock contribute
[00:06:38.550]15% of the methane emissions.
[00:06:40.640]This is a much better pie chart than the other one.
[00:06:45.151]I'm showing you that Nebraska does produce a lot of beef
[00:06:48.250]and then giving you some details, some technical details.
[00:06:51.900]So this person really wanted to dig into the details.
[00:06:54.954]And that's one of the things the TAs tell me
[00:06:57.650]is hard to do is to get them
[00:06:59.180]to pull away from the details
[00:07:01.140]and focus more on the big picture, right?
[00:07:03.890]Communicate your message quickly.
[00:07:08.540]Climate change was another popular topic.
[00:07:11.700]And this tall format of the infographic reminds me
[00:07:18.240]that I did not define the dimensions of these images.
[00:07:22.580]So they could choose any dimensions they want.
[00:07:24.940]And this one obviously is made to be read
[00:07:27.110]from top to bottom and climate change in Nebraska.
[00:07:31.410]Again, the unexpected thing that we learned in our class is
[00:07:34.580]that there was a Nebraska climate change report
[00:07:36.500]in 2016 and the state legislature has not acted on it.
[00:07:41.010]But there's a lot of detail in there demonstrating that
[00:07:43.590]yes indeed, the temperatures are increasing in Nebraska.
[00:07:47.610]So they're increasing.
[00:07:49.680]It's a problem.
[00:07:50.670]Here's just a picture of Nebraska.
[00:07:52.980]And it's related to natural disasters, floods.
[00:07:57.090]How can you make a difference?
[00:07:58.050]Here's a person who wants you to give up eating beef.
[00:08:01.210]And so we do have some conflict in my class
[00:08:03.920]of talking about how can you reduce your impact
[00:08:09.230]on the planet.
[00:08:11.982]And soybeans and climate change.
[00:08:13.160]So again, here's somebody getting technical,
[00:08:15.130]they're interested in soybean.
[00:08:16.200]So they want to show the relationship
[00:08:18.140]between agricultural practices and
[00:08:22.200]the contribution of climate change.
[00:08:23.850]But focusing more on the big known data
[00:08:30.050]that shows climate change is occurring.
[00:08:31.740]So this is not so Nebraska specific.
[00:08:38.660]Now the two most common topics were livestock methane
[00:08:42.750]and climate change.
[00:08:45.720]That makes sense.
[00:08:47.040]I have a lot of fisheries and wildlife,
[00:08:49.120]egg business and animal science majors, right?
[00:08:51.290]They make up one-third of the students in my class.
[00:08:55.020]Nurses make up about one-third,
[00:08:57.480]and 35% a whole smattering of other.
[00:09:01.370]So it makes sense then livestock methane
[00:09:03.630]is going to be important
[00:09:04.950]and has been a really touchstone topic in my class.
[00:09:07.700]I'm just so glad that I found this thing.
[00:09:09.970]And it turns out university of Nebraska
[00:09:11.340]Animal Science department has done the most
[00:09:13.840]in raising awareness about livestock methane.
[00:09:16.602]End of semester survey.
[00:09:21.200]84% said, the response rate said they learn skills
[00:09:26.470]that will be useful in their future classes.
[00:09:28.550]So again, communicating science.
[00:09:31.430]They said the TA feedback was very effective.
[00:09:34.860]That science communication is important
[00:09:37.650]and that they thought they had learned how to
[00:09:40.630]better communicate to audiences.
[00:09:45.970]The open-ended ones are always fun.
[00:09:48.330]And the most common response was that communicating science
[00:09:52.350]or science in general, doesn't have to be complicated.
[00:09:55.270]You just need to
[00:09:58.830]simplify it enough to explain it to other people.
[00:10:02.550]And the second most common thing was
[00:10:04.640]they enjoyed the opportunity to be creative
[00:10:07.290]in a science class which they did not expect.
[00:10:12.700]So since my fall class,
[00:10:15.520]I've used the infographics
[00:10:18.074]and infographic videos two more times.
[00:10:20.580]So this spring, just last week we finished
[00:10:24.840]the Nebraska NASA scholars project.
[00:10:27.400]And they're looking at climate change in the
[00:10:29.170]on the reservation more with regard to Prairie restoration.
[00:10:34.480]And so here's a really great example
[00:10:37.670]of Prairie restoration showing agricultural runoff.
[00:10:41.530]So there's our problem.
[00:10:43.150]And then what do we want?
[00:10:45.280]And then ending up with, so what is the end result
[00:10:48.740]if we follow traditional ecological knowledge practices
[00:10:54.820]of burning prairies.
[00:10:58.220]And so with that, I am very open to questions.
[00:11:24.720]Mark can you talk a little bit more about
[00:11:29.600]where this concept came from and
[00:11:33.180]and why you decided to take that approach?
[00:11:36.870]Yeah, so I am interested in chemistry in the movies.
[00:11:41.850]I've been looking into that
[00:11:43.210]for quite a few years now, 20 years.
[00:11:46.120]And this idea that when chemists are
[00:11:49.500]represented in movies right,
[00:11:50.880]they're using stereotypes to get the audience to
[00:11:53.240]know this is a geek or a nerd.
[00:11:57.180]And just, what is that shorthand notation?
[00:12:00.380]Everybody seems to understand, right?
[00:12:02.686]You put a beaker in there and you put a lab coat on them.
[00:12:04.050]All of a sudden there are chemists.
[00:12:06.370]It is truly that simple.
[00:12:07.920]So, but this idea of then people believe that the science
[00:12:14.240]in these movies has some degree of truth,
[00:12:17.500]even if they can't evaluate the truth of that research
[00:12:22.010]or the of the chemistry being presented, right.
[00:12:25.040]They accepted as true.
[00:12:27.090]This, this babble speak of you know the flubber.
[00:12:33.244]And so I also am on social media.
[00:12:36.410]I've got a Facebook page, got a Twitter account.
[00:12:40.550]And I enjoy seeing infographics
[00:12:43.520]from scientists and from science organizations.
[00:12:47.720]Some are effective, some are not.
[00:12:49.780]And I thought, well, how could, I would love to
[00:12:55.710]have my students engage in creating infographics
[00:12:59.250]about the important topics we talk about in my class.
[00:13:02.920]And that's really where it came from.
[00:13:08.210]I'd just like to commend you on this work Mark.
[00:13:12.400]Thank you for sharing this with us.
[00:13:13.970]And, you know, looking at the numbers,
[00:13:15.340]the percentages you showed.
[00:13:16.440]What did that really tell me as an educator?
[00:13:20.430]Made my mind go to the Future Ready Nebraska initiative.
[00:13:24.270]And really what you did was you empowered your learners to
[00:13:28.210]demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter.
[00:13:31.960]And you really worked in things like information, literacy,
[00:13:34.680]technical literacy, communication literacy.
[00:13:37.270]Those are those real life skills and your students didn't,
[00:13:41.350]I assumed they didn't realize it at first
[00:13:43.560]but wow you taught them so many things
[00:13:47.350]in a scenario of you made them work smarter, not harder too.
[00:13:50.970]So I really commend you on that.
[00:13:53.180]My question is what kind of ideas
[00:13:55.850]do you have for the next iteration of this course
[00:13:59.030]or of a specific class or a specific lesson?
[00:14:01.800]What's the next step you're gonna take?
[00:14:04.180]Yeah, so I am wondering,
[00:14:09.420]should I use the same topics again?
[00:14:14.270]Because what they're gonna do,
[00:14:15.103]they're gonna go out and they're gonna
[00:14:16.912]find everybody else's topics.
[00:14:18.323]One of the beauties of this one is truly
[00:14:19.460]nobody has made infographics about livestock methane.
[00:14:23.310]They had to come up with it fresh.
[00:14:24.900]So that was unique here.
[00:14:27.620]The other thing I wanted to respond
[00:14:29.240]to was my TAs tell me the first drafts were pretty rough.
[00:14:33.950]And so the TAs were critical
[00:14:36.170]and help making this work for 320 students.
[00:14:41.400]And that they felt there was an incredible improvement
[00:14:45.520]in understanding what is
[00:14:48.390]valid scientific information to put in there.
[00:14:51.150]And what I didn't say is that they had to provide citations
[00:14:56.557]to their scientific statements.
[00:14:58.970]Some of those slides have the sources on the bottom,
[00:15:04.820]But yeah, where to go next?
[00:15:06.370]I do have a whole slew of topics.
[00:15:08.070]I've taught this class now
[00:15:09.360]for 15 years and we've bounced around to different topics.
[00:15:13.830]There's incredible amount of chemistry in Nebraska
[00:15:16.500]that nobody really thinks about.
[00:15:18.000]Which is perfect for this class of students
[00:15:20.320]who aren't going to become scientists.
[00:15:22.020]Who come into the class believing this is gonna be
[00:15:24.210]really boring and not relevant to a future career
[00:15:29.120]or running a ranch or growing corn,
[00:15:35.090]but they are interested in Nebraska.
[00:15:37.750]They are interested in this idea
[00:15:38.890]of here's a microcosm to examine how chemicals
[00:15:46.390]influence or are key to understanding how the world works.
[00:15:54.130]So it's probably different topics.
[00:15:59.600]And find other audiences to do this with.
[00:16:26.950]Mark, I was also thinking,
[00:16:29.120]as I was looking at those graphics
[00:16:30.500]that these could be useful tools
[00:16:34.420]for re-purposing in other types of education.
[00:16:39.620]I don't know if you had thought about maybe
[00:16:45.570]seeing if they could be made available for,
[00:16:48.020]for other educational use.
[00:16:51.280]Yeah. So I was
[00:16:54.810]concerned about just taking all the infographics
[00:16:58.760]and putting them online right.
[00:17:01.530]I urged all the students to put them
[00:17:03.660]on their own social media feeds.
[00:17:06.520]But for purposes of my reproducing them,
[00:17:12.140]I asked everyone for permission.
[00:17:14.640]And so in the end, I can't remember what the number was.
[00:17:18.910]It's a small number, gave me permission to use their images
[00:17:23.340]and their, their little voiceover narrations.
[00:17:26.930]And so the examples that I gave here were
[00:17:30.450]among those who gave permission.
[00:17:34.990]But that's a problem, right.
[00:17:35.890]So I don't want to force them to go out there
[00:17:38.960]and put their name on, you know, livestock methane,
[00:17:41.770]if they don't want to.
[00:17:50.900]The Nebraska Indian community college, NASA scholars,
[00:17:54.980]they, all the students agree to put theirs online.
[00:17:57.800]So Nebraska Indian is going to create a special website
[00:18:01.790]with all the infographics
[00:18:04.107]and the little voiceover and narrations.
[00:18:06.810]And I think that's just going to be a really great way
[00:18:09.750]for them to communicate to their communities,
[00:18:12.700]what the Prairie restoration is all about.
[00:18:15.470]And we had a celebration,
[00:18:19.820]four days ago and we invited all the staff
[00:18:23.820]and faculty and students at NICC.
[00:18:28.441]And then at the last minute, my collaborator there
[00:18:32.280]he sent it out to the community.
[00:18:33.470]So we ended up with about 32 people watching these things
[00:18:36.980]and they found this incredibly meaningful
[00:18:39.830]and they just were amazed how
[00:18:42.930]traditional ecological knowledge that they all,
[00:18:45.950]they've heard about, is actually valuable for
[00:18:51.090]maintaining their lifestyle.
[00:18:53.320]And how it would be useful outside of their communities.
[00:18:58.460]Hey, mark, I have a quick question for you.
[00:19:00.550]I have also tried to use infographics in a course.
[00:19:03.320]And one of the challenges that I had when looking
[00:19:06.260]at them was the quality of the graphics.
[00:19:08.920]So did you provide any guidance or any suggestions
[00:19:12.850]for students when they were doing the design aspect of it?
[00:19:17.690]Yeah. So that was the Andy Brunning,
[00:19:20.900]a blog where he told you where to get royalty free images.
[00:19:27.320]And we did also tell the students, you can get them
[00:19:30.380]from Wikimedia and we're going to consider those safe for.
[00:19:36.868]You can put your name on it,
[00:19:37.701]as long as you put it in the source where you got it.
[00:19:42.210]Or you can make your own images.
[00:19:44.710]Okay, What was the first one
[00:19:46.220]that you had mentioned?
[00:19:47.053]The Andy Brunning paper.
[00:19:54.660]Okay, thank you.
[00:19:57.031]Yeah, I mean,
[00:20:01.270]he does a really good job and I'll put that in the chat.
[00:20:15.390]That's a great opportunity for you to work
[00:20:18.110]in a mini lesson within your course
[00:20:20.690]of digital citizenship copyright.
[00:20:24.090]And you can even go through
[00:20:26.960]such as performing a Google search.
[00:20:29.200]When you search within a Google tool,
[00:20:31.640]a web browser and the tool,
[00:20:33.360]it says you can search for webpages or images.
[00:20:36.190]When you click images
[00:20:37.160]then there's a layer down that says tools.
[00:20:39.210]You click on tools
[00:20:40.050]and you can filter them by their copyrights designations.
[00:20:46.740]So is this free for use,
[00:20:48.580]is this free for non-commercial use?
[00:20:50.470]There's some selections you can make.
[00:20:52.993]So great opportunity to go
[00:20:54.790]above and beyond your core curriculum
[00:20:57.280]and work in those real life skills
[00:20:59.480]that students will use elsewhere.
[00:21:02.120]Thank you for that tip.
[00:21:03.220]I'm going to use that.
[00:21:06.570]I've never used that part.
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