ALA 270 - Applied Liberal Arts Topics
Winter 2022, Section 006 - Science Communication Strategies: Public engagement outside the classroom
Instruction Mode: Section 006 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Applied Liberal Arts (ALA)
Department: LSA UG: Curriculum Support
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Enforced Prerequisites:
Students cannot enroll if they have already completed 4 instances of ALA and/or UC 270.
May be elected four times for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


Have you ever tried to explain your major or research to someone and watched their eyes glaze over? Even though science is exciting, it takes a special skill set to share it with others in a meaningful way. In this two-credit course, students will develop an understanding of how people learn and acquire tools for engaging a range of academic and non-academic audiences. Drawing from their own experiences and field of study, students will practice high impact science communication and complete projects through the U-M Museum of Natural History that build scientific literacy and motivation for lifelong learning among members of the public. This course is taught collaboratively by U-M Museum of Natural History public engagement professionals and other U-M science communication practitioners. Topics include the pedagogy of informal learning environments, messaging for public audiences, K-12 outreach, hands-on engagement, visual and oral presentations, podcasting, and more!

Course Requirements:

The participation component of this class (~40% of the grade) includes two 1-hour in-person workshops each week (Tuesday/Thursday) and weekly activities in Canvas. Students also will complete 3 summative assignments (~60% of the grade): a critique and analysis paper, a stakeholder engagement project, and a public engagement project highlighting their own field of study or research through a live or virtual event at U-M Museum of Natural History. Some class sessions will be set aside for project work time. Public engagement events at the museum usually happen on weekends when visitation is highest, therefore students will be required to attend one event on either a Saturday or a Sunday during the term. Multiple dates will be offered.

Class Format:

Each week of the course covers a different topic within 4 broader categories: How People Learn, Knowing Your Audience, Virtual and Asynchronous Mediums, and Hands-On and In-Person Engagement. To gain mastery of each topic students will attend interactive class sessions (run like workshops) and complete asynchronous Canvas activities including discussion boards and brainstorming spaces. As an Applied Liberal Arts course, the primary focus is “providing a guidance and framework for students to develop and hone a range of essential skills.” As such, the 3 summative projects will take the place of a final exam. 


ALA 270 - Applied Liberal Arts Topics
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
2So or Jr or Sr
Th 3:00PM - 5:00PM
003 (LEC)
 In Person
004 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
005 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
006 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 9:00AM - 10:00AM
008 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM
009 (LEC)
 In Person
M 6:00PM - 8:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for ALA 270.006

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ALA 270 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)