Using News and Views Articles, Lab Reports, and Wiki Entries to Teach Students How to Read and Write for Diverse Scientific Audiences in an Introductory Biology Laboratory Course

Adam Jacobson, Melissa S. Kosinski-Collins


The ability to read and understand complicated scientific concepts poses a distinct challenge to students in large-enrollment introductory science courses.  These students often have difficulty understanding that to be successful scientists, they must be able to relate findings to audiences of diverse backgrounds – those who may or may not have any formal training in the field. In order to increase the science literacy and knowledge of our students, we have created a three assignment series in our introductory biology laboratory course at Brandeis University that includes an encyclopedia entry, a news article for a multidiscipline science journal, and a formal peer-reviewed journal-style lab report.  We have found that these assignments improved our students’ writing skills and their confidence in their scientific writing ability.

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