CoSTEP is an educational organization of science communication at Hokkaido University, Japan. It implements two-way communication activities in science and technology in various areas, including the university and the society. Through such activities, we promote education and research in science communication. CoSTEP students acquire the skills required of science communicators through practices. In our program, from 2009, we have been providing our students with a project class, called “PR media project”, in which they plan and produce university’s PR magazine. Three teachers and ten students constitute the project team. We make a project proposal, interview researchers and students in the university, write articles, and edit them.

The team is demanded from the university’s editorial board to interview and write the articles. The board members revise them. We frequently discuss its design and layout with a production company. The team clarified the readership. We regarded high school students as the main target, and surveyed them. For example, we had questionnaire surveys to high school students and their parents on the open campus days and visited a high school to interview several students and teachers there. Thus, we not only publish articles about researches in the university, but introduce various aspects on the academia which the readers would like to know, and also pay attention to the design. Through the trials, we made more efforts towards producing articles and the whole magazine which were easy to communicate with the readers than the conventional ones. After immediately the publishing, we had a workshop on the magazine. Those who are interested in PR participated in the workshop and the magazine was evaluated by such third persons.

Producing university’s PR magazine incorporating science communication is not completed by mere interviewing and writing. It can be expressed by the communication activities involved mainly in five parties: the project team, the editorial board, interviewees, a production company, and readers.CoSTEP has other classes which involve university’s PR in terms of alternative media. For example a café project team is constituted by five students, and they plan and organize a science café, where a university professor is invited as a guest and makes a scientific talk followed by casual dialogue with citizens. The talk tends to be an introduction to the professor’s research in the university. CoSTEP students also prepare for the posters and fliers about the event, and distribute them widely inside/ outside the campus. In this sense, this science café can be said to be a field or media for university’s PR.

To sum up, university’s PR and science communication education are positively influenced each other. On the one hand, by incorporating some elements of university’s PR into science communication education, we can make such education that the students can learn to communicate to the public scientific matters in easily understandable ways through utilizing various media and they can improve their skills for communicating with others or stakeholders in the real society. On the other hand, by incorporating some elements or ideas of science communication, university’s PR, which has an inclination to one-way advertisement conventionally, can focus on the target, receive feedback from the readers or participants, and design effective PR by such communication in terms of various media and methods.


By practicing such trials, university’s PR can evolve into “genuine public relations” which strategically emphasize on interactive communication with the stakeholders.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

The interrelation between university’s public relations and science communication education

Ken Saito   Hokkaido University Center for Research and Development in Higher Education

CoSTEP is an educational organization of science communication at Hokkaido University, Japan. It implements two-way communication activities in science and technology in various areas, including the university and the society. Through such activities, we promote education and research in science communication. CoSTEP students acquire the skills required of science communicators through practices. In our program, from 2009, we have been providing our students with a project class, called “PR media project”, in which they plan and produce university’s PR magazine. Three teachers and ten students constitute the project team. We make a project proposal, interview researchers and students in the university, write articles, and edit them.

The team is demanded from the university’s editorial board to interview and write the articles. The board members revise them. We frequently discuss its design and layout with a production company. The team clarified the readership. We regarded high school students as the main target, and surveyed them. For example, we had questionnaire surveys to high school students and their parents on the open campus days and visited a high school to interview several students and teachers there. Thus, we not only publish articles about researches in the university, but introduce various aspects on the academia which the readers would like to know, and also pay attention to the design. Through the trials, we made more efforts towards producing articles and the whole magazine which were easy to communicate with the readers than the conventional ones. After immediately the publishing, we had a workshop on the magazine. Those who are interested in PR participated in the workshop and the magazine was evaluated by such third persons.

Producing university’s PR magazine incorporating science communication is not completed by mere interviewing and writing. It can be expressed by the communication activities involved mainly in five parties: the project team, the editorial board, interviewees, a production company, and readers.CoSTEP has other classes which involve university’s PR in terms of alternative media. For example a café project team is constituted by five students, and they plan and organize a science café, where a university professor is invited as a guest and makes a scientific talk followed by casual dialogue with citizens. The talk tends to be an introduction to the professor’s research in the university. CoSTEP students also prepare for the posters and fliers about the event, and distribute them widely inside/ outside the campus. In this sense, this science café can be said to be a field or media for university’s PR.

To sum up, university’s PR and science communication education are positively influenced each other. On the one hand, by incorporating some elements of university’s PR into science communication education, we can make such education that the students can learn to communicate to the public scientific matters in easily understandable ways through utilizing various media and they can improve their skills for communicating with others or stakeholders in the real society. On the other hand, by incorporating some elements or ideas of science communication, university’s PR, which has an inclination to one-way advertisement conventionally, can focus on the target, receive feedback from the readers or participants, and design effective PR by such communication in terms of various media and methods.


By practicing such trials, university’s PR can evolve into “genuine public relations” which strategically emphasize on interactive communication with the stakeholders.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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