Communications in the Sciences

TPSS 654


Kent Kobayashi

Semesters taught:

Fall 2014, Fall 2015


Laboratory-type course for improving communication abilities in the sciences and engineering. Writing for and oral presentations to scientific audiences are emphasized. Hands-on experience in techniques and methods is provided.

Skills and knowledge to be acquired:

By the end of the course, students should: Be aware of audience psychology and trying to meet the needs and expectations of audiences. Be introduced to writing, presenting, evaluating, and revising different communication forms. Be able to critically evaluate their own writings and oral presentations and those of others.

Computer skills to be acquired:

Webpage development


None. Students are expected to be familiar with PowerPoint.


J.G. Paradis and M.L. Zimmerman. 2002. The MIT Guide to Science and Engineering Communication. Second Edition. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

R.A. Day and B. Gastel. 2006. How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper. Sixth Edition. Greenwood Press, Westport, CT.

Films and videos:


Guest Speakers:


Field Trips:


Course organization:

This course has a variety of teaching techniques. There will be lectures, small group discussions, class discussions, writing assignments, oral presentations, homework assignments, critiques, and guest speakers. Readings will be from the textbooks, handouts, articles given in class, and websites. All of the information covered in the readings will not necessarily be covered in class presentations.


  • Course introduction and overview
  • Audiences and their perspectives
  • Organizing and revising writing
  • Graphics and visuals
  • Searching the literature
  • Evaluating websites
  • Correspondence, e-mail, memos
  • Research proposals
  • Reports
  • Scientific articles, theses, dissertations
  • Conferences, proceedings
  • Oral presentations
  • Posters presentations
  • Developing websites
  • Resume, cover letter, interview


Grading will be based on a class curve. Assignments handed in after the due dates will be reduced in earned points. Failure to turn in more than one assignment will result in an I (incomplete) grade.

Final Assignment 100%