SCIGEN 101 : Communicating in a Knowledge Society


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Effective communication is required for specialists in all fields to engage meaningfully with society. In this course students gain an understanding of the important role communication plays in a knowledge society. Through case studies and practical experience students learn about the responsibilities and skills required to communicate with a variety of audiences. They learn how to effectively manage and present data and practice oral, written, visual and electronic communication.

Course Overview

SCIGEN 101/101G provides you with an understanding of why communication is important to knowledge experts and develops your practical communication skills to enable you to be an effective communicator of specialist information. No matter what speciality you are from, the theory, concepts and skills you learn in this course will be able to be used during your time at university and beyond.

You will learn practical skills to effectively communicate expert knowledge to people inside and outside your chosen specialty. Employers want graduates who can communicate and who can demonstrate competency in these skills.  Your ability to effectively communicate will differentiate you from other students when looking for jobs, as well as assist you considerably during your time at University, particularly with your course assignments in all your subjects.

SCIGEN 101/101G attracts a diverse range of students from all Faculties and year levels across the University and we welcome this diversity. We allow you to choose a topic from your major discipline to use across all your assignments. This course teaches you how to effectively communicate your disciplinary knowledge to diverse audiences outside your discipline as this requires a special set of skills. Students value choice in assignment topic, as it makes the learning relevant and of specific interest. 

You will also critically examine real world case studies where experts have communicated and engaged with a wide range of people. Sometimes these endeavours have been successful, while other times the experts have faced many difficulties. You will also participate in a ‘real world’ discussion to see how effectively we engage in complex issues in our SCIGEN SPEAKS interactive sessions in week 11.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Understand how knowledge specialists should communicate in a knowledge society (Capability 2 and 6)
  2. Access, interpret, synthesise, and effectively communicate disciplinary knowledge to a diverse audience (Capability 1, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate a critical and informed understanding of the different models of communication and apply this to the internal assessment and to the critical analysis of real world case studies. (Capability 2 and 5)
  4. Develop and demonstrate collaborative learning and networking skills in peer networks (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  5. Demonstrate an ability to effectively communicate specialist disciplinary knowledge using oral, written, visual, and non-verbal communication (Capability 1, 4 and 5)
  6. Demonstrate effective ways of managing and presenting data (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of complexity and engage in a dialogue session dealing with a real world complex issue (Capability 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  8. Critically examine the communication challenges faced by knowledge specialists when communicating with society (Capability 2, 3, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 40% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 6% Individual Coursework
Peer Review 4% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Peer Review
Final Exam


The University of Auckland Tuākana Programme is a complementary approach to Western academic methods of learning. It recognizes, and is based upon, Māori and Pacific cultural values and practices. 

The SCIGEN 101 Tuākana Programme focuses on encouraging first year Māori and Pacific students to achieve their full academic potential. The course is assigned a tuākana (tutor/mentor), who has achieved excellent academic results in SCIGEN 101 and who has the knowledge and skills to assist you. 

The tuākana run study sessions in which you can get to know other students, discuss lecture material and clarify any information that you may be unsure about. Assignment and exam workshops are also organised as needed. 

Students who registered in Student Services Online as being of Māori or Pacific descent will receive an email from Debbie Larkin our tuākana tutor inviting you to join our Tuākana Programme.

Key Topics

Written Communication
Oral Communication
Visual Communication - academic posters
Non-verbal communication
Dialogue and networking
Communicating statistics
Mathematical Models
Mathematical Relationships
Communication in Action: Real world case studies

Learning Resources

All required learning resources are made available through canvas and the course talis reading list.   You are however expected to independently access quality library sources for your assignments.

We have a dedicated online library tutorial which you can access through canvas and additional individual/group support for accessing resources are provided by library and teaching staff.

Special Requirements

Enrolled students will be required to assign themselves to a ONE hour session held outside the course teaching time, in either weeks 11 or 12 . This hour is when students will present a 5-minute oral presentation to their study buddy group (and the tutor marker). Many time options are given, so students have ample opportunities to find a time that does not clash with their university schedule.  

Each session (one hour time -slot) takes a maximum of 6 students. The six students who assign themselves to a specific one hour time slot (you will be asked to choose your time from a range of options provided to you in week 3) will then form a peer network group for the entire semester. This peer network will engage together in lectures on certain times in the lecture schedule. 

 Other than the one hour session outside lecture time  in either weeks 11 or 12, you do not have to engage in any other activities outside of lecture time. There are no course tutorials or labs.  

No lecture on this course is compulsory but engagement marks are awarded for two of three manaaki / study buddy sessions held in lecture time during the semester.  These are held in week 5, 8, 10 (and contribute to the 4%  assessment peer review component outlined above).   

You are also strongly advised to attend the dialogue workshop held in the lecture on Wednesday May 27.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 33 hours of lectures, 37 hours of reading and thinking about the content during the entire semester and 50 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation during the entire semester.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

The SET evaluation indicated the course was well received in semester 1 and 2, 2019 by both the general education and non-gen ed student cohorts. 

 In 2017 due to student feedback we introduced the study buddy / manaaki peer network to enable peer to peer learning and support. The peer support group was specifically developed to ensure students could present their oral presentation to a familiar audience. This peer support system has been very well received since it was introduced and even the students who are nervous about delivering a talk find presenting to a familiar audience assists them to overcome any fear.   Students therefore should not dismiss this course because you have to present a talk.  The course is specifically designed to assist you to do this competently and in a friendly and supportive environment - to five of your peers (not the whole class!).

  In 2018, we changed the order of the assignments so that the oral presentation was the last assignment, which enabled the peer groups to get to know each other over the whole semester before students presented their talk.  

We introduced Piazza in 2018 to enable students to ask questions (anonymously if needed) and engage collaboratively.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Once the course begins, we ask that enrolled students please use the course resources AND course guide provided on canvas. 
Published on 11/01/2020 03:18 p.m.