When I enrolled in this course I expected it to be a boring, procedural communications class. But, after becoming more immersed in the class I realized this wasn’t true. I found this course to be dynamic, informative, and critical.
I gained insight into how to interpret data, what the “facts” really mean, as well as the status of health, environmental, and science communication in the United States, and around the world. I was also introduced to national and international issues I never knew existed such as the effects of radioactive chat on the residents of Picher, Oklahoma or the toxic gas leak that killed thousands in Bhopal, India.
I thought the course was very dynamic in that it included very relevant and current information and case studies on the subjects being discussed. I also appreciated the fact that Dr. Sastry tried to incorporate and stimulate class discussion. It allowed me to see different viewpoints and to investigate multiple facets of the subjects under discussion. I thought that the reading materials assigned were very appropriate for the class. They showed the interrelationships between the public, those presenting the communicative mediums, and the processes through which the communication got to its consumer.
Overall I think that I have become more enlightened as a citizen and a student of science by taking this class. It has opened my eyes to the intricacies of communication in the real world and peoples ability and inability to understand the communicative messages relayed to them. It showed me how information made to be presented to the public can at most times not be fully understood. It showed me a trend towards decreasing scientific literacy and knowledge. It underscored the effects advertising public announcements and campaigns on the general population. I feel that due to taking this course I can competently understand what is being communicated to me and be able to spot and understand discrepancies in that information. In knowing this I can make better decisions for myself, and help others do the same. It has instilled in me a greater feeling of self-reliance, that I can go against what everyone thinks is the status quo by interpreting information correctly. Through being taught the processes by which we think and people and interpret messages, I have the ability to better understand my world.
So, in the end, I enjoyed this class. It made me interested in enrolling in other communications courses. I think this is a useful course that every science major should take to better their understanding of their field of study as well as the world around them. I think this is a discovery course that has a lot more to offer than it might appear to.