Not Exactly (Writing) Rocket Science

~Assignment Sequence ~

This course is designed around three main assignments:

Unit 1: Science Literature Review
I’ve spent the last year or so harassing every person I know working in various science disciplines, from medicine to public health to chemistry, to see what type of science writing they typically do. Though genres of science writing often vary between disciplines, one particular genre of writing came up in every discussion: the literature review.  In fact, literature reviews are a common writing task for most majors in the college of arts ans sciences.  Given the ubiquity of this writing task, you will be writing literature reviews on topics of your choosing for the final project in this unit.

Unit 2: Public Health PSA and Grant Proposal
Not all science takes place in the laboratory. The field of Public Health represents a wide range of science disciplines, from Biostatistics and Epidemiology to Nutrition and Health Behavior.  In fact, UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health offers a range of post-graduate degree and certificate programs some of you may find yourself thinking about tackling in just a few years. Thus, for our first unit, we’ll be working with Public health concerns to do two things that most disciplines in the sciences and humanities have to do: outreach and finding funding. For the outreach portion of this assignment, you’ll be making a Public Service Announcement about a public health concern facing UNC students; for the funding portion of this assignment, you’ll be writing a grant proposal. Excited yet?  If you’re not already, you will be.

Unit 3: Popular Science Writing
Unit 3 comes from my love of popular science writing. One science blogger I’ve come to admire is Ed Yong. I’ve taken his blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science, as the theme for our course and the object of this assignment.  Why?  Because “The universe is made of stories, not atoms” (Muriel Rukeyser, The Speed of Darkness, 1968).

Consult the Course Schedule for assignment due dates, homework, and class readings.