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Public Engagement: IL036/IL136

Public Engagement:

IL036/ IL136

About the module

This module is for any student who's interested in learning more about what public engagement isLink opens in a new window; wants to develop the skills they need to communicate clearly and engagingly to share complex ideas with diverse audiences; and enjoys learning through practical discussion based sessions with a variety of tutors.

It's an interdisciplinary module, so you'll be working with a range of students from courses all over Warwick, and you'll get to experience new and unique forms of assessment. It's hosted by the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) is available at 15 CATS to undergraduate students in their 2nd or 3rd years of study.

The course is convened by colleagues from Warwick Institute of Engagement (WIE). Professor Katherine Astbury, Head of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures, WIE Fellow, and an academic with many years experience of collaborating with public audiences around her research, is the Academic Lead for the Module, along with Naomi Kay, Engagement Officer for Warwick Institute of Engagement with experience of delivering and supporting large scale engagement events. Guest speakers and other colleagues from the Institute also lead a variety of the sessions, giving you access to a wide range of expertise and experience.

What you'll learn and how it's taught

Public engagement is about connecting ourselves to those around us. It requires an ability to translate complex ideas, an understanding of different people and their needs, and a requirement for actively listening to their contributions. This module aims to explore the theoretical and practical skills students need to do public engagement to a high standard, explored through an interdisciplinary lens.

You'll be taught through a series of 10 2 hour seminar sessions which will include talks, panel discussions, interactive tasks with peers from a range of departments, and getting involved with engagement yourself. You'll be taught by a diverse group of module tutors who bring a variety of expertise and experience to the module. The sessions will contain a high level of in class discussion and several weeks will require you to take part in hands on practical activities. Your presence in class and willingness to contribute ideas is a vital part of the learning process.

Part of the module will involve taking part in a public engagement event, which will also be part of your assessment. Please note the final assessment deadlines for this module are early in Term 2 to allow you time to reflect on your experience of delivering a live public engagement activity.

Topics covered

  • What is public engagement
  • Engaging in online spaces
  • Evaluating engagement
  • Audiences, Planning Engagement, Good Reflective Practice
  • Getting hands on with engagement
  • Interactive engagement with young people (supporting the delivery a session for a local school group)
  • Presentation Skills and preparing for your live event
  • Co-production of research and engagement
  • The role of public engagement in society

What past students have said about this module

"Taking the Public Engagement module in my final year fundamentally changed my perception of science and my career. I got a taste of how crucial, diverse, and creative this field is throughout numerous academic projects. After I graduated from the university, I kept practicing public engagement as a hobby on multiple social media platforms. During my work experiences as a Biologist, I emphasised the importance of science communication, and I am delighted to see a growing desire to apply it."

"Studying public engagement allowed me to express my creativity and test my understanding of the discipline in ways different from simply writing essays. I’ve been thinking of pursuing a career as a political risk analyst, and for that, it will be important that I am able to explain complex, discipline-specific issues to people with no prior knowledge of them. This is exactly what public engagement prepares you for."

“My overall experience on the module was very interesting and rewarding. The module allowed me to learn and enhance various skills including presentation, teamwork, blog writing, storytelling, and, of course, public engagement!”

“I've really enjoyed having up to 3 experts in a room at one time. It has helped discussion and meant that I can really enjoy sessions.”

Warwick Institute of Engagement Logo

Module code:

IL036 - Level 5 (Intermediate)

IL136 - Level 6 (Third year/Finalist)

Module Convenors

Naomi Kay

Professor Katherine Astbury

Class Time 2024-25 TBC

Term 1 (Autumn)
Wednesday 9.00-11.00


R0.12 (Ramphal)

Assessment - 15 CATS

Engaging the public in online spaces - 50%

Produce a digital engagement piece (e.g. blog/ video/ podcast) aimed at other students exploring the question " What is public engagement, why do we do it, and should students get involved?". 50%

Deliver a live public engagement activity - 25%

Working in groups you'll create your own hands on public engagement activity to be delivered to the public as part of Live Labs - an event for children aged 8+ attending the Warwick Christmas Lectures. Live Labs is organised and curated by Warwick Institute of Engagement. taking place in the foyer of Warwick Arts Centre in the hour before the doors open for the lectures. You'll have a choice of two dates, normally an evening in week 9 or 10.

Reflective Journal (1,500 words) 25%

Reflect and critique your experience of doing a public engagement activity during the Live Labs event and compare how this practical experience relates to your theoretical understanding of public engagement developed over the module. This is normally submitted early in term 2, to allow you time to reflect post event.

Curious to see what assessment on this module looks like?

See our Assessment ExhibitionLink opens in a new window