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Critical reviews of TV science documentaries

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Prof Jon Scott (Academic Registrar, University of Leicester) gave a short presentation at the Making the Most of Broadcast Media in Your Teaching day conference. Jon outlined an assessed activity …

Prof Jon Scott (Academic Registrar, University of Leicester) gave a short presentation at the Making the Most of Broadcast Media in Your Teaching day conference. Jon outlined an assessed activity conducted with final year bioscientists, in which they prepare a critical review of a designated TV science documentary.
The day conference was sponsored by the Higher Education Academy and took place at the University of Leicester on January 14th 2014.

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  • 1. Critical Reviews of TV Science Documentaries Jon Scott School of Biological Sciences
  • 2. Aims To encourage students to: • think critically about and analyse documentary material presented in the media • research the background to the documentary • as a group discuss their views about the programme • work as a group to prepare and deliver an oral presentation • critically evaluate the presentations of the other groups
  • 3. Exercise Brief • Working in Groups (4 or 5 students) • Provided with a DVD of a recent TV programme on a Neuroscience topic – sourced via TRILT • Provided with the Marking Scheme • 3 weeks preparation time • Required to present a 15 minute critical review of the programme
  • 4. Marking • Content – Overview of the programme content (10 %) – Evaluation of the scientific accuracy and currency of the programme (20 %) – Evaluation of the objectivity of the programme (20 %) – Evaluation of the quality of the presentation (10 %) – Effectiveness in targeting the audience (10 %) • Presentation – Clarity of the presentation (10 %) – Quality of the delivery (10 %) – Quality of the visual aids and their usage (10 %)
  • 5. Student Feedback • Students’ Comments: • ‘..was good to do a critical review on something other than just a research paper, making the exercise more interesting.’ • ‘..improved the way I observe tv documentaries. I think I will be more critical in future and not just sit back and watch.’ • ‘It was interesting to see the differences in styles of thinking and evaluation between students in the group’. • ‘…gave us an understanding of exploring the information and criticising the information given’
  • 6. Student views on the review exercise 100 % Respondents 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

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