Perceptions of using infographics for physiology poster projects – a comparison between cohorts: Help students communicate science to a wider audience: Use infographic posters

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Abstract

We have previously reported the use of infographics to revitalise a physiology poster research project. Infographics are progressively being used to demonstrate key scientific concepts in simple graphical form. Developing students to effectively communicate with both a scientific audience and the general public is increasingly important within an academic curriculum. We had a very positive response to this innovation during the initial year it was introduced, but it was not yet clear whether this opinion would be sustained across cohorts. We decided to compare the opinions of students across two different cohorts to investigate whether the positive opinions of infographic projects was sustained or merely a transient response due to the novelty of the activity.
Students were asked to undertake a 11 week project on a physiological topic of their choice and present it in printed format at a traditional poster session, and online. Staff and peers graded the infographics at the poster session. In addition, students had to submit an abstract reporting their findings as if they were submitting it to a Physiological Society meeting. Students could explore any area of physiology they wanted to as long as they were excited about the topic, and they could communicate the important messages or concepts involved in their project clearly and concisely. A range of free software/websites that could be used to produce infographics were demonstrated, and students could choose whichever one they felt was most suitable for them.
Students were invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire on the delivery and outcomes of the exercise. This considered how easy it was to simplify the scientific material and how infographic presentation compared with a standard scientific poster. Comparison between online and printed delivery was also evaluated, along with the impact on the overall learning experience. Students rated various aspects of the project on Likert scales from 0-10.
46 students completed the questionnaire in cohort 2016-17 and 50 in cohort 2018-19. Both cohorts preferred online infographic posters rather than printed ones. Other consistent findings included that students felt that infographics could communicate complex scientific concepts more effectively than traditional scientific posters. Students found the science easier than trying to pitch the content at the correct level for the audience. They appeared to give more thought as to how information should be presented and delivered to different audiences and became more critical of their own work. There seemed to be no significant differences between cohorts in terms of their responses for most questions.
This initiative has now been running for 3 years and has rejuvenated a physiology project assignment that had previously received poor ratings in student feedback. This approach has now been adopted by other courses to enhance student communication skills and to increase graduate skills.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventPhysiology 2019 - Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 Jul 201910 Jul 2019
http://www.physoc.org/physiology2019/physiology-2019

Conference

ConferencePhysiology 2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityAberdeen
Period8/07/1910/07/19
Internet address

Keywords

  • infographic
  • physiology
  • student
  • assessment

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