Jeanette Dennisson

Associate professor


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In this course, we will improve oral communication competency through small-group discussions on science-related topics.

Focus will be placed on how to:

  1. listen actively,
  2. add to the conversation,
  3. clearly and correctly speak on topic, and
  4. think critically.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to…

  1. read science news articles for gist
  2. create an outline of the content of news articles for discussion
  3. present topics for discussion based on the outlines
  4. react, comment, and ask questions about the discussion topics
  5. take proper notes on mini lectures 
  6. offer opinions based on readings/listenings and discussions
  7. use body language to help express your ideas during discussions


            Attendance:     15% (deduction for tardiness and limited/no participation)

 Class assignments:     40% (in-class group discussions/note taking/on-line submission. See Schedule page.)

Online assignments:     15% (submission of outlines & vocabulary activities & Discussion forum comments. See Schedule page.)

      Discussion tests:     30% (in class 3-person discussions on teacher topics)

Student topics

You will present topics in class based on an article from You will select at least 4 different articles for the whole course. For each article you are required to make an outline of the content. Outlines should be submitted before the class discussion day. During class you will discuss your topic using only your outline. As the leader of the discussion you must encourage your classmates to talk about your topic by:

  1. providing explanation of technical words
  2. showing visual aids to help your explanations
  3. sharing and asking for ideas and opinions

Teacher topics

The teacher will give 6 mini lectures on different topics from news topics. Preparation for these lectures include

  1. pre-reading/listening to the related article or podcast
  2. taking notes of the pre-reading/listening activities
  3. understanding and using vocabulary used in the activities/lectures

Links to the readings and listenings for each topic can be found in Tasks.

The topics of the Discussion tests will come from the mini lectures. You will be required to use the vocabulary taught in the lecture during the Discussion tests.

Teaching material

Most material will come from online news websites: Science Daily (, Scientific American  ( and New York Times ( There is no textbook.

Course content

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Content of this course is available by invitation only. You can not access this course if you don't have an invitation from the course instructor.

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