For many years, the view that dominated the science–public realm was that if only ‘the public’ were educated more, they would better appreciate the intrinsic value of science in their lives. Moreover, under this approach, people were too often seen as ‘empty vessels’ waiting to be filled with scientific knowledge that was transmitted one-way from experts to citizens – an idea that you will recognise as the ‘deficit model’ of how ‘the public’ understands science. With a few exceptions, most commentators and policy makers now see the situation differently: it is widely acknowledged that science is not so much ‘(mis)understood’ as ‘understood in context’.
This raises issues of intention and achievement – whether practice reflects purpose – and how ‘success’ is recognised and evaluated. In this course, a critical assessment will be made of how and why science is actively promoted to adults.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of postgraduate study in.