Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 291–304 | Cite as

Informal Science Education: A Practicum for Graduate Students

  • Wendy C. Crone
  • Sharon L. Dunwoody
  • Raelyn K. Rediske
  • Steven A. Ackerman
  • Greta M. Zenner Petersen
  • Ronald A. Yaros


We present results from a course, “Informal Science Education for Scientists: A Practicum,” co-taught to graduate students in STEM-related fields by a scientist/engineer and a social scientist/humanist. This course provides a structured framework and experiential learning about informal science education during a semester-long experience. The data collected across six years of the course (11 ≤ n ≤ 16 for each) provide strong evidence that the course has been effective in encouraging graduate students in STEM-related fields to feel more skilled at and confident with informal science education. Details are provided as to how manipulation of the course structure (i.e. making it project-based, emphasizing understanding audiences, stressing the iterative nature of design, and increasing evaluation research training) influenced the student outcomes.

Key words

Informal science education Graduate student training 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy C. Crone
    • 1
  • Sharon L. Dunwoody
    • 2
  • Raelyn K. Rediske
    • 2
  • Steven A. Ackerman
    • 2
  • Greta M. Zenner Petersen
    • 2
  • Ronald A. Yaros
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Engineering PhysicsUniversity of Wisconsin – MadisonMadisonUSA
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin – MadisonMadisonUSA
  3. 3.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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