The Student Science Communication Project (SSCP) is a faculty-supervised science writing initiative in which students develop writing skills through the preparation of articles for publication in the Encyclopedia of Earth (EoE). Writing projects can take many different forms, but they all have these essential features:
- A faculty member directs either individual students or a class with a focus on writing and communicating science.
- Students prepare an EOE article under close supervision of the faculty member and which receives expert review prior to submission.
- Papers are submitted to EOE, and reviewed via the normal EoE review process, with qualified papers being published in the EOE.
Full details of the SSCP are available in Student Science Communication Project: Teachers Guide.
Faculty interested in learning more about the SSCP or in developing their own project should contact Professor Emily Monosson, the Director of the Student Science Communication Project.
The project at Boston University is supervised by Professor Cutler J. Cleveland in the Department of Geography and Environment. Professor Cleveland had students in the Honors section of his class Introduction to Environmental Science identify an environmental person, place, event or issue of personal interest to them. Students identified an article in Wikipedia that covered their topic and that was reasonably well-developed, and copied all or parts of that article into the EoE. Students were then required to edit/fact-check/expand/revise the article so that it met EoE quality guidelines. This included a requirement to review the scholarly work on the subject. Drafts of each paper were reviewed by groups of students in the class and by Professor Cleveland. Examples from this project include Greenpoint oil release and Mount Washington.
The project at Texas Tech University is supervised by Professor Mark McGinley in the Honors College and Department of Biological Sciences. This project has been particularly valuable for students in the Natural History and Humanities degree program who are learning to communicate about the environment. The course "Advanced Fieldcraft" focused on how the physical environment affected the history, ecology, and environmental issues along the Rio Grande River. After learning about the river and a week-long canoe trip through Big Bend National Park, students chose topics to write about. All articles underwent peer review by other students in the course before a final review by Professor McGinley. Students in an Honors Seminar "Environmental Science" students wrote articles about environmental issue of their choice. Examples of articles from these courses include Rivers of Texas and Environmental effects of the Chernobyl accident.
The project at Mt. Holyoke College is supervised by Professor Emily Monosson, visiting faculty in the Environmental Studies program. After introducing students to toxicology basics, students chose topics relevant to environmental toxicology, which were also of personal interest, and wrote detailed research papers complete with embedded citations and reference section. After review by Professor Monosson students first revised and then transformed their papers into EOE articles. Articles were presented to the class for comment, prior to being sent for external review by experts in the field (students chose one or two authors whose work was cited.) Students then revised and corrected articles, added images and posted their articles to the EOE wiki for EOE review. Examples from this project include Pfiesteria, PFOA and PBDEs.
The project at University of Vermont is supervised by Professor Deane Wang from the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Articles from this course to date, include Umbrella species; Natural Community; Natural disturbance regime; Indicator species; and Shifting mosaic steady-state.
The project at University of Massachusetts was supervised by Professor Francis Juanes in the Department of Natural Resources Conservation. Articles from this project include: Alcids in marine ecosystems, Environmental and social implications of dam removal, Freshwater mussels in North America - factors affecting their endangerment and extinction, Mercury in the Gulf of Maine watershed, Phragmites australis - cryptic invasion of the Common Reed in North America, Secondary salinization.