Societal Implications: Incorporating Science Communication Research into the University Classroom. The “Nasty Effect:” Online Incivility and Risk Perceptions of Emerging Technologies
Ashley A. Anderson, Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele, Michael A. Xenos, Peter Ladwig
LSC 875: Science and Social Media is being taught for the first time in Spring 2014, and the significance of this study was one of the driving forces behind the creation of this course. The course draws directly from The “Nasty Effect” research when exploring how social media are impacting science in society. The instructors for LSC 100: Science and Storytelling, which includes a graduate student member of the Societal Implications research group, incorporated The “Nasty Effect” research into the curriculum for the first time in the Fall 2013 semester. The students learn about the theoretical basis for the study, the study design, and the results, and they discuss the implications of the findings for communicating science in new media environments. Second, the news cycle of The “Nasty Effect” –from online publication, to news articles and blog posts covering the research, to a New York Times op-ed written by two of the co-authors, to coverage in a parody newspaper—provides the course instructors with a prime opportunity to discuss how research is disseminated, and the different rhetoric involved used by different media outlets.