The University of Nebraska State Museum Soundprint Media Center Inc. and the NIH/NCRR-funded Nebraska Center for Virology are developing an integrated educational media initiative to teach the public about cutting-edge virology research. World of Viruses will create documentaries for public and satellite radio that are complemented with a sophisticated outreach package for public libraries educators and students. Our goal is to educate the public about virology by: 1) Conveying the importance of virology research and clinical trials for diverse people-s health communities and environments. 2) Creating partnerships between radio stations virology researchers public libraries and educators to give the public access to community resources to learn more about virology. 3) Generating interest by the public – especially middle and high school-aged youth – in virology careers.
The University of Nebraska State Museum Soundprint Media Center Inc. (SMCI) and the NIH/NCRR-funded Nebraska Center for Virology working with Carl Zimmer a nationally recognized science writer propose an integrated educational media initiative to teach the public about cutting-edge virology research. The project called World of Viruses will develop documentaries for public and satellite radio stations that are complemented with a sophisticated libraries educators and middle and high school students. Our goal is to educate the public about virology by: 1) Conveying the importance of virology research and clinical trials to diverse people’s health communities and environments; 2) Creating partnerships between radio stations virology researchers public libraries and educators to give the public access to community resources to learn more about virology and 3) Interesting the public – especially middle and high school aged youth – in virology careers. We are proposing an integrated package of 15 radio documentaries coupled with eight-minute features and a strong outreach component package designed for public libraries educators and middle and high school students. Radio shows will feature prominent virology researchers discussing their real-life work and experiences. The radio programs will be strategically complemented by an innovative informal learning package – one that blends standards- and inquiry-based learning with the latest information technologies. The foundation of this community-based outreach module is a digital package of high resolution images inquiry-based activities podcasts and files accessible via the web. This includes readily downloadable customizable materials for libraries to use as a special exhibit during the time stations broadcast the programs for high school and middle school students to directly download materials for integration into their projects and papers and for educators to incorporate activities about viruss into their programs. This web package also is designed to help public libraries work with 6-12 educators and the project will provide assistance for stations and libraries to coordinate their efforts. The Public Library Association with over 11000 members is a partner in this program as are popular websites already used by middle and high school educators including the University of California’s Understanding Evolution website and All of the Virology on the World Wide Web.
1) Radio programs will be distributed through public radio stations and national satellite radio. Over half the states are committed to broadcasting the programs. 2) The Public Library Association with over 11000 members is a partner in this program. 3) Program dissemination will include popular websites already used by educators including the University of California-s Understanding Evolution website and All of the Virology on the WWW.
World of Viruses evaluation plan utilizes surveys program analysis interviews and a quasi-experimental study to provide front-end and formative feedback and impact assessment of the radio programs and outreach modules delivered through libraries and schools. The evaluation design instruments and consent forms will be approved by the University of Nebraska Institutional Review Board. The evaluation goals are as follows: 1) Assess audience interest in and knowledge of basic virology concepts 2) Provide formative feedback of prototype deliverables (radio programs and informal learning package) and ongoing user-reactions to programs 3) Assess how the project materials influence adult’s and teen’s understanding of the role of viruses in health the environment and communities. We will address individual impacts of project components as well as synergistic impacts of using radio and library outreach together. Evaluation Design: 1) Front-end (interest & knowledge of virology topics) – Survey of 100 teen library users and school students; review existing literature on public understanding of viruses and infectious disease. 2) Formative (improving deliverables) – Web reviews focus groups for sample of radio programs (n=20/each); clinical interviews on cognitive representations of sample of users; trial test components and integration (40 students & library users); tracking radio & library user demographics. 3) Summative (impacts informing the field) – Quasi-experiment conducted at 2 library sites (n=60); self-reporting survey distributed at libraries (n=200); web survey of radio listeners (n=100); clinical interviews of impacts on radio & library users (n=30); tracking radio & library user demographics. Front-end evaluation questions include: 1) What is already documented about how adults and teens understand viruses and infectious disease? 2) How does the popular media portray viruses? 3) What do pre-teens know about viruses and infectious disease? Formative evaluation questions addressed include: 1) Do the radio programs clearly address the content accuracy qualitative technical audience relevance and motivation criteria established by the project? 2) Do the programs and modules stimulate interest and curiosity about virology and related careers? 3) Do these learning resources increase understanding of basic virology concepts? Summative evaluation questions addressed include: 1) Did the programs and modules increase knowledge of and interest in virology? 2) How does the form of these programs and modules affect how people understand viruses? 3) To what degree are public radio and libraries effective venues for the dissemination and development of public understanding and appreciation of current research on virology?
Resources for Sharing
1) An integrated package of 10 radio documentaries and 10 eight-minute radio features on current research on virology. 2) Community-based outreach modules that include activities essays podcasts and graphic files accessible via the web. These will be readily downloadable customizable materials for libraries to use as a special exhibit during the time stations broadcast the programs for high school and middle school students to directly download materials for integration into their projects and for educators to incorporate activities about viruses into their programs.
public radio listeners app users high school aged youth middle school aged youth educators
Current research in virology