Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Scientific Communication

Course unit code: 569888

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Alejandro De La Sierra Iserte

Department: Faculty of Medicine

Credits: 3

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 75


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture

Face-to-face and online




-  Group tutorial

Face-to-face and online




-  Document study

Face-to-face and online



Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


— Capacity to write original articles.

— Capacity to prepare and present an oral communication.

— Capacity to prepare and present a poster.





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

The primary goal of research in the biomedical field is to obtain results that can be applied to the improvement of the diagnosis and/or treatment of diseases. Developments in any related area require validated evidence and, thus, the critical evaluation of the scientific community. This evaluation can only take place if the results of research are effectively communicated and reviewed in the appropriate forums, so that they may be certified and applied to patient care with surety. Equally, as a professional in the field one must be capable of critically assessing the results of research conducted by others. Ultimately, effective communication and the critical analysis of scientific production are essential in achieving these objectives. Research has no value unless it can be verified and disclosed among the scientific community in any of various acceptable ways, whether oral or in writing.

Undergraduate curriculums in the field of biomedicine at the University of Barcelona do not include a course that specifically teaches these skills, although they undoubtedly cover some of the aspects in a general sense. However, this lack, along with the fact that these skills are essential for researchers needing to communicate their results, whether orally or on a poster at a conference or in a written piece for a biomedical journal, clearly justifies the inclusion of this subject in the context of the master’s degree. As an example of the need for this, look no further than the difficulties that most doctoral students have in presenting a thesis, communicating partial results or writing an article on biomedicine.

From this perspective on the absolute need to become a good communicator, the content of this elective course is clearly a very appropriate addition to the master’s degree for all those who wish to acquire or improve their communication skills, which are not just complementary but, indeed, integral to the qualifications of all good researchers in the field of biomedicine.

On completion of the subject students will have achieved the following objectives:

— Learn the technique of preparing a biomedical article.

— Develop the capacity for critical reading of biomedical articles.

— Understand how to objectively choose which biomedical journal to send the results of a research project.

— Learn how to prepare and deliver an oral presentation.

— Learn the techniques involved in preparing and presenting a research poster.



Teaching blocks




Teaching methods and general organization


Face-to-face learning activities


Lectures are based on the use of visual media, mainly PowerPoint presentations (working knowledge of the technology is assumed), and are characterised by continuous interaction between the teacher and students. Prior to each class students are provided with the specific and required learning material for the relevant topic. Additional material, schematic diagrams and other information needed for the classes is provided in the electronic dossier for the course, which is hosted at the corresponding address on the UB Virtual Campus.

Practical classes

Practical learning exercises are set by the teacher responsible for the related theoretical subject matter, once that topic has been taught. The necessary material is provided for each exercise. This typically includes copies of biomedical articles, abstracts, etc. To carry out these practical exercises students need access to a computer with Internet connection and a projector.

Distance learning

Assignment tasks

Students must devote sufficient time to the preparation of several assignment tasks following guidelines given in the classroom: 1) preparation of an abstract for a biomedical article (as per previously established instructions), a covering letter, a bibliography search and a reference list using the Vancouver system; 2) preparation of an oral presentation, and 3) preparation of a research poster. The estimated time required outside class to complete this work is approximately 15 hours in total.

Independent study

Students are expected to devote sufficient time to studying the course content outlined in the classroom, which comprises the subject matter of the final examination for the course. The time required for independent study of the 12 topics is estimated to be 15 hours in total.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


Assessment criteria

— Class attendance (maximum 3 points).
— Practical exercises and assignments (maximum 3 points).
— 20-question multiple-choice test (maximum 4 points): each multiple-choice test question has five optional answers, where only one is correct. Wrong answers do not incur a penalty.

The final grade for the subject is calculated by the following scale:
— 0-4.9: Fail
— 5.0-6.9: Pass
— 7.0-8.9: Merit
— 9.0-10: Excellent

A minimum 80% class attendance is required to pass the subject.

Students with a final grade higher than 9.0 may opt for an honours mention.

Assessment procedure

Assessment is finalised jointly by the four teachers who teach the subject based on the score obtained in each of the three evaluation criteria.