Affiliate Professor, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Education
Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 6308
Work E-mail: abrown@uOttawa.ca
Dr. Brown is an award-winning science educator with an expertise in science education and science communication. He is a professor in the Department of Biology and has the distinction of being uOttawa’s first cross-appointed professor between the Faculties of Science and of Education. He has also been an active artist for much of his life, having performed music, dance and theatre in front of international audiences for over three decades. His public performance skills have also been useful in his many outreach activities through the media, either as a regular guest on local, national and international news TV, radio and print, as well as having written, produced, directed, narrated and hosted a number of science education seminars, TV shows, documentaries and video blogs for the likes of The Nature of Things, TEDx and Netflix.
His current research revolves around two aspects of the scholarship of teaching and learning, those of Science Education and Science Communication. In the former, he has developed novel teaching methods and technologies that have been shown to improve the learning environment, knowledge transfer and application for undergraduate students of Biology. His current projects involve analysis of linguistic challenges to learning of science terminology and learning science in non-English languages, as well as a study of the role of exemplification and monologue vs. dialogue discourses in the delivery of science content during classroom lectures. As part of his work related to the field of Science Communication, he has brought an emphasis for the learning of skills for the public communication of science into the curriculum and evaluation of undergraduate students of science. Additionally, he is actively creating, producing, narrating and hosting a number of science communication media productions for TV shows, documentaries and Internet video blogs. His past research program has focused on the factors that influence insect-flower interactions as they relate to berry production. By looking at pollinator diversity and activity, pollination effectiveness and importance as well as patterns of fruit set and abortions, this research attempted to understand dynamics of ecological interactions in agriculture in order to develop sustainable agro-ecological management techniques.
Type of Student Support He Seeks
He is seeking students with a passion for science and the public, science communication and science education. Students should be interested in pan-disciplinary approaches to bringing science to the public and the classroom (communication, framing, engagement).
Research Question Examples a Student He Supervises Could Work On
- How can we communicate science to the public effectively?
- How and why do discrepancies exist between the current state of scientific knowledge and the public’s understanding of science?
- How and what can we learn from using previous instances of science communication to the public as case studies for improving the public communication of science in the future?
- How can we teach science in university classrooms in such a way as to promote a life-time of passionate and independent learning?
- STEM to STEAM: how can we use the arts to foster a better public appreciation and involvement in the sciences?
- Brown, A.O. In Press. The Role of Values in the Effectiveness of Public Communications of Science for Sustainability. Education Review.
- Oliveira, A.W. and A.O. Brown. 2016. Exemplification in Science Instruction: Teaching and Learning through Examples. Journal for Research in Science Teaching. 53: 737-767. (download.pdf). This manuscript was nominated and short-listed as Research Worth Reading for 2016 by the National Science Teachers’ Association (USA).
- Brown. A.O. 2014. Lexical access, knowledge transfer and meaningful learning of scientific terminology via an etymological approach. International Journal of Biology Education. 3: 1-12. (download.pdf)