Zombie Apocalypse: Engaging Students In Environmental Health And Increasing Scientific Literacy Through The Use Of Cultural Hooks And Authentic Challenge Based Learning Strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Environmental Health (EH) is an essential profession for protecting human health and yet as a discipline it is under-recognised, overlooked and misunderstood. Too few students undertake EH studies, culminating in a dearth of qualified Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) in Australia. A major deterrent to students enrolling in EH courses is a lack of appreciation of the relevance to their own lives. This is symptomatic of a wider problem of scientific literacy: the relevance gap and how to bridge it. Employing a cultural hook offers a means to connect students to science and the fundamental elements of EH. Zombies feature prominently in the contemporary cultural landscape – movies, TV, gaming, music, cosplay, ‘Zombie Marches’. A Zombie Apocalypse provides an engaging platform to convey key EH concepts such as microbes and toxins, whilst improving the scientific literacy skills of both science and non-science students. Engaging students through this cultural hook bridged the relevance gap, connected students to science, and inspired an increased interest in EH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of University Teaching and Learning Practice
Volume15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Curriculum design
  • Environmental health
  • Scientific literacy
  • Student engagement

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