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Frontiers in Public Health

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Visual communication, Information visualization, Health education, Pedagogy, Universities and colleges -- Curricula, Communication in science


The purpose of this study was to explore the degree to which an infographic assignment facilitated student learning around health science issues, as well as the ways in which the assignment was an effective teaching tool. The objectives of the assignment were to (1) understand the purposes of and potential uses for infographics, (2) cultivate creative visual communication skills, and (3) disseminate a complex health topic to diverse audiences. The infographic assignment was developed at Montana State University and piloted at Portland State University. Students were assigned to small groups of three or four to create an infographic focused on a health science issue. The assignment was divided into four steps: brainstorming, developing, designing, and finalizing. Focus groups were conducted to assess how learning occurred throughout the assignment and identify any opportunities for modification of the assignment. This study was conducted with freshman students enrolled at Portland State University, a public university located in downtown Portland, OR, USA. Thirty four students completed the assignment and 31 students participated in one of three focus groups. Four themes emerged from focus groups: (1) Communicating Science-Related Topics to Non-experts, (2) Developing Professional Skills, (3) Understanding Health Issues, and (4) Overall Experience. This article outlines the assignment, discusses focus group results, and presents assignment modifications. It is clear that the infographic assignment facilitated learning about accessing and translating data. This assignment is ideally suited for use with diverse college-age audiences in health education and health promotion fields.


Copyright: © 2017 Shanks, Izumi, Sun, Martin and Byker Shanks. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

This article has been corrected. See Front Public Health. 2018 January 17; 5: 363.



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