STORRS, Conn. — Are you confused or do you have questions about GMOs?
Do you feel inadequate when discussing GMOs?
Are you given opposing information of GMOs and not sure what is right?
Do you wonder how the misinformation about GMOs spreads like a wildfire?
UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources is offering a new online course, Let’s Talk GMOs: Creating Consistent Communication Messages. This course introduces participants to the basics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They will learn how to create consistent communication messages and manage dialogue processes about GMOs with various audiences. The synchronous course is launching in January 2021; it has six online modules and three optional virtual sessions with instructors. The introductory cost is $150.
Most people have an emotional reaction to GMOs. They either love them or hate them. The majority already have an opinion about GMOs when the topic comes up. Extension educators, land-grant communicators, and agricultural producers will be comfortable sharing science-based information with their audiences after completing this course. Our role is to provide unbiased information that helps our audience form their own opinion and share their information in a non-confrontational manner.
Participants in the course will learn more about the science of GMOs and how to talk about GMOs in small group sessions where those in the dialogue have differing opinions of GMOs. The course instructors and their modules are:
- Robert Bird, a professor of business law in the Department of Marketing, presents the module on how misinformation spreads.
- Bonnie Burr, the department head of Extension, presents the modules on public policy and GMOs, and difficult conversations.
- Stacey Stearns, a program specialist with UConn Extension presents, the module on communication messages you can use and is the course facilitator.
- Cindy Tian, a biotechnology professor in the Department of Animal Science, presents modules on the history of GMOs and dialogue management.
There are brief introductory and course wrap-up modules in addition to the six core modules. The first three modules take approximately one hour each. Participants should expect to spend two hours on the last three modules.
Registration for the course opens in late November. Those interested in receiving an email when course registration opens can fill out this form: http://bit.ly/LetsTalkGMOs_signup or email Stacey.Stearns@uconn.edu for more information.
Let’s Talk GMOs: Creating Consistent Communication Messages is an initiative of the GMO Working Group in UConn’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. The group has a multi-faceted outreach campaign to educate the public on the science of GMOs, offering background on the diverse application of GMOs with research-based consideration of the risks and benefits. Visit https://gmo.uconn.edu/ for additional resources from the team.
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