ACE3089 : Animal Science Conference - Current Issues and Debates

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module has four aims as follows:
1. To develop a detailed understanding of current animal science issues, such as aspects of animal health (eg. epidemiology, disease control etc.) and welfare (e.g. the use of animals in research, mutilations carried out on animals for 'practical' reasons etc.) which are of relevance to the discipline of animal science.
2. To develop skills in organisation and planning by organising and participating in a scientific conference targeted at fellow students, staff and members of the general public.
3. To develop skills in teamwork and presentation by preparing and delivering a theatre presentation and a large-format research poster during the conference.
4. To practice self-assessment and peer review, further develop self-confidence, autonomy and other graduate skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introductory lecture - setting the aims for the module, timetable and providing information on assessment etc.

Lectures by other University staff to assist students in planning the Conference (e.g. Careers Service, Press Office) and preparing their theatre presentations and large-format posters.

Series of weekly tutorials led by students but facilitated by academic staff to:
- select the topic and keynote speakers
- decide the topics for the student theatre presentations and the large-format posters
- organise logistics, including catering, audio-visual requirements, publicity poster etc.
- monitor and track preparations as the date of the Conference approaches

Researsals of student presentations (8 hrs)

Conference (4 hrs)

Debriefing and reflection workshop (3 hrs)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:005:00Preparation of publicity poster, in groups.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Conference organisation, a task shared by the entire cohort of students taking this module.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00Large-format research poster: research the topic, prepare material and design the poster.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00Introductory lecture to set out the aim of the module, assessment methods and the weekly workshops.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Essay - individual essay on same topic as group presentation, hence hours are 'shared'. 2000 words.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture34:0012:00Two rehearsals and the Conference.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Post-conference evaluation and debriefing session.
Guided Independent StudyProject work16:006:00Completion of post-conference tasks, e.g. correspondence to donors, finalisation of budget.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops163:0048:00Student-led weekly planning workshop; staff are present only to assist/advise students as required.
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity130:0030:00Preparation of group theatre presentation (PowerPoint) and practice of delivery.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study124:0024:00Research on animal science issues to generate ideas for conference theme, topics & keynote speakers.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students are given an introductory lecture by teaching staff to introduce the aims of the module, explain the assessment procedure and outline the suggested timetable of activities for the rest of the Semester. In the weeks that follow, the business of organising the conference is student-led through a number of planning workshops, each 3 hours long with staff present for only part of these sessions as a means of mentoring and providing guidance where required. Student activity to plan the Conference, such as securing donations to cover costs incurred, selecting keynote speakers, deciding on group topics etc, may continue outside these workshops e.g. by discussion on Blackboard. Thus the knowledge of animal science issues will be gained as students prepare for their group presentation and individual poster, and the skills of team working, organisation, communication etc. are practised and developed over the weeks leading up to the Conference.

Other sessions which will take place as part of the weekly planning workshops will include guidance on how to prepare and deliver high calibre oral presentations (60 mins), large-format posters (60 mins) and an outline of how to use the module to develop career skills (provided by the Careers Service, 60 mins).

The culmination of the weekly workshops is the Conference itself, which takes place usually in week 10 or 11 of the Semester. Students are responsible for managing the entire event, including delivery of a number of theatre presentations (in groups) on topics relevant to the theme of the Conference. One of the sessions during the Conference is the 'coffee and poster viewing' session, much as happens at academic conferences, where students will present the results of an individual investigation into a relevant animal science topic (different to the topic for the group presentation) in a large-format poster style. Delegates will be invited to view the posters and ask specific questions from each student.

The post-conference debriefing session that follows is an important opportunity for students, not only to peer assess the Conference organisation and group presentation marks, but to reflect on the skills that they have developed and to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their personal contribution to the success of the module.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Poster1M5Preparation of group publicity poster to be used to advertise the Conference across campus and the region (peer and staff assessed).
Poster1M25Large-format research poster for individual students on a topic related to Conference theme. Assessed for content and presentation.
Prof skill assessmnt1M25Oral presentation given during the conference in groups; peer, audience and staff assessed.
Prof skill assessmnt1M30Conference score - quality of the Conference (scientific value, timekeeping etc) as assessed by delegates; peer & staff assessed.
Essay1M15Individual essay on the same topic as the group theatre presentation.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment strategy is designed to cover the knowledge and skills outcome of the module. Student's knowledge of animal science issues will be assessed through their (group) oral presentation in the Conference and the accompanying essay (2000 words) which is on the same topic as their group presentation. Note that the hours for these two pieces of assessment are therefore 'shared' between these two activities, a total of 44 hours for assessment which is worth 40% of the total module marks. The quality of the group presentation will also affect the 'Conference Score' (see below), since the better the group presentations then the higher will be the score awarded by the audience.

Knowledge and presentation are also assessed in the large-format research poster (individual; worth 25%, Poster 2), displayed during the 'poster viewing' session and showcasing a series of topics which fit within the overall theme of the Conference. Academic staff will assess these posters for content and quality of presentation.

Whilst the publicity poster (Poster 1) has a very small weighing (5% of total marks), this is undertaken in groups and is an important milestone to encourage students to engage with the module from an early stage in the Semester.

Skills in organisation, planning and communication are assessed through the Conference score, which is made up of assessment from both the audience (other University students and academic staff, outside visitors and guests) for the quality of the presentations and the organisation of the Conference, together with peer and academic staff assessment of the relative contribution made by individual students to the event preparation during the weeks leading up to the Conference. Academic staff play an important part in ensuring that marks awarded are consistent with Faculty marking criteria.

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