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Unit information: Communicating and Facilitating in Animal Management in 2014/15

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Unit name Communicating and Facilitating in Animal Management
Unit code VETSM0045
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Main
Open unit status Not open



Introduction to Animal Welfare Science, Ethics and Law; AWSEL 2: Applying the Theory (RCVS only): Biology of Animal Behaviour and Welfare (Global Wildlife Health and Conservation only)

School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will develop students’ knowledge and practical skills in communication, facilitation and negotiation. It will also familiarise candidates with current research and animal management applications of participatory action research and techniques for encouraging behaviour change such as social marketing. The unit will be delivered via distance learning and a dedicated 2-day practical course. Students will learn and practice skills in a group setting through lecture material, group exercises and role play. Practice scenarios will be tailored to the interests and professional needs of the student. Skills learnt will subsequently be consolidated and developed through self-guided distance learning with academic support provision. Students will be assessed on a reflective account of their learning and application of skills including submission of video recorded exercises.

This unit is suitable as a stand-alone professional development course or as a component of a wider qualification.

The aim of this unit is to develop the candidate’s theoretical and practical skills in communication of information, facilitation and negotiation in their current or intended professional field.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Have a good knowledge of the NUVACS communication model, and frameworks of decision making and giving/eliciting information

Demonstrate an understanding of the theory, practice and ethical considerations of facilitation skills within a veterinary, agricultural, conservation or other animal management context

Demonstrate understanding of barriers to communication and action, and critically evaluate available techniques to increase stakeholder engagement

Understand the principles and applications of Participatory Action Research and other behaviour change techniques to animal management scenarios

Reflect on the application of these skills to the student’s specific professional or intended field; where appropriate, show originality in applying knowledge to current or new problems.

Deploy key techniques of the discipline effectively to communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Develop and demonstrate practical skills necessary to undertake a group and individual facilitation session

Teaching Information

Students will attend a 2-day course at the University of Bristol combining lecture material with opportunities to develop and practice appropriate skills using group exercises. They will then be provided with additional online academic content and the opportunity to consolidate their skills via e-learning materials.

Teaching materials (consisting of Powerpoint-based lectures with audio content, written notes, videos of practice scenarios and selected further reading) will be hosted within a dedicated course on a web-based platform (Blackboard) and also made available in CD format. Throughout the distance learning elements students will also have access to dedicated academic support via email and telephone.

Assessment Information

Students will submit 2 formative video recordings of practice scenarios to Blackboard, one demonstrating communication skills and one demonstrating facilitation skills. These will be mandatory, but assessed formatively with feedback provided. Students will then submit a 3000 word reflective account of their skills development throughout the course including the video recording and submission process, and examples from their working life or study. The account will include examples where they have applied one or more of the techniques covered in the course (agreed with the tutor in advance).

Reading and References

Gray C and Moffett J (2010). Handbook of veterinary communication skills. Blackwell Publishing. Chichester, UK

Jacobson, S.K. (2009). Communication skills for conservation professionals. Island Press. Washington DC.