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Unit of study_

AVBS1003: Animals and Us

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

We live in a world surrounded by and dependent on animals. Australia has one of the highest rates of animal ownership in the world: dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and reptiles being common. In this unit, you explore animals in society (including companion, pocket and pet, wildlife and zoo animals). You will investigate relationships between humans and animals and normal function of animals including development, disease, aging and death. This unit will describe how human and animal health are related, outline legislation and policies on the care and use of animals, cover topical issues in animal welfare and ethics, provide opportunities for students to observe animal behaviours and discuss how cultural backgrounds influence our relationships with animals. You will visit captive and clinical animal facilities where animals are displayed for conservation, curiosity, aesthetics and research. Practicals and workshops will provide students with skills in critical thinking, communication, information/digital literacy and an evidence informed basis on which to make decisions. This unit is for students who are interested in a professional career working with animals, such as those in the AVBS stream and BVB/DVM program or who generally seek an understanding of how animals enrich our lives.

Unit details and rules

Unit code AVBS1003
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Brandon Velie,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Take-home exam
CANVAS timed exam open book
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Presentation Debate
Debate Presentation, written factsheet
20% Multiple weeks 4 min oral presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation group assignment Scientific Poster
Poster presentation
10% Week 07 N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8
Small test Module 1 Assessment**
15% Week 08 45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO3
Small test Online Module 2 test
CANVAS timed test open book
15% Week 11 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO3
Participation Online Quiz*
MCQs-unlimited submission attempts
10% Week 13 20 questions
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

*Participation quizzes will be made available on Canvas for students

**Tests will be made available online for students 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Detailed information about late penalties can be found on Canvas.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to Unit of Study; The relationship between human and animal health I Lecture (2 hr)  
Week 02 The relationship between human and animal health II; Introduction/Welcome to Taronga Lecture (2 hr)  
Seal Journey: Part I Practical (3 hr)  
Week 03 The relationship between human and animal health III & IV Lecture (2 hr)  
Physiological and psychological responses to animals Practical (3 hr)  
Week 04 Introduction to Scientific Poster Assessment Lecture (1 hr)  
Work Session – Scientific poster Practical (3 hr)  
Week 05 Human-animal relationships across cultures I Lecture (2 hr)  
Animals in sport & recreation Practical (3 hr)  
Week 06 Human-animal relationships across cultures II Lecture (2 hr)  
Animals in work Practical (3 hr)  
Week 07 Human-animal relationships across cultures III Lecture (2 hr)  
Seal Journey: Part II Practical (3 hr)  
Week 08 Human-animal relationships across cultures IV Lecture (2 hr)  
Debate Preparation Practical (3 hr)  
Week 09 Conservation I Lecture (2 hr)  
Life as a penguin Practical (3 hr)  
Week 10 Conservation II Lecture (2 hr)  
Invasive species Practical (3 hr)  
Week 11 Conservation III; Legislation, ethics, and principles of care I Lecture (2 hr)  
Ethics in scientific research Practical (3 hr)  
Week 12 Legislation, ethics, and principles of care II Lecture (2 hr)  
Applications of legislation and principles of care Practical (3 hr)  
Week 13 Legislation, ethics, and principles of care III & Review Lecture (2 hr)  
Debate Practical (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Additional, more detailed information regarding attendance and class requirements can be found on Canvas.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Describe and give examples of how human and animal health are related
  • LO2. Describe and give examples of how human-animal interactions are culturally influenced
  • LO3. Analyse and evaluate research in the field of animal research
  • LO4. Make informed decisions based on evidence to ensure the welfare and management of animals
  • LO5. Describe the legislation and principles for the care and use of animals
  • LO6. Independently analyse data and articulate the meaning in the results
  • LO7. Communicate confidently both orally and in writing
  • LO8. Work in a team with people from diverse backgrounds with inclusiveness, open mindedness, honesty and diligence

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No major changes have been made to the unit since it was last offered.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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