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Unit of study_

AVBS1003: Animals and Us

Semester 1, 2022 [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 (Record+) Type B final exam Final Exam***
SAQ and extended answer questions
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Debate-Oral Presentation**
Debate Presentation, written factsheet
20% Multiple weeks 4 min oral presentation 2 page factsheet
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Small test Module 1 Assessment-Test 1*
15% Week 04 45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO3
Presentation group assignment Scientific Poster
Poster presentation
10% Week 07 N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8
Small test Module 2 Assessment-Test 2*
15% Week 08 45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO3
Assignment Online MCQ Worksheet
MCQs-unlimited submission attempts
10% Week 13 20 questions and unlimited time
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information regarding format, page limits, etc… for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

*Tests will be invigilated online 

**Presentation to be submitted online via Canvas for remote campus students

***Final exam: This assessment is compulsory and failure to attend, attempt, or submit will result in the award of an AF grade. If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator.

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:

Simple extensions will not be granted in this unit of study and late submissions will not be accepted without an approved special consideration. Students who experience any form of illness, injury, or misadventure that prevents or affects the preparation or performance in an exam or assessment are encouraged to apply for special consideration. Details on how to apply for special consideration can be found on the unit's Canvas page.

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; Anthrozoology I Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 02 Anthrozoology II; Introduction/Welcome to Taronga Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Evolution of Zoos Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 03 Anthrozoology III & IV Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
Physiological and psychological responses to animals Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 04 Introduction to Assessments Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Work Session – Scientific poster Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 05 Human-animal relationships across cultures I Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Animals in sport & recreation Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 06 Human-animal relationships across cultures II Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Animals in work Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO8
Week 07 Human-animal relationships across cultures III Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Animal training and conservation messaging Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 08 Human-animal relationships across cultures IV Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Debate Preparation Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 09 Conservation I Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Native & Invasive species Practical (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 10 Conservation II Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO8
Walk as a penguin Practical (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 11 Conservation III; Legislation, ethics, and principles of care I Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8
Animal Ethics & Welfare Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 12 Legislation, ethics, and principles of care II Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8
Applications of legislation and principles of care Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 13 Legislation, ethics, and principles of care III & Review Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8
Debate Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance during lectures and practicals is not required, therefore students may attend or skip lectures as they deem appropriate.

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.

Work, health and safety

Taronga Zoo is requiring that all staff and students are double vaccinated to be on-site. Please note: Anyone without a vaccine certificate or exemption will not be permitted on-site at Taronga Zoo and as a result will not be able to participate in face-to-face lectures and practicals that occur at Taronga Zoo.


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