APMA114-Contemporary Issues in Animal Science

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Caroline Rymer

Email: c.rymer@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This distance learning module is available to students enrolled on the distance learning Sustainable Livestock Production programme and the Advanced Training Partnership programmes.   It can be taken as a stand-alone module by students engaged in independent study and may be undertaken, without assessment, as part of an individual’s continuing professional development.  It aims to develop in students an in depth knowledge and understanding of a variety of aspects associated with animal science, and the challenges and opportunities that animal science faces in making livestock production sustainable in the 21st century.  Using a series of interactive, online sessions and discussions, it examines key issues facing livestock production (producing healthy and safe animal based foods, using fewer resources, minimising negative environmental and health impacts associated with livestock production, while maintaining or enhancing the welfare status of the animal), and it explores the means by which advances in animal science may help to address these issues.  

This module can be taken as a stand alone module by students engaged in independent study and may be undertaken, without assessment, as part of an individual’s continuing professional development (CPD).  Students wishing to take the course as part of a CPD programme should ensure that they are enrolled on the CPD version of the module (APMA514).


To provide an in depth knowledge and understanding of the fundamental and applied science which may be used to address key issues associated with livestock production.  

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the key issues facing livestock production in the 21st century

  • Critically evaluate the challenges and opportunities facing applied animal science research in addressing these issues

Additional outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between fundamental and applied science

  • Use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on a given topic

  • Communicate research findings clearly

Demonstrate good academic practice in the use, citation and referencing of source material

Outline content:

Topics within this module will include:

  • Animal products and human health

  • Evaluation of animal product quality

  • Reducing the environmental footprint of livestock production

  • Addressing antimicrobial and anthelmintic resistance in livestock production

  • Precision livestock farming

  • Assessing ‘real welfare’

  • The role of the gut microbiome and the animal metabolome in livestock production and health.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials.  There will be a series of online discussions and exercises to support learning.  An online presentation by each student on the use of an aspect of animal science to enhance sustainable livestock production will form the basis of discussion at the end of the module, and form part of the assessment of the module

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Demonstration 20
Practicals classes and workshops 5
Guided independent study 75
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 70
Set exercise 30

Other information on summative assessment:

The module will be assessed by written coursework and a screencast/ online presentation.  The report will review the contribution that different scientific interventions can make to improve the sustainability of livestock production.  This would comprise 70% of the overall module assessment.  An online presentation (screencast) will be prepared that will evaluate the challenges and opportunities associated with one such intervention.  This will be uploaded for viewing by peers and academic staff as part of an online conference/discussion.  The presentation and the contributions made to the online discussion will comprise the remaining 30% of the overall module mark.

Formative assessment methods:

Online exercises and quizzes, and feedback and contributions from others in the online discussion fora will provide the basis for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:

Work that is submitted up to one calendar month after the submission deadline (and time) will be subject to a deduction of 10%.  Work that is submitted after one calendar month beyond the submission deadline will not be marked (unless extenuating circumstances have been agreed).

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:

A mark of 50% overall (weighted average of the coursework marks).

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-submission of coursework

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 18 August 2017

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