Communication in Disease Emergencies

Subject VETS50004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

August, Parkville - Taught online/distance.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 08-Aug-2016 to 30-Sep-2016
Assessment Period End 14-Oct-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 18-Aug-2016
Census Date 26-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Approximately 10-14 hours per week over an 8-week period
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Simon Firestone



Subject Overview:

During emergency situations, effective public communications have been shown to be of crucial importance. Gaining public trust and co-operation during any emergency is a function of ensuring that the right messages are targeted at the appropriate times to the right audiences using the most appropriate media channels. Specifically, in animal disease emergencies, public co-operation is required to maximise good biosecurity and gain maximum compliance with disease management efforts.

This subject will use lecture notes and study materials to educate students on the basics of communications planning, including determining communication objectives, identifying target audiences, messages and media. Practical sessions will expose them to media interview techniques and the drafting of media releases.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject, students will have gained:

  • A basic understanding of the process of drawing up a communication plan
  • Experience in working with the media, including drafting of press releases and conducting media interviews
  • An appreciation of the need to communicate effectively during an animal disease emergency

Student progress is monitored through class exercises and case studies. Two assessment tests will be conducted in Weeks 4 and 6. The final examination is a two-hour written and online exam held in Weeks 9 and 10. Students will be required to arrange an appropriate venue (e.g. a nearby university) to sit this assessment under supervised examination conditions.

The assessment components are as follows:

  • Individual assignment due during the study period worth 10%
  • Group assignment due during the study period worth 15%
  • Weekly online group activity participation worth 15%
  • A two-hour written examination held at the end of the study period worth 60%
Prescribed Texts:

Students will use a reading list of scientific articles from the current literature, which will be provided online.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:

  • Ability to identify communication needs
  • Ability to manage communications effectively

Reliable internet access with at least a medium speed connection and a personal computer are essential for undertaking this online program. The content is accessed through your web browser. Microsoft Officeâ„¢ and Adobe Acrobat Reader or equivalent software packages are necessary for assessment tasks, assignments and some class exercises.

Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)
Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)

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