PUB HLTH 1003 - Communication for Health Sciences

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2016

This course will be taught in intensive mode over one week, with online learning activities before and after. The course will be highly interactive and skills-based providing students with the opportunity to assess and improve their communicative competence(oral, written and interpersonal) through self and peer-assessment tasks and by using a variety of media for communication. During the intensive face-to-face week the students will work on a single extended health focus topic and work together in a scenario (a mock clinical practice guidelines committee) that replicates real-world decision-making in health care. Topics will include: basics of interpersonal communication and working in groups; giving & receiving feedback; psychology of communication; assessing communication skills by survey and observation; active listening and building trust and rapport; effect of power differentials in communication; seeking information from experts and consumers; verbal and non-verbal communication; identifying and overcoming communication barriers; group interactions, dynamics and decision making; intersectional collaboration and interdisciplinary communication; foundations of evidence-based practice and policy; developing answerable questions for evidence-based enquiry; developing search strategies (including advanced searching computer skills laboratory); hierarchies of evidence and critical appraisal; summarising and synthesising evidence; developing an evidence-based recommendation; developing dissemination plan; producing health information for different audiences & selecting appropriate media.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PUB HLTH 1003
    Course Communication for Health Sciences
    Coordinating Unit Public Health
    Term Summer
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Intensive & online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of undergraduate study
    Assumed Knowledge PUB HLTH 1001, PUB HLTH 1002, ANAT SC 1002, ANAT SC 1003
    Assessment Written assignment, group work, participation (in online activities) and practical activities
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Rebecca Tooher

    Course Coordinator: Dr Rebecca Tooher
    Phone: +61 8313 1316
    Location: Level 7, 178 North Terrace, Adelaide

    Learning and Teaching Team
    Phone: +61 8313 2128

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    The course is usually scheduled in Summer Semester Session 1(but this is subject to change and will not be confirmed until the  summer school timetable is published). The intensive week classes run from 9.30-5pm every day. Online modules and one assessment task need to be completed in the fortnight prior to the intensive week and online modules and 2 assessments in the  month after the intensive week. Students need to be able to commit to attending all of the intensive week.
  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 Demonstrate an understanding of how the psychology of communication impacts on interpersonal communication between individuals and groups
    2 Assess their own and others communication skills using structured assessment tools and observation of communicative encounters
    3 Demonstrate skills in active listening and in building rapport and trust in interpersonal communications
    4 Demonstrate an awareness of non-verbal communication skills and the effect of physical presence on effective communication
    5 Use effective interpersonal and written communication skills to: give and receive feedback; obtain information from peers, supervisors, consumers/stakeholders; persuade and argue for a course of action or a compromise between conflicting views
    6 Demonstrate an awareness of the factors influencing workplace behaviour and the interaction of people in workplace teams or groups
    7 Produce evidence-based information using a variety of media which is suitable for a general (consumer) audience
    8 Match the information needs of different audiences to the selection of media and the format of information produced
    9 Integrate learning from a number of disciplinary areas with evidence from various sources to deliberate about a health issue of national or international importance
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    7, 8, 9
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    7, 8, 9
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    2, 5, 7, 8
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    7, 8, 9
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    TEXTBOOK: Baden Eunson, W. Communicating for the 21st Century. Sydney: Wiley & Sons
    Either hard copy or e-book is acceptable. Purchase of the istudy guide is optional.

    The textbook is available to purchase from: Unibooks.

    JOURNAL ARTICLE: Hillier S, Grimmer-Somers K, Merlin T, Middleton P, Salisbury J, Tooher R, Weston A. FORM: An Australian method for formulating and grading recommendations in evidence-based clinical guidelines. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2011;11:23

    DOCUMENT: NHMRC: FORM Formulating recommendations in evidence-based clinical practice guidelines

    The journal article and NHMRC FORM document will be available on MyUni

    All learning resources will be provided through My Uni, as will all other course materials such as the course profile, notes for lectures, lecture recordings (where audio-visual equipment is available), tutorial activities, discussion board, quizzes, and assignment information and submission (where appropriate).

    Recommended Resources

    Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine 

    BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine Resources 

    Healthinsite Australian Government Health Information website 

    NHMRC Guidelines portal 

    Online Learning


    University information on computer laboratories and other computing services is available at:

    The Health Sciences computer laboratory, S118, is situated on the first floor of the Medical School South Building. Twenty-four hour access to computers is provided at the Barr Smith Library.

    Communication for Health Sciences makes lecture notes and other teaching aids available electronically to students, through MyUni.


    MyUni is the primary entry point to online learning at Adelaide University. MyUni provides students and staff with access to course materials, discussion forums, announcements, online and many other features to help manage your study or teaching. You can connect to MyUni on or off campus from an internet connected computer using a Web browser. The URL is: 

    Login to this resource using your Username and Password. Once logged on to MyUni, you will find the information displayed is customised to present only details relevant to you and the online content for courses that you are studying.

    For enquiries about online education services, what’s available and access, contact the Online Education Helpdesk:

    Phone: (08) 8313 3335


    The Helpdesk is available for extended hours during the week or through voicemail.

    In Communication for Health Sciences, you will use MyUni for a number of purposes:-

    Accessing announcements about changes in scheduling, course information etc.

    Accessing lecture notes both in pdf format and, if recording is possible in the allocated lecture theatre, in audio file format.

    Accessing online learning activities including self and peer-assessment tasks, discussion boards, blog posts, wikis

    Accessing online resources

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    Online; self-assessment of communicative competence and ICT literacy (specifically in the use of ICT tools for communication and research); online discussion; production of an online blog and peer assessment of other students’ work.

    Intensive week: Communication workshops consisting of short lectures and associated practical activities; Health focus activities including short lectures, discussion and opportunity for individual and group work; Health information activities including short lectures, practicals and opportunity for individual and group work.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    40 hours of face-to-face contact during the intensive week (5 x 8 hours/day) + 40 hours of online learning activities + 6-7 hours of reading & assessment preparation per week (spread over the fortnight prior to and the month following the intensive week, and the intensive week).

    Learning Activities Summary
    A detailed schedule of activites for the online modules and intensive week is available on MyUni.

    Specific Course Requirements
    There are no specific course requirements
    Small Group Discovery Experience
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Assessment Type Weighting Learning outcome(s) being addressed
    Participation Summative 10% 1-6, 9
    Health Communication Report Summative 15% 5, 9
    Interview Skills Assessment Summative 15% 1-5
    Group assessment Summative 30% 1, 3-7, 9
    Health information product Summative 30% 5-9
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Detail
    Participation 10%
    Student participation will be assessed through a combination of completion of online learning activities (the communication skills  audit and health focus poll and contribution to online discussions) and active involvement in all aspects of the week long intensive  including formative self and peer assessment tasks built into the learning activities.
    Health communication report (15%)
    In this written assignment of no more than 500 words you will analyse a piece of health communication and apply ideas from the  relevant chapters of the textbook to demonstrate your understanding of communication theory and application.

    Interview skills assessment (15%)
    You will work in groups of three to devise short interview schedules (maximum 2-3 questions per student) to question experts and  stakeholders regarding the health focus topic under investigation. Following a presentation and panel discussion from the experts  and stakeholders, groups will have the opportunity to individually interview their selected expert or stakeholder and the interview  will be videotaped for later evaluation (after the panel members have left). The groups will use self- and peer-assessment to  critique their interview technique and general communication skills and also to evaluate their success in obtaining useful  nformation. Marks will be awarded individually based on tutor assessment.

    Group assessment (30%)
    You will form into mock guideline development groups of 6-8 students each. You will use a nationally and internationally recognised  methodology and process (the NHMRC FORM process) to work systematically through the available evidence regarding the health  focus area in order to make a single evidence-based recommendation for practice and/or policy. The FORM process (used by  Australian clinical practice guideline development groups producing NHMRC endorsed national evidence-based clinical practice  guidelines) will enable groups to consider the evidence and the practical implications of the recommendation they make, as well as  integrating the information they have gathered from discussion with experts, stakeholders, patients, consumers and others.  Groups will be assessed both on the outcome of the activity (i.e. the evidence-based recommendation they devise) and the  process including documentation of the steps taken to reach their conclusions (presentation and synthesis of the evidence-base,  assessment of clinical or policy relevance, applicability to the local health care setting and generalisability of the evidence to the  population in question). Your group will also devise a dissemination plan for your recommendation. You will need to identify the  audience and appropriate mediums for getting your messages across (written, video, interactive etc.) and provide a rationale for your choices.

    Health information product (30%)
    The aim of this task will be to assess your ability to communicate complex health information in a way that is both comprehensible  and engaging for members of the public. This task will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of the health focus information you  have gathered, your ability to formulate information for the public that is both evidence-informed and accessible and to show your  creativity in the development of material in any format in which you judge you have competence. It will provide a showcase for  demonstrating your understanding of what is important in communication about health sciences. Alongside the information product  you will submit a production report of no more than 1000 words which shows how you developed the product and how it relates to the communication theory and skills you have gained in the course. An assessment rubric will be used to clearly delineate the  criteria for comparison of information products which may be written, audiovisual, slideshows, or using other social media. You will  be required to justify your choice of media. Students choosing to use social media or create a website must ensure that the final  product is a draft only and is not published live to the web.

    All extensions for assignments must be requested, at the latest, by the last working day before the due date of submission.   Extensions will generally be granted only on medical or genuine compassionate grounds.  Supporting documentation must be  provided at the time a student requests an extension.  Without documentation, extensions will not be granted.  Late requests for  extension will neither be accepted nor acknowledged.

    Only the Course Co-ordinator(s) may grant extensions.

    Supporting documentation will be required when requesting an extension. Examples of documents that are acceptable include: a  medical certificate that specifies dates of incapacity, a police report (in the case of lost computers, car & household theft etc.), a  letter from a Student Counsellor, Education and Welfare Officer (EWO) or Disability Liaison Officer that provides an assessment of  compassionate circumstances, or a letter from an independent external counsellor or appropriate professional able to verify the  student’s situation.  The length of any extension granted will take into account the period and severity of any incapacity or impact  on the student.  Extensions of more than 10 days will not be granted except in exceptional circumstances.

    Late submission
    Marks will be deducted when assignments for which no extension has been granted are handed in late.

    All assignments, including those handed in late, will be assessed on their merits.  In the case of late assignments where no  extension has been granted, 5 percentage points of the total marks possible per day will be deducted.  If an assignment that is 2  days late is awarded 65% on its merits, the mark will then be reduced by 10% (5% per day for 2 days) to 55%.  If that same  assignment is 4 days late, the mark will be reduced by 20% (5% per day for 4 days) to 45%, and so on.

    The School of Public Health reserves the right to refuse to accept an assignment that is more than 7 days late.

    Assignments submitted after the due date may not be graded in time to be returned on the listed return dates.

    Students submitting examinable written work who request (and receive) an extension that takes them beyond the examination  period are advised that there is no guarantee that their grades will be processed in time to meet usual University deadlines.
    If a student is dissatisfied with an assessment grade they should follow the Student Grievance Resolution Process  <>.  Students who are not satisfied with a particular assessment result should raise their concerns with Course Co-ordinator(s) in the first instance.  This must be done within 10 business days of the  date of notification of the result.  Resubmission of any assignment is subject to the agreement of the Course Co-ordinator(s) and  ill only be permitted for the most compelling of reasons.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

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    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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