Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Food Animal Metabolism and Management in the Circular Economy (cod. 5814)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students know the key performance indicators, the main interconnections between sustainable/circular agriculture, productivity and animal welfare. They are able to evaluate and discuss the consequences of different farming methods and animal management techniques on sustainability/circularity, productivity, animal welfare and health. They are able to assess existing farming systems and propose corrective strategies.

Course contents

The course unit will explore the interconnections between circular/sustainable agriculture, animal management and production, focusing mostly on pigs, cows and small ruminants. Three central questions will be addressed:

  • What are the relationships between productivity, animal health and welfare, and environmental impact? (main topics: efficient use of resources, emissions, drug use, waste management, Life Cycle Assessment)
  • How do different farming methods and management techniques relate to circularity and sustainability? (main topics: sustainable development goals, organic farming, resilient animals, reduced antibiotic use, innovative technologies, precision livestock farming)
  • How can different farming systems affect (actual and perceived) product quality? (main topics: product claims and voluntary labelling)

During the practical activities (carried out throughout the course), students will work in groups on selected topics and countries of their interest (to be agreed upon at the beginning of the course) in order to prepare different kinds of outputs: (posters, presentations, policy briefs, etc.). They will learn:

  • to analyse and evaluate specific productive contexts/farming systems/practices;
  • to propose corrective strategies in terms of the system’s sustainability/circularity;
  • to retrieve literature and prepare adequate outputs for the intended audience.

Formative assessment will be provided via interactive polls and guided discussions (at the end of each topic).

Attending lectures (either online or in class) will facilitate individual study/learning and students will benefit from interactive polls, discussions, and group works. Active participation to classes and group works will also be evaluated as part of the final grade. Students choosing not to attend will be able to retrieve the presentations and the reading list in the institutional repository. Classes will not be recorded.

Learning outcomes of the integrated course: At the end of the integrated course, students know, the key performance indicators, the main interconnections between sustainable/circular agriculture and productivity, are able to evaluate different farming methods in terms of sustainability/circularity, productivity, animal welfare and health for the considered farmed species (poultry, fish, ruminants and swine).


Recommended reading: Environmental impact of agro-food industry and food consumption / edited by Charis M. Galanakis, London; Cambridge (MA) : Elsevier Academic press, 2021, XV, 293 p.; 28 cm, ISBN 9780128213636. https://sol.unibo.it/SebinaOpac/resource/environmental-impact-of-agrofood-industry-and-food-consumption/UBO7540023

Due to the scarcity of specific textbooks, the reading list/bibliography will be mostly based on scientific papers and online resources. An updated list of bibliographic sources (divided in compulsory, recommended, and in-depth readings) will be made available in the institutional repository.

Teaching methods

  • Blended teaching (in class and online)
  • Structured and guided group assignments
  • Peer instruction during discussions and group assignments

Students with disabilities or special needs requiring adaptations, accommodations, and modifications to the teaching materials and methods should express their needs to the teacher at the beginning of the course.

Assessment methods

The final grade of the course unit will be determined as follows:

  • Written test and follow-up discussion (85% of the final grade). The written test will last 1h and will assess the theoretical knowledge and the ability to evaluate and discuss different farming methods). It will include 20 multiple choice questions (1 point each) and 5 short essay/open-ended questions (2 points each). No points will be subtracted in case of wrong answers. The use of calculators is allowed during the written test. The follow-up discussion will allow the Candidate to comment on the wrong answers.
  • Practical activities (15% of the final grade). Active participation to classes, outcomes of the group and individual assignments will be evaluated.

The teacher will guarantee at least 6 exam sessions per year.

Students with disabilities or special needs requiring adaptations, accommodations, and modifications to the examination should express their needs to the teacher at the beginning of the course.

Evaluation scheme:

  • 18-19: with some help from the teacher, the student can recall the main theoretical aspects.
  • 20-24: the student shows knowledge of the theoretical aspects and can autonomously analyse the scenarios presented (in class or during the written exam), generally using correct language.
  • 25-29: the student can express a reasoned judgment on the scenarios proposed, using specifies examples, making use of specific technical language.
  • 30-30L: the student can make connections between different topics, can discuss and argument his answers and critically assess the presented scenarios, properly using the terminology and the bibliographic sources. The Candidate is able to propose corrective strategies when necessary.

Final grade of the integrated course and digital record:

  • The final grade of the integrated course will be calculated as a weighted mean. The grades obtained in the three course units will be weighted on the corresponding credit points.
  • Digital records, filled in using the AlmaEsami system, will be completed by the Chair of the Examination Board (Eleonora Nannoni). Upon completion of the three final tests/exams, students should send her an e-mail indicating the need for digital recording.

Teaching tools

  • Teaching slides, integrated with online polls (Vevox)
  • Videos, online sources, and reading list (Virtuale platform: https://virtuale.unibo.it/)
  • Collaborative, freely accessible tools (e.g., Miro boards, Wonder virtual space) for group assignments

Office hours

See the website of Eleonora Nannoni


Zero hunger Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.