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BSc Optometry / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Personal & Professional Development A

Unit code OPTO10100
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Optometry
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit is the first step in a program which is followed by the student through all three years of their degree program. The “personal” development is based on transferable skills which support the academic curriculum, enhance the student’s CV and increase employability. “Professional” development is based on an understanding of the history and practice of the profession of optometry. There is also a medical ethics strand which discusses issues relevant to working in the healthcare environment. These will combine to give the student the opportunity to become a well-developed practitioner with excellent communication skills who is sought after by the best employers.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the history of optometry in the UK and the place of optometry and eye care within the NHS
  • Understand the legal basis of data protection and confidentiality of information
  • Understand why it is necessary to adapt communication methods to the situation and audience, and the techniques which can be used
  • Understand how best to present themselves to patients and employers
  • Be able to present a coherent argument verbally and in writing: to develop skills in essay writing, and summarising information into shorter formats.
  • Understand the concept of academic malpractice and the consequences of plagiarism
  • Understand how to carry out a targeted literature search, and store the results

Students should develop skills in:

  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Oral and written presentation and communication
  • Professional behaviour
  • Team and group working
  • Reflective practice


The unit is a combination of advisor driven sessions, lectures and mainly online materials. Learning experiences are split amongst the three themes:

Personal development

Adapting to university life, the use of libraries and revision techniques and reflecting on your own strengths and weaknesses. 

Where to get help if things go wrong.

How to carry out an employability skills audit. The benefits of volunteering and its role in gaining transferable skills. Reflective practice and self-assessment.

Plagiarism and academic malpractice

Understanding exam procedures; giving and receiving feedback; peer- and self-assessment and reflective practice;

Searching the literature: Referencing and Endnote

Writing skills and presentation techniques: delivering a talk (oral and Powerpoint techniques); patient communication.

Professional development

The evolution of optometry as a profession and definitions of professionalism.

The legal basis of optometry in the UK (The Opticians Act); optical bodies and their functions; evolution of optometry in the UK; the optical industry in the UK

The role of eyecare professionals in public health

Development and history of the NHS

Medical Ethics

Professionalism; patient communication; public understanding of science. Introduction to law and legal research; moral and legal principles of respect for individual autonomy; legal and informed consent; confidentiality.  Control of information: record keeping, data protection.

Assessment methods

Formative Assessment

Mid semester exam in Week 7 of Semester 1.

Feedback given on all questions attempted.

Summative assessment

100% coursework

Each semester has a number of key online assessments each of which must be passed in order for the student to obtain a passing grade. Online assessments are divided into those associated with writing and communication and those associated with other topics. Both sections must be passed to pass this module.

In addition there may be various compulsory elements (some of which are not credit rated) which must be passed in order to pass the module overall: Academic Plagiarism, attendance at Mid-Semester exam, and Clinical Methodology.


Feedback methods

Advisors provide feedback on each piece of coursework via Blackboard or in person

Recommended reading

Each learning experience has online reading resources provided.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Niall Mcloughlin Unit coordinator

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