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BIOL125 Human Biology 1 , BIOL126 Human Biology 2 , BIOD125 Human Biology 1 , BIOD126 Human Biology 2

Teaching organisation

Teaching and learning approaches will include online videos (lectures), small group work (workshops/science laboratory activities), guided online activities (web-based learning), lecture chats (consolidation of content) and self-directed study. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.

Unit rationale, description and aim

To function successfully as a health professional, it is essential that one has a thorough understanding of the principles of anatomy and physiology in the healthy human. This fundamental knowledge then underpins the development of an extended understanding of anatomy and physiology in the individual's chosen profession. This unit introduces students to the normal structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) of major body systems; and the principles of pharmacology and microbiology. Using the guiding principle of homeostasis, the contribution of each organ system to maintenance of health is explored. The aim of this unit is to provide a firm basis for further studies of the human body in health and disease.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Describe how the structure of cells and tissues are related to their roles within selected organs and organ systemsGC1, GC9
LO2Describe how the structure of selected organs and organ systems relates to their functionGC1, GC9
LO3Explain the contributions of selected organ systems in maintenance of homeostasis within the body and thus healthGC1, GC9


Body organisation

  • Anatomical/Directional terminology
  • Body regions, body cavities

Cell structure and function

  • Cell membrane
  • Selected organelles
  • Genes and genetics



  • Structure and function
  • Location


  • Principles
  • Role of body systems


Body defences

  • Introductory principles of microbiology
  • Integumentary system structure and function
  • Lymphatic system structure and function
  • Immune system structure and function


Nervous system

  • Structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Nerve physiology


Musculoskeletal system

  • Principles of movement and support
  • Basic anatomy of bones and bone metabolism
  • Basic structure and function of the three types of muscle tissue


Endocrine system

  • Structure and function
  • Overview of selected glands and their hormones
  • Hormone action


Cardiovascular system

  • Cardiac and vascular structure and function
  • Regulation of heart rate and blood pressure
  • Components of blood and haemostasis

Respiratory system

  • Structure and function
  • Ventilation, gas transportand gas exchange


Renal system

  • Structure and function
  • Renal regulation and urine formation
  • Fluid and electrolyte balance


Gastrointestinal system

  • Structure and function
  • Digestion, absorption and metabolism


Principles of pharmacology

  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics
  • Routes of administration


Reproductive system

  • Structure and function
  • Conception
  • Pregnancy
  • Maternal changes

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit fosters student-centred active learning and accommodates diverse student needs. It includes a combination of self-paced, online learning and real-time classes. Early and additional feedback on learning, and tailored support, are provided to facilitate students’ transition to university.

The self-paced online learning activities include structured learning activities, weekly knowledge quizzes; relevant links to external material such as YouTube videos, and formative activities directly related to workshop material. This format has proven very popular with many students, who appreciate the opportunity to approach and review the material in a variety of ways.

Active participation and questioning of content are encouraged to assist you to develop an increasingly complex and integrated understanding of human anatomy (structure) and physiology (function). The real-time classes reinforce key concepts introduced in the self-paced, online learning activities and offer a more intimate opportunity to engage with the material. Peer learning strategies are routinely employed in the real-time teaching environment; facilitation of group work by staff allows you to work with other students to construct a greater understanding of the content.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit is generally taken as a first-year unit. Many students have come straight from secondary school and are adjusting to the increased freedoms and responsibilities that come with university learning. The assessment strategy is designed to assist students to reach their learning outcomes in a stepwise fashion; encouraging them to work consistently throughout the semester. Early feedback is provided so students can seek assistance if required and no assessment task is so heavily weighted as to preclude the possibility of passing the unit if one task is failed.

The first quiz is relatively low stakes, being of low weighting and assessing only the first few weeks of material. Feedback is provided quickly, allowing students to gauge their progress and to seek early assistance if required. The second quiz builds on this, being of a higher weighting and assessing more content later in semester. 

The oral assessment task allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the structure and function of a specific organ or structure in relation to normal function of the human body. As take-home assessment task, the oral assessment provides an opportunity for students who tend to underperform in exam conditions to shine. In addition, more complex questions can be raised as students have several weeks to think about and read around the topics being questioned.

The final exam allows students to demonstrate their integrated understanding of the anatomy and physiology of all body systems. Feedback from earlier assessments is important for students to develop their understanding of human anatomy and physiology in preparation for this task.

Formative assessment is also provided throughout the semester in the form of weekly knowledge quizzes and guided online learning activities. Opportunities to practice exam type questions are incorporated into small-group and lecture chat activities, so that students gain insight into staff expectations of answers to these kinds of questions.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve a final grade of 50% or more to demonstrate achievement of all learning outcomes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment 1: Quiz A

Enables students to display their early understanding of fundamental concepts in human anatomy and physiology.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment 2: Quiz B

Provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate their integrated knowledge of the anatomical and physiological workings of the healthy human body.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment 3: Oral presentation

Allows students to show their understanding of the structure and function of a specific organ or structure in relation to normal functioning of the human body.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment 4: Written Examination

This task enables students to display their knowledge of the anatomical and physiological workings of the healthy human body.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Knights, K. M., Darroch, S., Rowland, A. & Bushell, M. (2023). Pharmacology for health professionals (6th ed). Elsevier Australia.

Bullock, S., & Manias, E. (2022). Fundamentals of pharmacology (9th ed). Pearson Australia

Hall, J.E., & Hall, M.E. (2021). Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (14th ed). Elsevier.

Lee, G., & Bishop, P. (2016). Microbiology and infection control for health professionals (6th ed.). Pearson.

Marieb, E.N., & Keller, S.M. (2021). Essentials of human anatomy & physiology (3rd ed.). Pearson.

Martini, F.H., Nath, J.L. & Bartholomew, E.F. (2018). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (11th Global ed.). Pearson.

Saladin, K.S., Gan, C.A., & Cushman, H.N. (2021). Anatomy & physiology: The unity of form and function (9th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Sherwood, L. (2016). Human physiology: From cells to systems (9th ed). Cengage Learning.

Tortora, G.T., Derrickson, B., Burkett, B., Cooke, J., DiPietro, F., Diversi, T., Dye, D., Engel, A., Green, H., Macartney, M., McKean, M., Peoples, G., & Summers, S. (2022). Principles of anatomy and physiology (3rd Asia-Pacific ed.). Wiley.

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