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BIOD123 Cells and Tissues - The Fabric of Life

Teaching organisation

6 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

Biomedical science is a vast discipline with the united aim of understanding the human body so that we can look after it, and therefore also includes areas such as pharmacology, pathophysiology, and biochemistry. To do this it is vital that the modern biomedical scientist develops a strong foundation in cellular biology. As the smallest unit of life, the cell underpins all functions of concern with the body. This unit aims to begin the development of a strong cell biology foundation by exploring the structure and function of cells, including how structure relates to function. In doing so they will consider how cells can combine and work together to form tissues, allowing for more complex processes to occur within the human body. This unit also focuses on developing students’ core scientific skills, including laboratory (e.g. micropipetting & microscopy) and communication skills. 

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
LO1Explain the relationship between cell structure and functionGC1, GC2, GC11
LO2Describe how cell specialization relates to formation and function of tissuesGC1, GC2, GC11
LO3Demonstrate competence in foundational biomedical laboratory practices and techniquesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC8
LO4Communicate scientific processes and results effectivelyGC7, GC11


Topics will include:

  • Structure and function of cells
  • Specialisation of cells
  • Relationship between cells and tissues
  • The scientific process
  • Foundational biomedical laboratory skills (e.g. microscopy and micropipetting)
  • Scientific communication

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This is a specified unit in the Bachelor of Biomedical Science course which will foster student-centred active learning and accommodate 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. Online recorded lectures provide asynchronous content delivery, while on-campus classes provide opportunities for skills acquisition and application. This unit has a strong focus on core biomedical laboratory knowledge and skills, which are crucial for later units within the program, and future employment in the field. Inquiry- and problem-based in-class activities encourage students to engage with the scientific process, developing critical thinking and autonomous learning skills.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to confirm that the unit learning outcomes and identified graduate capabilities have been attained.

Theory tests will assess student mastery of discipline knowledge covered in the unit. A communication task will allow students to demonstrate critical thinking and their ability to communicate scientific processes and results to a literate audience. The practical assessment provides students an opportunity to demonstrate competency in foundational biomedical laboratory procedures and techniques. These procedures and techniques represent essential knowledge and skills for all biomedical scientists. Students will be given three attempts to successfully complete the practical assessment.

In order to pass this unit, students must demonstrate achievement of every unit learning outcome. The practical assessment is the only task to assess learning outcome 3, and therefore, students must achieve a passing mark for this assessment, as well as 50% overall for the unit in order to pass.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Capabilities

Theory tests

Theory test A

An early, low-stakes test that requires students to demonstrate their understanding of foundational concepts.


Theory test B

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of the theoretical component of the unit.



(45% total)

LO1, LO2, LO4GC1, GC2, GC7, GC8, GC11

Communication task

Requires students to evaluate data and demonstrate their written communication skills at an undergraduate level. 


LO1, LO2, LO4GC1, GC2, GC7, GC8, GC11

Practical Assessment

Enables students to demonstrate (i) competence in essential laboratory skills and (ii) basic understanding of associated technical knowledge.


LO3GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8

Representative texts and references

Alberts B, Hopkin K, Johnson AD, Morgan D, Raff M, Roberts K, et al. Essential cell biology. 5th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2019.

Ovalle W, Nahirney P. Netter’s essential histology: with correlated histopathology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2020.

Tortora GT, Derrickson B, Burkett B, Cooke J, DiPietro F, Diversi T, et al. Principles of anatomy and physiology. 3rd Asia-Pacific ed. Milton (Australia): John Wiley & Sons Australia; 2022.

Urry LA, Meyers N, Cain ML, Wasserman SA, Minorsky PV, Reece JB, et al. Campbell biology. 11th ed, Australian and New Zealand version. Melbourne (Australia): Pearson; 2018.

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