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BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 , BIOL122 Human Biological Science 2 , BIOL124 Human Body in Health and Disease 1 , BIOL204 Human Body in Health and Disease 2 ,

Unit rationale, description and aim

To work in the health professions, it is essential that you understand how the human body functions. Knowledge of appropriate medical terminology is also necessary for health professionals to communicate with each other and with the communities in which they work. In addition, you may be enrolled into professional degree programs that require development of particular knowledge and attributes for accreditation purposes.

In this foundation science unit, you will learn about the structure and function of the human body, including the different types of cells and tissues, and the ways that they combine to form organs, and how this integration allows the body to carry out its functions. In this unit, you will apply this knowledge to understand the structure and function of the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems; including how the morphology and/or function of these systems change across the lifespan. Successful acquisition of knowledge in this unit is required in order for you to proceed to discipline-specific units in your courses.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the external and internal structures of the body and explain how they relate to each other by using anatomical, directional and medical terminology appropriately (GA4; GA5; GA8)

LO2 - Demonstrate how the body works with particular emphasis on the contribution of the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems to homeostasis (GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9);

LO3 - Explain how cells communicate and discuss how cells, tissues and organs of the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems work together to carry out their functions (GA4; GA5; GA8; GA9);

LO4 - Explain how the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems develop and change through the lifespan by linking structure with function at various life stages (GA4; GA5; GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • The way the body is organised, from cells to systems
  • How cells, tissues and organs work and what they do in the body
  • How the body maintains homeostasis
  • An introduction to inheritance
  • Selected organ systems: their components, interactions and control, function, role in maintaining homeostasis, and changes across the lifespan
  • The nervous system
  • The musculoskeletal system
  • The cardiovascular system
  • The respiratory system 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach with lectures, interactive workshop and online LEO activities that run before and at the end of each topic. The pre-class activities allow students to build the foundational knowledge necessary to successfully undertake each week’s learning activities and (by self-evaluating their understanding) to identify areas of uncertainty prior to the workshops. The workshops will build on the foundational knowledge acquired through the lectures and LEO activities. Further online activities at the end of each week will assist students to consolidate their learning. This approach allows students to work at their own pace to gain familiarity with the concepts and applications and supports revision and integration of the various topics as the unit progresses. Lectures allow in-depth exploration of concepts and applications relevant to the students’ future professions while workshop classes make students explore the structure and functions of the human body in a supported environment. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills of the structure and function of the human body, and support development of academic literacy. Students are provided with early feedback so they can seek assistance if required; no one assessment is so large as to preclude the possibility of passing if they fail it, and a variety of tasks are provided to suit different learning styles. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome.

Online quizzes: The first assessment is an online quiz; this is of low weighting, open book, and assessing only the first few weeks of material. Feedback is provided quickly, allowing students to gauge their progress, and to seek assistance if they wish. The second quiz builds on this and has higher weighting because it covers more content. Both Quizzes provide in-semester feedback as to the progression of the student's understanding and application of key concepts.

Written assessment: this task requires students to produce a piece of academic writing. The assessment encourages students to integrate their knowledge of the anatomical and physiological workings of various body systems of a healthy human body.  

Written Exam: Having been provided with feedback from the earlier assessments, students should now be able to demonstrate their understanding of the anatomy and physiology of all relevant body systems, by addressing short answer questions in a written examination that assesses integration and application of key concepts of all topics covered.

Formative assessments are also provided throughout the semester. These are in the form of topic ‘feedback quizzes’; these are online, multiple-choice quizzes that present questions similar to those that will be on the assessed tests. Opportunities to practice short answer questions are also incorporated into online group teaching activities, so that students gain insight into staff expectations of answers to these kinds of questions.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Weekly formative quizzes to promote active learning and student engagement. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assignment 1: Quizzes

Part A: Online quizzes

The online open book quiz enables students to gauge their progress early in semester.

Part B: Closed Book Quiz

This quiz enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the systems covered at the time of assessment. 


(Part A:10%;

Part B: 25%)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assignment 2: Written assessment

This task enables students to demonstrate their understanding of the foundations of BIOL125 and the application of fundamental concepts.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assignment 3: Written examination

This task enables students to apply their knowledge of key concepts related to all the body systems discussed.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Hall, J. E., & Guyton, A. C (2016). Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (13th ed.); Sanders, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Marieb, E. (2015). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology (11th Global ed.) Pearson, San Francisco, CA, USA.

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

Ovalle, W.K. & Nahriney, P.C. (2013). Netter’s essential histology. (2nd ed.) Elsevier/ Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Saladin, K., S., Sullivan, K.S., & Gan, C.A. (2015). Anatomy & physiology: The unity of form and function (7th ed.) McGraw Hill, New York, NY, USA.

Sherwood, L. (2016). Human physiology from cells to systems (9th ed.) Cengage Learning, Boston, MA, USA.

Stanfield, C.L. (2018). Principles of Human Physiology (6th Revised Global ed.) Pearson, Harlow, Essex, UK.

Tortora, G., & Derrickson, B. (2011). Principles of anatomy and physiology (13th ed.) Pearson, Hoboken, NJ, USA.

Tortora, G.T., Derrickson, B.H., Burkett, B., Dye, D. Cooke, J., Diversi, T.Peoples, G. (2016). Principles of anatomy and physiology (1st Asia-Pacific ed.) John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Qld, Australia.

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