Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


BIOL124 Human Body in Health and Disease 1 OR BIOL125 Human Biology 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

A thorough knowledge and understanding of how the human body functions, in particular the nervous system, is essential to those contemplating a career in biomedical sciences. Students will learn the basic structure of the nervous system and its related functions. An introduction to the organisation of the human nervous system and brain at the molecular, cellular and systemic levels will be taught. Basic concepts in neuroscience such as communication within and between neurons, sensory perception motor control, memory, mental health and addiction will also be covered.

The aim of this unit is to develop student's understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system, including the role of the nervous system in emotion, behaviour and selected disorders.

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 - Identify and describe the functions of the major cells and anatomical structures of the nervous system and brain (GA 5, 7, 8)  

LO2 -  Explain the mechanisms of higher brain processes such as cognition, memory, language, emotion and pain, (GA 4, 5, 8, 9) 

LO3 - Describe and explain how the physiological processes involved in sensory and motor control of the central and peripheral nervous systems (GA 4,5,7,8,9) 

LO4 - Analyse the neurobiological mechanisms underlying addictive behaviours, emotions and related disorders (GA 4, 5, 7, 8, 9) 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

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

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


Topics will include: 

  • Overview of the structure and function of the nervous system 
  • Structure and function of key areas of the brain, brainstem, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system 
  • Structure and function of neuronal cells 
  • Resting membrane potential and action potentials (communication within neurons) 
  • Communication between neurons 
  • The special senses (vision, hearing, taste, smell and balance) 
  • Coordinated function of the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and basal nuclei in the control of movement, posture and balance (including the roles of vision, balance and proprioception) 
  • Higher brain functions: memory, language, emotion/personality, pain 
  • Mechanisms of disease: personality and mood disorders, addiction, and other related disorders 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach because this approach best supports students in their development of an increasingly integrated understanding of nervous system structure and function.   

Active participation and questioning of content is encouraged during the lectures; assisting students in acquiring the essential knowledge to understand how nervous systems works. The practical and classes reinforce key concepts first introduced in lectures and offer students a more intimate opportunity to engage with the material. 

In addition to the formal classes, this unit further supports student learning by providing online material through LEO platform. This includes formative quizzes, relevant links to external material such as YouTube videos, and additional learning activities.   

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy is designed to assist students to reach their learning objectives in a stepwise fashion, so they are encouraged to work consistently through semester. Students are provided with early feedback so that they can seek assistance if required. No single assessment is so large that a poor performance in it does not preclude the possibility of passing the unit overall. There are also a variety of types of assessment tasks which suit different learning outcomes.  

In order to successfully complete this unit, students must obtain an aggregate mark of equal to or greater than 50% for these three assessment tasks. 

Online quiz: The first assessment is an online quiz; this is relatively low stress being open book. The quiz provides in-semester feedback as to the progression of the student’s understanding and application of key concepts, and to seek assistance if they wish.

The written assessment (second assessment) requires students to produce a piece of academic writing, exhibiting their developing critical thinking skills. They will need to integrate information from various topics covered in the first 6 weeks. As a take-home assessment, it provides students who tend to underperform in exam conditions a chance to improve their overall performance. In addition, more complex questions can be raised as students have several weeks to investigate the topics being questioned. 

The final assessment task is the end-of-semester examination, which will assess integration and application key concepts covered in this unit.    

Formative assessments are also provided throughout the semester. These are in the form of 1) ‘topic feedback quizzes’, which are online multiple-choice questions, and 2) practice short answer questions incorporated into live classes, 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

Formative assessments: to promote active learning and student engagement.



GA4, GA5

Online, open book quiz: requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the neuroscience covered at the time of assessment.


LO1, LO2 

GA4, GA5

Written assessment: this take-home assessment enables students to apply knowledge learnt in classes 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

End-semester written examination (online quiz on LEO): enables students to use critical thinking skills to demonstrate their knowledge of basic principles on topics in neuroscience covered through the semester


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

  1. Fitzgerald MJT, Gruener G., Mtui E. Clinical Neuroanatomy and Neuroscience. 6th ed. London: Saunders-Elsevier; 2012. 
  2. 2.Kandel E, Schwartz J, Jessell T, Siegelbaum S, Hudspeth A. Principles of Neural Science. 5th ed. New York: Mc Graham Hill Edition; 2012. 
  3. 3.Schmidt RA, Wrisberg C. Motor Learning and Performance: A Situation Based Learning Approach. 4th ed. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics Books; 2008. 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs