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BIOL124 - Human Body in Health and Disease 1, BIOL125 Human Biology 1 , BIOL126 Human Biology 2 , BIOL128 The Human Body , BIOL204 Human Body in Health and Disease 2

Teaching organisation

Teaching and learning strategies will include lectures, tutorials, web-based learning and science laboratory activities. 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 individual. 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 functioning of major body systems; microscopic, regional and systemic anatomy and physiology; and the principles of pharmacology. 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.

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

LO1 - Relate the structure and function of cells and tissues to their roles within selected organs and organ systems (GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Describe how the structure of selected organs and organ systems relates to their function (GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Explain the contributions of selected organ systems in maintenance of homeostasis within the body and thus health (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO4 - Explain the principles of pharmacology, in relation to different methods of drug administration (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

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

GA10 - Utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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 uses an active learning approach to support students in their development of an increasingly complex and integrated understanding of human anatomy (structure) and physiology (function). Students are expected to engage in both lectures and small group classes each week.

Active participation and questioning of content is encouraged to assist students in their acquisition of essential knowledge to understand human structure and function. The workshop classes reinforce key concepts first introduced in lectures and offer students a more intimate opportunity to engage with the material. Peer learning strategies are routinely employed in the small group teaching environment; facilitation of group work by staff allows students to work together to construct a greater understanding of the content. 

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

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 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 assessment task is so heavily weighted as to preclude the possibility of passing if a student fails it, and a variety of tasks are provided to suit different learning styles.  

The first assessment is an online quiz; this is relatively low stakes, being of low weighting, open book, and assessing only the first 2 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, 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. The written task (based around a case study), further encourages students to integrate their knowledge of the anatomical and physiological workings of the healthy human body. Having been provided with feedback from earlier assessments, students are able to address any misunderstandings and conceptual difficulties to show that they have now met these learning outcomes.

As take-home assessment tasks, both the oral and written assessment provides an opportunity for students who tend to under-perform 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.

Formative assessment is also provided throughout the semester. This is in the form of weekly ‘feedback quizzes’; these are online quizzes that take questions from past exam papers. Opportunities to practice short answer questions are incorporated into small group 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

Assignment 1 Quizzes

Part A: Quiz A

Online open book quiz requiring students to display their understanding of key fundamental concepts

Part B: Quiz B

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



(40% in total)

LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assignment 2: Oral presentation

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. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assignment 3: Written Assessment

Case study requiring students to demonstrate their integrated knowledge of the anatomical and physiological workings of the healthy human body


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9,GA10

Representative texts and references

Bryant, B., & Knights, K. (2019). Pharmacology for health professionals (5th ed). Elsevier.

Bullock, S., & Manias, E. (2017). Fundamentals of pharmacology (8th ed). Pearson.

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. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy & physiology (12th ed.). Pearson.

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

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

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