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BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational Therapists require a sound understanding of human anatomy in order to assess and manage client needs. The knowledge and skills gained in this unit will form the basis to learn about occupational therapy assessment and intervention later in the course. Students will study, through practical and applied learning, the foundational anatomical and functional basis of the human body’s structure and function.  This unit will develop students’ knowledge of human musculoskeletal structure and function relevant to understanding typical movement and form the foundation for analysis of occupational performance. 

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 structures of the musculoskeletal system; including bones, joints, muscles, nerves and vessels. (GA 5,9)

LO2 - Describe the function of major muscle groups of the upper and lower limbs, trunk, head and neck in selected activities (GA 5,8) 

LO3 - Using correct anatomical terminology, analyse everyday body movements by describing the joints, muscles and nerves involved, and infer functional outcomes resulting from damage or disorder (GA 8,9)

Graduate attributes

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 

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018 developed within this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1 - Professionalism 

An occupational therapist practises in an ethical, safe, lawful and accountable manner, supporting client health and wellbeing through occupation and consideration of the person and their environment. 

An occupational therapist: 

1.1  complies with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s standards, guidelines and Code of conduct 

1.7 collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice 

1.9 identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice 


Standard 2 - Knowledge and learning 

An occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in practice are informed by relevant and contemporary theory, practice knowledge and evidence, and are maintained and developed by ongoing professional development and learning. 

An occupational therapist: 

2.1 applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice 

2.9 maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies 


Standard 3 - Occupational therapy process and practice 

An occupational therapist’s practice acknowledges the relationship between health, wellbeing and human occupation, and their practice is client-centred for individuals, groups, communities and populations. 

An occupational therapist: 

3.7 reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decision making


Standard 4 - Communication 

Occupational therapists practise with open, responsive and appropriate communication to maximise the occupational performance and engagement of clients and relevant others. 

An occupational therapist: 

4.1 communicates openly, respectfully and effectively 

4.10 seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly,

4.11 identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others



Topics will include:

Introduction to Anatomical Terminology

  • Anatomical referencing system

Peripheral nervous system

  • Overview of nervous system, neurons and peripheral nerves
  • Innervation of representative muscles and regions of the body

Structural and functional features

  • Skeletal articular system
  • Muscular system
  • Major vascular system structures
  • Surface landmarks

Regional Structure and Function

  • Head, vertebral column, axial musculature and posturing
  • Pelvis, Lower limb and gait 
  • Upper limb, hand function and grasp

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of learning with a combination of face-to-face lectures and interactive face to face tutorials. Tutorials incorporate small group, collaborative learning with students engaging in activities utilising anatomy teaching tools These activities are coupled with whole group theoretical discussions of the content around each of the main body regions studied. 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. The teaching and learning approaches employed in this unit helps students to develop lifelong learning and problem-solving skills that are beneficial for successful professional practice.    

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit aims to develop student's foundational knowledge of the structures and processes relating to typical movements of the human body. Assessment 1 enables students to demonstrate their factual and conceptual understanding of foundational anatomical knowledge (LO1, LO2) and their ability to apply it to various functional activities (LO3).  It also incorporates assessing their ability to communicate these concepts effectively in written communication.  It allows students to gauge their own personal learning mid-way through the semester.  Assessment 2 tasks students with locating and naming as well as effectively communicating their understanding of normal function through a spot t test. Students work independently to identify, and name pinned or presented structures (LO1, LO2) and then answer a range of general to applied questions related to those items (LO3). This assessment helps them build on their foundational knowledge and challenges them to apply their understanding. Assessment task 3 is an exam comprised of multiple choice questions and extended response questions  This final task allows students to demonstrate their understanding of both the foundational functional  anatomy (LO1, LO2) and their ability to apply it to various functional activities  (LO3), it also incorporates assessing their ability to communicate these concepts effectively in written communication.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Mid Semester Test. Enables students to demonstrate their ability to identify and understand key terms, structures and their related functional processes.




End Semester Spot Test: Enables students to identify relevant regional structures and apply their understanding of the foundational functional anatomy to normal presentations.




End Semester Final Exam. Enables students to demonstrate their ability to identify key terms, structures and understanding of functional anatomy as it applies to normal everyday movement cases or processes.




Representative texts and references

Abrahams, P.H. (2013) McMinn’s Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy, (6th Ed), Mosby.

Kapit, W. & Elson, L.M. (2014). The Anatomy Colouring Book (4th Ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings Publishing Company.

Levangie, P. K., & Norkin, C.C. (2005) Joint structure and function: A comprehensive analysis (4th ed.). Philadelphia: FA Davis Co.

Martini, F.H., Nath, J.L.,& Bartholomew, E.F. (2015). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (10th ed.). Pearson. 

Moore, K.L.,Agur, A & Dalley, A.F. (2015). Essential clinical anatomy (5th ed.). Baltimore: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Palastanga, N. and Soames, R. (2012) Anatomy and Human Movement, (6th Ed), Butterworth-Heinemann 

Tortora, G.J., & Derriskson, B. (2006). Principles of anatomy and physiology (11th ed). New York: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

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