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BIOD125 Human Biology 1 , BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 , BIOL122 Human Biological Science 2

Unit rationale, description and aim

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

In this foundation science unit, students 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. The aim of this unit is to enable students to apply this knowledge to understand the structure and function of the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems including how these systems change across the lifespan. Successful acquisition of knowledge in this unit is required to proceed to more specialised and/or discipline-specific units in your course.

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
LO1Describe the external and internal structures of the body and explain how they relate to each other by using appropriate anatomical, directional and medical terminologyGC1, GC9
LO2Demonstrate how the body works with particular emphasis on the contribution of the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems to homeostasisGC1, GC2, GC9
LO3Explain how cells communicate and discuss how cells, tissues and organs of the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems work together to carry out their functionsGC1, GC2, GC9
LO4Explain how the musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous systems develop and change through the lifespan by linking structure with function at various life stagesGC1, GC2, GC9


Topics will include:

  • Body organisation; from cells to tissues to organ systems
  • How cells, tissues and organs work, and their functions in the body
  • How homeostasis is maintained
  • 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 interactive lecture chats, workshops and online learning activities. The online learning activities allow students to build the foundational knowledge necessary to successfully meet the learning outcomes and (by self-evaluating their understanding) to identify areas of uncertainty prior to workshop classes. Workshops will build on the foundational knowledge acquired through these activities. 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. Online learning activities allow in-depth exploration of concepts and applications relevant to the students’ future professions whilst lecture chat and workshop classes enable students to 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 is provided to suit different learning styles. The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome.

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 the first quiz and has higher weighting because it covers more content. Both quizzes provide students with timely feedback regarding their understanding and application of key concepts.

Written assessment: In this task students will produce a piece of academic writing. The assessment assists students to integrate their anatomical and physiological knowledge of various body systems in the healthy human body. 

Written Exam: Students will have an opportunity 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 all topics.

Formative assessments are also provided throughout the semester. These are in the form of weekly knowledge checks and online learning activities. Opportunities to practice questions are incorporated into small group and lecture chat activities, so students can gain insights regarding the various question types and model answers.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve a final grade of 50% or more to demonstrate achievement of all learning outcomes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Capabilities

Knowledge checks to promote active learning and student engagement.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4GC1, GC9

Assignment 1: Quizzes

Part A: Online quiz

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, LO4GC1, GC2, GC9

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, LO4GC1, GC2, GC9

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, LO4GC1, GC2, GC9

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. Keller, S.M. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology (12th 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., & Nahirney, P.C., (2020). Netter's essential histology (3rd ed.) Elsevier/Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, USA..

Saladin, K., S., Gan, C.A. & Cushman, H.N.. (2021). Anatomy & physiology: The unity of form and function (9th 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.T., Derrickson, B.H., Burkett, B., Peoples, G., Dye, D., Cooke, J., Diversi, T., McKean, M., Summers, S., Di Pietro, F., Engel, A., Macartney, M., & Green, H. (2021). Principles of anatomy and physiology (3rd Asia-Pacific ed.) Wiley.

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