EXERSCI 202 : Principles of Tissue Adaptation


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Principles of adaptation in nerve, muscle, bone and other tissue that occur with increased use, disuse, or misuse including sports and exercise injuries. Coverage includes examples relevant to the maintenance of healthy tissues and the recovery and rehabilitation of tissue following injury or disease.

Course Overview

In this course, we explore mechanisms by which tissues in several major body systems change in response to movement and exercise. 

After completing this course, students will have an appreciation for what changes occur when the body moves or exercises, the specific stimuli that trigger these changes, and the internal processes that make the changes happen.

The course involves practical labs teaching measurement techniques used to observe body parameters involved in adaptation. A major coursework assignment is a literature review exploring an adaptation of the student's choice.

These topics are relevant for anyone interested in the effects of exercise on the human body, how to optimize outcomes, and avoid maladaptations. It is a useful additional course to complement other topics in the Exercise Sciences major, or as a standalone course for those from other departments and faculties who want to get a scientific of the effects exercise on the body.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points from MEDSCI 100-320 or BSc courses Restriction: SPORTSCI 202

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain tissue-level mechanisms by which movement and exercise cause changes to the human body, across a number of key tissue systems. (Capability 1 and 4)
  2. Identify common themes and interrelationships between adaptation mechanisms across different tissue systems. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  3. Search, analyse and synthesize the scientific literature about a topical tissue adaptation process (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Demonstrate practical skills and techniques to apply stimuli and measure body properties associated with tissue adaptation processes (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Preclass Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Laboratories 20% Individual Coursework
Literature Review 20% Individual Coursework
Test 10% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Preclass Quizzes
Literature Review
Final Exam


For more information and to find contact details for the EXERSCI 202 Tuākana coordinator, please see https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/science/study-with-us/maori-and-pacific-at-the-faculty/tuakana-programme.html.

Key Topics

The course is divided into five modules, each covering a major body system. These may be taught in a different order to that presented here.
Module - Nervous System
Functional and structural neuroplasticity associated with development, skill learning, and artificial stimulation of the brain and nerves.

Module - Cardiovascular System
Cardiac and vascular remodelling associated with different sorts of training, exercise, and sedentary behaviour.

Module - Skeletal System
Loading of bones by different activities, the structural properties of bones that accommodate such loading and the cellular mechanisms for detecting and remodelling bone under different activity conditions.

Module - Skeletal Muscle System
Cellular, microscopic, and functional adaptations of skeletal muscle and tendons in response to training, detraining and injury. 

Module - General Tissue & Metabolic System
Metabolic and tissue responses to physical activity and sedentary behaviour.

Special Requirements

This course involves laboratory work exploring methods for measuring properties of the body that adapt to exercise and movement. These labs are approved by University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 2019-02-12 for three years, reference number 023498/2019. Attendance and participation at labs is expected but students have the choice, in each lab, to act as either the participant or researcher. All students are encouraged to act as participants at some point during the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of classes, 3 hours in the laboratory (on appropriate weeks), 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content, and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required for labs to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings.
Labs will be available live online for those who are sick and have a legitimate reason for not attending in person.
Attendance on campus is not required for the test but will be for the final exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course content will be delivered via Canvas. Information required for this course will be presented directly on Canvas, in the pages associated with each class. You are expected to check Canvas regularly (multiple times per week) to check for message and new material. Please also ensure that all your personal details (phone numbers, email addresses, and street address) are correct and kept up-to-date on Canvas and Student Services Online.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

More information on support services available from the University can be found at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support.html. 

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the AUSA Welfare team (welfare@ausa.org.nz) for support. Furthermore, if you are comfortable doing so, please discuss your situation with the course director, who will provide assistance where possible.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

This course is run in accordance with principles of equity (as opposed to equality), recognizing that each student's circumstances, extra-curricular burdens, and needs are different. If you have circumstances that you think will affect your ability to perform or complete work in this course, please get in touch with the course coordinator so that we can identify ways to make the course work for you.

Key points:
  • Usually, reasonable requests made before the work is due (NOT retrospectively) will be granted. 
  • Proof may be required of the reason for the request (e.g. a medical certificate). This can be done through Student Health and Counselling Services (https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/student-health-counselling.html) as appropriate.  
  • Extensions can only be granted by the course director.  
  • Assignments that are handed in after the due date and time will receive a late penalty unless you have obtained an extension prior to the due date or subsequently prove circumstances outside your control prevented you from completing the assignment in time.
  • Assignment penalties will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

The following conditions will apply if normal teaching is disrupted by changes in COVID-19 alert levels.
 Level 1: Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode  
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person. All teaching and assessment will have a remote option. Labs will also have an on-campus option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely 

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 16/12/2020 02:34 p.m.