EXERSCI 305 : Movement Neuroscience


2022 Semester One (1223) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines brain and spinal cord organisation and function related to movement, and the neurological mechanisms involved in the planning, execution and control of movement in health and disease. Introduces the concept of neural plasticity as it relates to motor skill learning and recovery after injury in both healthy and neurologically impaired populations. An understanding of human anatomy at the level covered in EXERSCI 103 will also be assumed.

Course Overview

This course explores the neurological mechanisms involved in the planning, execution and control of movement in health and disease. Students will acquire a comprehensive understanding of neuroscience relating  to control of human movement and be able to communicate the courses core concepts at a level appropriate for experts and non-experts. The course structure is designed to develop skills such as communication, time management, critical thinking and problem-solving which will transfer to workplace environments as well as postgraduate study and research.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from EXERSCI 201, 205, MEDSCI 206, 309, 320, PSYCH 202, SPORTSCI 201 Restriction: SPORTSCI 305

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe and explain the degrees of freedom problem as it pertains to the control of movement. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  2. Identify, explain and evaluate the main elements of the central and peripheral nervous system dedicated to controlling movement along with their strengths and limitations (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Identify and critically evaluate the various sources of sensory information that are used to control movement and posture and how they are integrated within the CNS (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  4. Describe, identify and explain the most common neurological symptoms that affect movement, their neural origin and the rehabilitation approaches that address them (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  5. Identify and critically evaluate the prevailing theories about how movements are controlled (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Describe and explain neural plasticity and the levels within the CNS which it occurs to acquire motor skills or recover from neurological disease or injury (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 25% Group & Individual Coursework
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Term Test 25% Individual Test
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Term Test
Final Exam


Exercise Sciences has a dedicated Tuākana space at the City Campus 301-183 [1], which consists of several personal computers, a collection of prescribed textbooks of Exercise Sciences courses, personal study and relaxing areas with access to shared kitchen facilities. Tuākana programme students enrolled in any Exercise Sciences course are most welcome to make use of these facilities, not only to support their learning but also to build whanaungatanga [2]. If you have questions about Tuākana please contact the Exercise Sciences Tuākana coordinator - Waruna Weerasekera,  w.weerasekera@auckland.ac.nz. If there is interest from the students, we will establish an EXERSCI 305 Tuākana community with sessions to share course-related experiences.
[1] https://maps.auckland.ac.nz/wayfinding?type=poi&selectedLocation=1000021002
[2] https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/academic-learning-support/tuakana.html

Key Topics

The Course is organised around 6 Themes.
1. Degrees of freedom
2. Neural elements of the motor system
3. Sensory contributions to movement control
4. Neurological conditions and movement rehabilitation
5. Theories of movement control
6. Motor learning and re-learning after injury or disease

Within each theme, there are a number of concepts that have predefined learning outcomes in Canvas Seminar pages, Assignment instructions and/or Study Notes. Weekly seminars normally review four - six concepts. Seminars are supported by recorded summaries of key content, study notes and handouts, all of which are made available via CANVAS.

Special Requirements

The midterm test will be held in the evening on a day that may not coincide with the seminar.

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 24 hours of online lectures, 12 hours of in-class seminars, 48 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 36 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs & seminars to complete components of the course.
Lecture material will be available in advance as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars will be available in person and as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for several quizzes, all labs, and both the mid-semester and final exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning 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.

All reading material is available through links on CANVAS / via the University Library.

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.

You will be offered an intuitive and flexible platform to undertake SET at a time and place that suits you. Key improvements have been made to EXERSCI 305 this year as a result of feedback from previous years.

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.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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

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.

Each student's circumstances, extra-curricular burdens, and needs are different. Deadlines are helpful to maintain consistent workload throughout the semester, to help manage marking loads for the teaching team, and to enable timely feedback. If your personal situation affects your ability to perform or complete work by the due dates 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 [1]
Extensions can only be granted by the course coordinator.
[1] https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/student-health-counselling.html

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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 09/11/2021 10:38 a.m.