EXERSCI 708 : Advanced Seminar in Movement Neuroscience


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Seminar based course which examines brain organisation and function related to movement in health and disease. Emphasis is placed on contemporary techniques and paradigms in the field of movement neuroscience, with special emphasis on clinical populations that exhibit impaired movement. Neural plasticity is a central theme.

Course Overview

This course examines brain organisation and function related to movement in health and disease by critically appraising the methodology and interpretation of recent advances in movement neuroscience. Students are expected to have an undergraduate-level understanding of neuroscience. In this course students will  of the current state of knowledge be exposed to contemporary issues in movement neuroscience and be asked to communicate the main findings at a level appropriate for experts and non-experts in this area. The course structure is designed to develop skills such as communication, time management, critical thinking and problem-solving which will transfer to various workplace environments and postgraduate research.

Course Requirements

Restriction: SPORTSCI 708

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply and critique contemporary research topics in movement neuroscience. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  2. Describe, analyse and consider signal-dependant noise in universal laws of movement. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Describe and explain the role of inhibition in human motor cortex in shaping voluntary movement (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Explain and communicate the characterisation of imagery and its affect on primary motor cortex excitability. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Identify and explain the role of primary motor cortex in voluntary movement and through non-invasive brain stimulation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Describe and explain the neurophysiology underlying the cognitive control of action and free will. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  7. Describe and compare differences between psychogenic and organic motor symptoms, and how the two forms can be dissociated experimentally. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  8. Describe and discuss reorganisation across the neuroaxis after spinal cord injury and the implications for recovery and rehabilitation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  9. Recognise, explain and apply neurophysiological basis of muscle synergies and their clinical management after stroke. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  10. Describe, identify and explain the neurobiological factors that underpin spontaneous neural reorganisation underlying cerebral palsy and stroke and its implications for recovery and rehabilitation. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Seminar Participation 30% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 30% Individual Coursework
Assignment 20% Individual Coursework
Written Test 20% Individual Test
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Seminar Participation
Written Test

Key Topics

The course covers pertinent  topics to movement neuroscience including, but not limited to:

  • The Organisation of Movement
  • Non-invasive stimulation techniques
  • Motor Cortex Function 
  • Motor imagery 
  • Exercise, Motor Cortex Plasticity and Skill Learning 
  • Cognitive Control of Action 
  • Basal ganglia and Functional Neurological Disorders 
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Muscle Synergies 
  • Recovery after Stroke

Special Requirements

This course is a blended learning course, with learning and teaching delivered using both face-to-face and online activities provided via Canvas. The online component is compulsory and is designed to enhance understanding of important concepts which provide the basis for discussions held during in-class learning and teaching sessions.

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 each week of this course, you can expect 3 hours of in-class seminars, 3 hours of reading and critiquing content, and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation. For presentation of  a seminar research article, each student will be required to read around the assigned paper.

For presentation of an assigned research article, each student will also be required to read around the assigned paper. This information will provide a base for the student to better identify key limitations and strengths of the paper, but also demonstrate an understanding about whether the study findings are complimentary or contradictory with the literature. The work dedicated for each presentation will benefit the student’s own understanding of the topic, but also their peers who will rely on the content and delivery of the presentation to better understand the reading.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including seminars to complete components of the course.
Presentations will be available as recordings. 
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for seminars and exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

All reading material and recorded summaries are available through links on Canvas and/or via the University Library.

Additional Resources available from the library:  

  • Kandel ER, Schwartz JH, & Jessel TM. Principles of Neuroscience, 4th or 5th Edition. 
  • Rothwell, J. 1994. Control of human voluntary movement.

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.

The content, delivery and organisation of EXERSCI 708 has been continually refined on the basis of student feedback provided over the past 20 years.

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

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.

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.

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. 
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 29/01/2021 09:59 a.m.