MEDSCI 142 : Biology for Biomedical Science: Organ Systems

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Introduction to human biology with particular emphasis on integrated organ function. The course will deal with: structures and processes associated with the function of the nervous, locomotor, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, endocrine, musculoskeletal and reproductive systems.

Course Overview

This course will introduce you to the structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) of human organs. In the time available it is not possible to cover all organ systems, or all parts of each system. The lecturers, who know their own fields well, decide which parts of a system to cover and in what detail. They will choose topics that are interesting and important, and those that form a useful basis for further study. You should always use your lecture notes as a guide on what to read in the textbook, and what to focus on for assessments.
The practical laboratories in this course are designed to complement the lecture classes and enhance your learning/understanding of particular organ systems. In addition, the course will provide opportunities for you to develop your intellectual, cognitive and practical skills, and to practise communicating your knowledge and understanding with fellow students, the academic faculty and the community. 
It will help you plan and evaluate your own progress toward achieving your academic, personal and professional goals.

Course Requirements

Restriction: HUMANBIO 142

Course Contacts

Please contact Angela Tsai in the first instance for any general queries relating to the course.

Miss Angela Tsai - Course Coordinator
Professional Teaching Fellow  
DDI: +64 9 923 1552  

Mr Peter Riordan - Course Coordinator
Senior Tutor
Phone: +64 9 923 5177

Dr Fiona McBryde - Course Director
Senior Lecturer

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain in depth the importance of particular organ systems. (Capability 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
  2. Explain how any imbalance can affect health and lead to disease. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
  3. Use and develop your intellectual, cognitive and practical skills to complete the learning and assessment activities. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  4. Communicate your knowledge and understanding as a future healthcare and/or scientific professional with fellow students, the academic faculty and the community. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  5. Plan and evaluate your own progress towards achieving personal and professional goals. (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Laboratories 20% Individual Coursework
Online activities 10% Individual Coursework
Tests 40% Individual Test
Final Exam 30% Individual Examination
Piazza discussions (formative) Group & Individual Coursework
Mock test (formative) Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Online activities
Final Exam
Piazza discussions (formative)
Mock test (formative)
The requirement to pass the laboratory component separately
It is a requirement to pass the laboratory component (i.e. 10/20), in addition to achieving an overall pass mark for the course (i.e. 50%), in order to pass the course as a whole.

The requirement to pass the theory component separately
It is a requirement to pass the theory component (i.e. 40/80), in addition to achieving an overall pass mark for the course (i.e. 50%), in order to pass the course as a whole.

Late submission of quizzes/online activities
Approval for an extension will be given only in exceptional circumstances. To apply for an extension for quizzes/online activities, students need to contact the Course Coordinator and supply appropriate documentation (e.g. doctor’s certificate/collaborating note from a counsellor) before the due date. Please note that your application is a request only, and it should not be assumed that an extension will be granted. Except where the Course Coordinator has authorised an extension of time for submitting student work, late quiz participation will not be possible.
Please retain a timestamped screenshot of your quiz results as evidence of timely submission.

Adjustments to assessment weightings and processes for online learning
In the event that assessments are moved online by the university, the course reserves the right to make adjustments to the assessment weightings and related processes. Please refer to the Course Guide and Canvas for details.

Clash with General Education course not permitted
Your General Education course should not conflict with your lecture or lab classes in MEDSCI 142. In the event that your clashing General Education course holds an assessment at the same time as a compulsory element in MEDSCI 142, restreaming requests will not be accommodated. Therefore, you should choose your General Education course carefully to ensure there is no clash.

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. Please note that this 150-hour guideline does not consider

  • diverse student ability/differences in processing and learning speeds; 
  • the extent of prior disciplinary knowledge/solidity of foundation pre-knowledge;
  • differences between cognitively passive or active learning approaches;
  • the level of attainment likely to be achieved with this level of time investment (C- pass vs A-range grades)

For this course, you can expect 35 hours of lectures, 15 hours of labs (6 x 2.5 hours), with the remaining 100 hours (minimum) to be invested in reading and thinking actively about the content, working on assignments and/or test and exam preparations. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

  • The lecture and practical activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable. Attendance is expected at scheduled activities. Students need to attend and engage fully in labs in order to complete/do well in the laboratory-related assessment tasks.
  • Technology permitting, lecture recordings will be available. Other learning activities, including labs, will not be available as recordings.
  • The course will not include live online events (e.g. live group discussions/tutorials).
  • Assessments: Attendance in-person and on-campus is required for all tests and the final exam. For planning purposes:
    Test 1 is always held on the Monday of Week 7: i.e. Monday 9th September 2024, 6:30 PM - approx. 8 PM
    Test 2 is always held on the Friday of Week 12: i.e. Friday 18th October 2024, 6 PM - approx. 7:30 PM
    The Final Exam is timetabled centrally, with time and date TBA by mid-September each year. Students are expected to be available throughout the official exam period - see 

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.

Self-directed learning is an important aspect of this course. Students are expected to prepare for classes by reading specified sections from the recommended textbook or other sources, and self-manage time so that activities are completed in a timely fashion.

The recommended text is Tortora & Derrickson “Principles of Anatomy and Physiology”, Asia-Pacific 2nd or 3rd edition. 
Lecturers assume that every student has access to a copy of the text, but you don’t have to buy your own copy if you don’t want to. We recommend that you borrow a copy from the University’s many libraries and see first-hand if you find it useful before making your decision: 
  • Hard copy textbook (includes Interactive E-Text Code): ISBN 9780730392002
    Available from ubiq (university book store): 
  • Interactive E-Text:
    2nd ed. ISBN 9780730354987 Available via Wiley Direct
    3rd ed. ISBN 9780730392002 Available via Wiley Direct
This is an excellent textbook. It will be valuable in later years if you intend to continue with biomedical courses. Older editions may be bought second-hand and will be quite satisfactory, but page references given during lectures will refer to the current edition. 
For lecture topics that are well-covered in the text, only brief notes and diagrams will be provided in this Course Guide. The lecturer will probably use images of textbook diagrams and will refer to specific passages in the book which all are examinable. Information in the text and course guide will not be duplicated on Canvas (the University’s Learning Management System).

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester 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 and respond with summaries and actions.

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

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

In 2023, 112 students (9.6% of the class) completed the anonymous SET evaluations.

While the low participation rate cannot be considered representative, we are nonetheless delighted by how interesting, informative and intellectually challenging some students found the course to be. Being passionate about our topics and about teaching, the lecturers are gratified to know that the way we presented the material to students made it engaging and inspired students to learn. We are also pleased that students felt well-supported by the wide range of available and accessible resources, the overall organisation of the course, and that students felt well-informed on how their learning would be assessed.

Your feedback has highlighted the value of in-person labs and the areas of the course where students need more support in accessing and mastering the content.  We accept that MEDSCI 142 is a demanding course, however all the knowledge covered is requisite for your future studies. To help students unpack/focus on the key points, lecturers have provided post-class concept check activities that explicitly align with the learning outcomes for each class. We will explicitly instruct future cohorts to consider using these under closed-book conditions, as to help identify knowledge gaps in a timely manner. Lecturers and Piazza Tutors will continue to actively and regularly provide students with guidance and feedback on Piazza, as will the in-lab teaching assistants. We will also discuss your suggestions in our future teaching planning meetings.

Other Information

Please note that students can enrol in the course a maximum of two (2) times. Students who believe they have grounds for requesting to repeat the course for a third time must undergo an interview process and obtain written support from both the course and the relevant Faculty.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

You are warned that you are not allowed to collaborate with anyone during the assessment period. The work you submit must be your own and reflect your own understanding and knowledge. You cannot submit work with help from other people during the assessment period. If we are aware of any alleged misconduct, we will investigate thoroughly. Be warned this will cause delays in getting your results back, and the whole process is generally unpleasant for everyone.

All instances where there is evidence of academic misconduct in coursework, tests or an examination will be dealt with under the provisions of the Student Academic Conduct Statute [].

Confirmed breaches of academic integrity and academic misconduct incidents are recorded on the University’s Register of Academic Misconduct. Furthermore, the course will also directly report the outcomes of the investigation to the Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and the FMHS Clinical Admissions Subcommittee.

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.

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

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

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

We will use your performance in other comparable pieces of assessment, conducted under similar conditions, to evaluate your likely attainment in the affected assessment. Please note that ‘performance’ does not simply mean the mark achieved. The evaluation will involve correlational and other analyses, taking into account the relative difficulties of the assessments, nature of tasks/skills assessed, etc.
Please note that in order for examiners to recommend aegrotat or compassionate consideration adjustments, you must establish a record for other comparable assessments, conducted under similar conditions, that are well above the minimum pass standard (normally C+ or above). 
In line with the spirit of the Calendar regulation 12 h (i) [], no more than one major in-course assessment may be awarded an aegrotat or compassionate assessment (see the course guide for further information).

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

Every student must comply with Statutes, Regulations, Rules and Policies. Breaches will be dealt with according to the Statute for Student Discipline:


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.