MEDSCI 142 : Biology for Biomedical Science: Organ Systems

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester Two (1205) (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

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: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Explain in depth the importance of particular organ systems. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Explain how any imbalance can affect health and lead to disease. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Use and develop your intellectual, cognitive and practical skills to complete the learning and assessment activities. (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  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, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Plan and evaluate your own progress towards achieving personal and professional goals. (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Practical 10% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 20% Individual Coursework
Test 40% Individual Test
Final Exam 30% Individual Examination
Piazza discussions (formative) Group & Individual Coursework
Mock test (formative) Individual Coursework
Post class Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Final Exam
Piazza discussions (formative)
Mock test (formative)
Post class

Students must pass the practical / laboratory component separately in order to pass the course as a whole. There is no requirement to pass the theory component separately.

Learning Resources

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 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: 
  • Textbook with Interactive E-Text Code: ISBN 9780730363538
    Available for $176.63 NZD from ubiq:
  • Interactive E-Text: ISBN 9780730354987
    Available for $75 AUD 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 which 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).

Course Contacts

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

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

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

A/Prof. Roger Booth
Course Director
Phone: +64 9 923 6475

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. 

Other Information

For other frequently asked questions, please see

Please note that students requesting to (re)enrol in the course with a GPA < 2.0 will be required to firstly seek and receive academic advice before being permitted to enrol in the course. The purpose of this is to make sure that (a) students are pursuing in a degree / major that is right for them; and that (b) students are well equipped to make the most of their studies. 

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 are required to undergo an interview process and obtain written support from both the course and the relevant Faculty.

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.

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 at

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.

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.

2019 SET evaluations (12.8% of enrolled students responded)

Students found the following aspects of the course helpful for their learning: We are delighted by how interesting, informative and intellectually challenging 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 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, and the overall organisation of the course.
Things that will be changing in 2020 as a consequence of students' feedback on what can be improved:
  1. Individual lecturers will be considering and taking on board the comments they have received on their SETs (e.g. Prof. Paton will change his slides and Prof. Curtis will be updating his diagrams).
  2. Labs with rotating stations that require students to take more ownership of the learning (e.g. Reproduction, Respiratory): we will look into ways of helping students to prepare for these labs, and review how the Lab Demonstrators and Tutors may better facilitate the learning at the rotating stations.
  3. Lab 6 (Musculoskeletal) will undergo changes to make it more relevant to the lectures and easier to understand.
  4. Content heavy: we accept this is a demanding course, however all the knowledge covered is requisite for your future studies. To help students unpack/focus, all lecturers will make an effort to produce an end-of-topic summary that highlights key areas / common misunderstandings. We will also work on updating the lectorial videos, making these more succinct and uploading these immediately after each topic has finished.
Things that we have considered but will not be changing:
  1. Small group tutorials / office hours / meet-ups: these are not currently possible owing to resourcing, timetabling and space constraints. Going forward, we will remind students to maximise their interactions with Lab Demonstrators and Tutors, and remind students that they can set up their own study groups. 
  2. Request for more revision MCQs / Test 2 practice test / wanting weekly quizzes to be re-opened after submission deadlines: these resources are already available to students. The weekly quizzes are the same as the post-topic MCQs (PDFs on Canvas and on Piazza). Instead of wanting ‘more’ MCQs, it is more valuable if you take the time to determine whether each of the five options within a MCQ is true or false, and justify why with correct facts. When you receive a copy of your exam back, you will see the relevance of this skill in a number of questions (e.g. Respiratory Physiology & Digestive Systems).
  3. Course guide-related comments (e.g. want more white space to write on, leaky ink etc.): these have been addressed in the meetings with class reps.

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 (


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 09/07/2020 09:08 a.m.