MEDSCI 142 : Biology for Biomedical Science: Organ Systems

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester Two (1215) (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
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

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. 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
Laboratories 10% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 20% 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
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. 5/10), 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
To apply for an extension for quizzes, 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. Retrospective approval for an extension will be given only in exceptional circumstances. Except where the Course Coordinator has authorised an extension of time for the submission of 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.

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

At COVID Alert Level 1 or lower: 

  • 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 on campus is required for all tests and the final exam.

At COVID Alert Levels 2 or above: please refer section below on Learning Continuity.

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).

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.

156 students (12.0% of the class) completed the anonymous SET evaluations in 2020. 

Students found the following aspects of the course helpful for their learning: Despite the challenges of COVID-19, 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 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 and the overall organisation of the course.

Things that we intend to change as a consequence of student feedback:
  1. Labs / Online labs: your comments highlighted the educational benefits of in-person labs. We will continue to do our best to offer these, Alert Level permitting. Your comments also surfaced the fact that many students struggle with engaging with online labs. We will take this on board and if online labs are necessary going forward, we will do our best to make these videos and related activities more interactive. We will also explicitly remind students to not watch the lab videos passively.
  2. Lecturer introductions: your comments showed that you appreciated getting to know the lecturers as people. Going forward, we will make sure that we capture the lecturers' introductions on the recordings so that students who miss the in-person introductions can still 'put a face to the name'.
Things that we have considered but will not be changing:
  1. Amount of content: we accept that this 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 activities that explicitly align with the learning outcomes, as well as additional written summaries or tutorial videos that address key areas of concern/common misunderstanding as highlighted by your Piazza Tutors. The SET feedback suggests that students who engaged with these resources meaningfully and in a timely manner were able to keep on top of their studies.

Other Information

Please note that students requesting to (re)enrol in the course with a GPA < 2.0 will be required to first 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

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). 

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.

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 18/01/2021 01:58 p.m.