Course Title: Concepts in biology

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term2 2017

Course Code: BIOL5217

Course Title: Concepts in biology

School: 174T School of VE Engineering, Health & Science

Campus: City Campus

Program: C3305 - Certificate III in Science

Course Contact: Namrita Kaul

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4309

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff


Nominal Hours: 50

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

There are no pre-requisites for studying in this course

Course Description

This course covers the skills and knowledge required to investigate the major concepts in biology and their basic application.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

VU20929 Concepts in biology


1 Explain the Basic Building blocks for Life

Performance Criteria:

1.1 The characteristics of living and non-living things are compared 1.2 The structures within different types of cells are identified and their function described 1.3 The differences between plant and animal cells are explained 1.4 The process of cell reproduction is explained 1.5 The sources of energy and the processes cells use to obtain and use energy are explained


2 Explain the Classification of Living Things

Performance Criteria:

2.1 The characteristics of organisms within kingdom classifications are compared 2.2 The lower levels of classification are explained 2.3 Keys are used to classify living things


3 Describe the Interaction of Living Things

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Features of ecosystems are described 3.2 The flow of energy through ecosystems is described 3.3 The relationships between members of ecosystems are described 3.4 The adaptations of living things to their surroundings is described

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course students will be able to:
• explain the structure and function of cells
• explain sources and use of energy
• explain the classification of living things
• explain functions of ecosystems

Details of Learning Activities

Learning activities include:
Laboratory experiments
group work
theory classes

Teaching Schedule

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

There are no prescribed texts considering the length of the course, but it is of great benefit to have available for home study throughout the course (New, Library-Sourced or Second-hand): a copy of: 

Kinnear, J. et al., (2006) Nature of Biology - Book One, Jacaranda. 2nd, 3rd or 4th Edition

Evans, B. et al (2006) Biology One,Heinemann, 3rd or 4th edition  
There are newer additions but they might be harder to source and contain much the same information.

John and Hank Green on YouTube

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course may include Worksheets, Practical reports, Assignments and Tests

Assessment Tasks


 Assessment task Date Value
 Classification: practical data collection 20/7/2017 15%
 Photosynthesis practical participation 24/7/2017 S/NYS
 Photosynthesis practical report 6/8/2017 25%
 Poster/Presentation 13 & 14/8/2017 10%
 Theory exam 24/8/2017 50%



Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Assessment Information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also utilise graded assessment

CHD Competent with High Distinction (80 – 100%)
CDI Competent with Distinction (70 – 79%)
CC Competent with Credit (60 – 69%)
CAG Competency Achieved – Graded (50 – 59%)
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for assessment


  • To pass the course you need to pass, on average, each type of assessment (exams, pracs, and assignments etc.) For example, if there are two exams you need to have an average of 50% to pass and you also need to have passed the other assessment types. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the exams but fail the prac component)
  • A minimum of 80% attendance at practical classes is required to pass this course. If you are sick you should submit a medical certificate to 6th floor office addressed to the Program Coordinator. If you miss a practical class that is a prac report write up you need to provide a medical certificate (or other evidence) and arrange an alternative report with your teacher
  • Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension (see below) will not be corrected.
  • APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF ASSESSABLE WORK - A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available online at least 24 hours before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51. Students requiring longer extensions must apply for SPECIAL CONSIDERATION.
  • For missed assessments such as exams- you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged online with supporting evidence prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination


Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data and oral presentation. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited. It also occurs through enabling plagiarism, which is the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work. Please make sure you consider this carefully in completing all your work and assessments in this course and if you are unsure about whether you might have plagiarised, seek help from your teacher. 


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