Course Title: Plant Structure and Function

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Plant Structure and Function

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:




Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2021,
Sem 1 2023

Course Coordinator: A/Prof Nitin Mantri

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7152

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 223.1.61

Course Coordinator Availability: Appointments by Email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is an introductory enabling course requiring no formal prerequisites, but you will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at VCE level will be an advantage.

Course Description

This course is intended as an introduction to plant structure and function and has a vocational focus. It introduces the student to the morphology and anatomy of plants (how they are constructed) and to the physiology of plants (how they work, in particular, the process of acquisition of water and ions, photosynthesis, and control of growth and development). The aim of the course is to provide knowledge and understanding in plant science for future employment in biotechnology, agricultural, horticultural and environmental areas. Students study the structure and function of plants, especially higher plants. The topics of photosynthesis, water relations, ionic relations and nutrition, and plant growth and development are related to structure, ecology and survival, especially under stress. Students are guided through the course by structured lectures preceding relevant practical classes in the laboratory or in the field to achieve competence in technical skills. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program learning Outcome (PLO)

  • PLO 2. Scientific knowledge

    2.1 You will be able to demonstrate a coherent understanding of biological science by explaining the role and relevance of biological sciences in society.

    PLO 3. Inquiry and problem solving: 

    3.1. You will be able to critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by gathering, synthesizing and critically evaluating information from a range of sources.

     3.3. You will be able to critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by selecting and applying practical and/or theoretical techniques with technical competence in conducting field, laboratory-based, or virtual experiments.

     3.4.You will be able to critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by collecting, accurately recording, interpreting, and drawing conclusions from scientific data.

  • PLO 5. Personal and professional responsibility:

    5.2. You will be accountable for individual learning and scientific work by working effectively, responsibly, ethically, and safely in an individual or team context.


On successful completion of the course you should be able to 

  1. Explain the structure of plants, including their tissues and organs, and the functions of each
  2. Explain the way in which plants take in water and mineral nutrients, transport them to sites where they are used and metabolise them to allow the plant to survive and grow. 
  3. Explain the process of photosynthesis and the way in which the products are used and translocated by the plant both locally and throughout the plant 
  4. Explain the mechanisms by which plants regulate growth and development, and the economic applications of this knowledge, including tissue culture 
  5. Conduct experimental work, analyse the data and draw appropriate conclusions 
  6. Demonstrate knowledge and use basic information services available in the library, including computer-based services, e.g. catalogues, databases, to find specific information relevant to topics. 
  7. Interpret statistics (Minitab) in written reports and use computer applications  for word-processing (Word), spreadsheet/database/graphics (Excel) 
  8. Demonstrate ability to write adequate practical reports in standard biological format.

Overview of Learning Activities

The students will be guided through the course by structured lectures preceding relevant practical classes in the laboratory or in the field to achieve competence in technical skills. Regular online quizzes will both revise and strengthen knowledge and understanding and tutorials will be run on demand to increase depth of understanding. The normal modes of teaching will be about 1-2 hours of recorded lectures followed by 2-3 hours of practical work, but this will be varied according to the educational objectives for the topic. Feedback on knowledge and understanding of the material is achieved by participation in practical classes and self-directed computer-assisted learning exercises, e.g., quizzes on the Learning Hub. Tutorials will be conducted informally as the need arises. Lectures give overviews of the knowledge and concepts while practical classes and the reports arising from them give the opportunity to apply them and to test understanding. Quizzes give the opportunity to self-test understanding and application of the concepts before their formal assessment. Discussion forums on Canvas give the opportunity to exchange views with other students and for peer-assisted learning. 

Students have the roles of active learners and are responsible for attending and actively participating in all planned student learning experiences, i.e., lectures and practical classes; reading all relevant references pointed out during planned student learning experiences; and undertaking such other private study as will benefit their learning towards the objectives of the course. Although no minimum attendance is required, students must be aware that sessions are available only at the times specified and cannot be repeated. In addition, most students would find that regular attendance at planned student learning experiences is needed to achieve the necessary standard to pass this course and to complete the assessment associated with them. 

Helpful feedback you will receive on your progress and performance during this course includes the following: marks for practical reports, tests/quizzes (both hand- and computer (Canvas-marked), comments (oral and written) on individual and class performance in tests, assignments, practical proficiency etc. Students seeking further feedback should approach the Course Coordinator by making an appointment using the course coordinator’s email address in Staff Information on Canvas. 

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (Including appropriate journals) and freely accessible Internet sites. Other material will be provided in class. Students will be able to access course information and learning material through the Studies tab on myRMIT. 

Other Resources 

The Canvas pages have copies of documents used during scheduled classes, including the lecture and practical notes. There are also external websites of interest.

Overview of Assessment

Note that: This course has no hurdle requirements. 

Assessment tasks 

Assessment item 1: Online quizzes

Weighting: 15%

This assessment supports

CLOs 1,2,3,4,6,7. 


Assessment item 2: Practical reports

Weighting: 35% 

This assessment supports CLOs 1 to 8.


Assessment item 3: Online Tests

Weighting: 50% 

This assessment supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4, 6