Course Title: Animal Structure and Function

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Animal Structure and Function

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022

Course Coordinator: Nathan Bott

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7143

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Bundoora campus 223.1.48

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is an introductory course requiring no formal prerequisites, but students will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at the VCE level will be an advantage. You will also benefit by having knowledge and understanding of cells and their functions, as shown by completion of BIOL2146 Cell Structure and Function, an equivalent course or provide evidence of equivalent capabilities.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to animal (mainly mammalian) structure and function. It provides an overview of the major systems of the vertebrate groups with an emphasis on mammals, especially humans.

Topics covered will include:

  • Cells, tissues and organs in vertebrates
  • Physiology of muscles, nerves, digestion, respiration, excretion, circulation, reproduction and hormones of mammals with reference to other animal systems
  • A brief overview of aspects of the comparative anatomy of vertebrates
  • Histological preparation of tissues for microscopic examination

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

1 Understanding science

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

5.1 You will be accountable for individual learning and scientific work by being an independent and self-directed learner.

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 this course, you should be able to:

  1. Illustrate and understand histological sections for microscopic examination
  2. Explain the structure and function of the major organs systems in mammals
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the terminology used to describe animal structure in widely divergent animal groups
  4. Dissect, examine and illustrate organs in a wide variety of animal organisms
  5. Identify organs and determine function of organs in a wide variety of animal organisms
  6. Develop an understanding of comparative anatomy of vertebrates

Overview of Learning Activities

Overview of learning activities for on-campus students:

The course consists of weekly pre-recorded lectures, and practical classes that will be run throughout the semester.

Independent study is an essential part of this course. As well as study related to the lectures, this will include research and preparation for the written submissions and oral presentation, preparation for practical classes and discussions.

It is recommended that you attend and participate in all scheduled teaching sessions. Formal teaching sessions are available only at the times specified and cannot be repeated. You are expected to spend time out of classes reviewing theoretical and practical material in textbooks, journals and on the internet, preparing self-directed learning exercises and writing reports.

Oral and written student evaluation of the course will be formally solicited and considered annually by the Program Team in course and program review.

Overview of learning activities for Open University Australia (OUA) students:

In this course you will be encouraged to be an active learner. Access to course learning materials will be via Canvas, including written materials, lecture recordings, live webinars, podcasts and other relevant resources.

Your learning will be supported through various in-class and online activities, which may include individual and/or group work. These may include quizzes; assignments; prescribed readings; sourcing, researching and analysing specific information; solving problems; conducting presentations; demonstrating your work; producing written reports on set tasks or projects.

Overview of Learning Resources

Overview of learning resources for on-campus students:

Learning material required for this course (including textbook, practical manual, practical answer booklet, tips for scientific drawing and dissection videos) are available through the Canvas site.

Overview of learning resources for Open University Australia (OUA) students:

You will be able to access course information and learning materials through myRMIT. Lists of relevant reference texts, resources in the library and freely accessible Internet sites will be provided.

The course is supported by the Canvas learning management system which provides specific learning resources.

Overview of Assessment

Note that:

Please note that this course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment 1: Practical assessments (50% total) (submitted after each practical)
- Weighting 25%: Practical report submission and in prac assessments
- Weighting 15%: Written practical assignment
- Weighting 10%: Practical Test (online test (not MCQ) in the practical laboratories)
This assessment supports 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Assessment 2: Online quizzes (10% total)
- Lecture quizzes, weighting 10% (4 tests at 2.5% each)
This assessment supports 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6

Assessment 3: Theory Assessment
Weighting 40% (2 assessments at 20% each)
This assessment supports 2, 3, 5 and 6