Skip to main content
Unit of study_

BIOS1166: Neuroscience I: Communication Disorders

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study introduces fundamental concepts of nervous system structure and function. Anatomy of the brain and spinal cord is studied using models. The physiological component of the unit will cover topics such as the generation of a nerve impulse or signal, basic mechanisms of spinal reflexes and the function of the somatosensory system. Students will also be introduced to the anatomy and physiology of the autonomic nervous system and motor pathways. Case studies aimed at identifying simple neural problems associated with sensory and motor systems are specifically designed for students undertaking professional preparation degrees. Practical class attendance for this unit is compulsory.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BIOS1166
Academic unit Department of Medical Sciences
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Damian Holsinger,
Lecturer(s) Damian Holsinger,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam End-semester exam
MCQ (30%) and SAQ (70%)
30% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12 LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Online task Weekly quiz
MCQ, identification, matching. Each quiz worth 1%.
12% Multiple weeks 25 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO12 LO11 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Online task Lecture Quiz
1.5% /quiz - at end of lecture - MCQ, identify, multi answer, match
25% Ongoing 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12
Online task Tutorial Quiz
Quiz (2.75%) at end of tutorial - MCQ, identification, multiple answer.
33% Weekly 15 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Lecture Quizzes: These quizzes will cover material presented in the lecture.
  • Tutorial Quizzes: These quizzes will cover material presented each week in the lecture and tutorial.
  • Final exam: This paper will cover material presented in weeks 1-12 inclusive.
  • Weekly quiz: There will be 12 weekly quizzes that will contribute 12% to your final mark. Each quiz will contribute 1% to your final mark only if you obtain a grade above 90% on that particular quiz. You will have unlimited weekly attempts at each quiz but you must obtain a mark above 90% for each quiz in order to obtain the 12%.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Mastery of topics showing extensive integration and ability to transfer knowledge to novel contexts; treatment of tasks shows an advanced synthesis of ideas; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is very well presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an outstanding level


75 - 84

Excellent achievement, consistent evidence of deep understanding and application of knowledge in medical science; treatment of tasks shows advanced understanding of topics; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is well-presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a superior level


65 - 74

Confident in explaining medical science processes, with evidence of solid understanding and achievement; occasional lapses indicative of unresolved issues; treatment of tasks shows a good understanding of topic; work is well-presented with a minimum of errors; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a high level


50 - 64

Satisfactory level of engagement with and understanding of topic; some inconsistencies in understanding and knowledge of medical science; work is adequately presented, with some errors or omissions, most criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an adequate level


0 - 49

Unsatisfactory achievement and engagement with the medical science discipline; inadequate understanding or fundamental misunderstanding of topics; most criteria and learning outcomes not clearly or adequately addressed or achieved; lack of effort/involvement in the unit

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to BIOS1166; 2. Structure of the nervous system (NS); 3. Structure of the NS and structure of neurons Lecture (4 hr) LO1
Neural tissue Tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 1. Communication in the NS - introduction 1; 2. Generation and propagation of action potentials Lecture (4 hr) LO2
Nervous system physiology 1 Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 1. Communication in the NS (synapses, EPSPs, IPSPs); 2. Receptor mechanisms Lecture (4 hr) LO3 LO4
NS physiology 2: Case study 1 Tutorial (2 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 04 1. Reflex mechanisms - monosynaptic; 2. Reflex mechanisms - polysynaptic; 3. The motor unit Lecture (4 hr) LO5 LO6
Reflexes Tutorial (2 hr) LO5
Week 05 1. Structure and function of muscle 1; 2. Structure and function of muscle 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO7
NS physiology 3: Case study 2 Tutorial (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 1. Structure and function of muscle 3; 2. Structure and function of muscle 4 Lecture (2 hr) LO7
Muscle physiology Tutorial (2 hr) LO7
Week 07 1. Neuroanatomy 1; 2. Neuroanatomy 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO8
Neuroanatomy 1 Tutorial (2 hr) LO8
Week 08 1. Brain stem and cranial nerves anatomy 1; 2. Brain stem and cranial nerves anatomy 2; 3. Diencephalon anatomy; 4. Autonomic Nervous System Lecture (4 hr) LO9 LO10 LO11
Neuroanatomy 2 Tutorial (2 hr) LO9
Week 09 Brainstem, diencephalon, Cranial Nerve anatomy Tutorial (2 hr) LO9 LO10
Week 10 Somatosensory anatomy and physiology 1 - structure and pathways Lecture (2 hr) LO12
Autonomic nervous system Tutorial (2 hr) LO11
Week 11 1. Somatosensory anatomy and physiology 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO12
Somatosensory physiology tutorial Tutorial (2 hr) LO12
Week 12 Understanding lesions associated with the somatosensory system Lecture (2 hr) LO12
Somatosensory pathways - anatomy and physiology Tutorial (2 hr) LO12

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Attendance at both lectures and tutorials are compulsory.


  • Lectures: Lectures will be delivered twice a week – attendance is cimpulsory. Quizzes will be delivered during classes and no Special Consideration will be given for a missed quiz/absence.


  • Tutorials: Tutorial classes will be held in weeks 1-12 – attendance is compulsory. Quizzes will be delivered during classes and no Special Consideration will be given for a missed quiz/absence. Students must attend their own practical/tutorial at the time and place indicated. Students may not swap groups for their own convenience. The exact location of the practical class must be confirmed through your timetable link before the tutorial class. Tutorial sessions require that you prepare prior to the scheduled class. Bring your lecture and tutorial notes to each tutorial class.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve link available in the Canvas site for this unit.

  • Neuroanatomy: An Illustrated Colour Text. A.R. Crossman and D. Neary. Churchill Livingstone. 6th Edition, 2020.
  • Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology. Martini, Nath and Bartholomew. 11th Edition, 2018.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand the basic functional anatomy of the nervous system
  • LO2. Describe the electrochemical basis for the generation and conduction of nerve impulses
  • LO3. Describe the role of synapses in the transmission, integration and filtering of information in the nervous system
  • LO4. Understand how receptors function as a sensor and describe the mechanisms by which information is transmitted from the receptor to the nervous system
  • LO5. Describe the components of a reflex and recognize these as components of a control system
  • LO6. Understand the role of a neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in the transmission of signals from a motor nerve to muscle membrane
  • LO7. Describe the structure and function of muscle cells and explain how action potentials are transmitted through a muscle
  • LO8. Describe the anatomical components and pathways in the brain and spinal cord
  • LO9. Describe structures associated with the brain stem and identify the location and function of the twelve cranial nerves
  • LO10. Describe the structure and function of the diencephalon
  • LO11. Understand the structure and function of the autonomic nervous system
  • LO12. Describe the organization and function of somatosensory pathways and understand the effects of lesions associated with these pathways

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Student feedback via the Unit of Study Survey is critical in the development of this Unit of Study. Numerous modifications are made on a continuous basis based on student feedback. Based on feedback received last year, we are now providing continuous assessment of topic content.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.