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Unit of study_

OLET1674: Modern Alchemy: Antibiotic vs Antiviral

Intensive May, 2022 [Online] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

What are antibiotics and how do they kill bacteria? Why don't they work against viral diseases like COVID19, and why aren't they as effective as they used to be? Chemicals like penicillin have saved millions of lives. How do they work, why do they kill some microbes and not others, why is resistance a really big problem, and what ways do we have to combat viruses? This unit will shine a light on antimicrobial drugs and uncover their life-saving chemistry. You will learn to identify broad structural features of molecules and gain an appreciation of how structure relates to function. You will gain a perspective on the discovery and invention of new antimicrobial molecules, and an understanding of the ongoing, rapidly evolving nature of this field. In the 2CP unit, you will build on the core content discussed in the 0CP unit to develop skills in communicating your knowledge of these molecules, their context and properties to others. By doing this unit, you will become a more informed patient, better able to understand the medicines you are prescribed, and you will be able to communicate what you've learned to your friends, family and community.

Unit details and rules

Unit code OLET1674
Academic unit Chemistry Academic Operations
Credit points 2
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Alice Motion,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Module 1 quiz
10 MCQ to test understanding of material in that module.
7.5% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2022 at 23:59
15-20 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Module 2 quiz
10 MCQ to test understanding of material in that module.
7.5% Week 10
Due date: 05 May 2022 at 23:59
15-20 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Module 3 quiz
10 MCQ to test understanding of material in that module.
7.5% Week 11
Due date: 12 May 2022 at 23:59
15-20 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment group assignment Infographic
Infographic illustrating different aspects of antibiotic chemistry.
35% Week 11
Due date: 12 May 2022 at 23:59
1500 words equiv.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Online task Module 4 quiz
10 MCQ to test understanding of material in that module.
7.5% Week 12
Due date: 19 May 2022 at 23:59
15-20 min
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Written Report
Written assignment on ways to combat pathogenic microbes.
35% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2022 at 23:59
1500 words equiv.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

4 x weekly MCQ

1 x infographic

1 x written report

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

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.


75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and superficially discuss theoretical concepts.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

As per University guidelines

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 09 Adversaries Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 10 Antibiotics Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 11 Antivirals Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 12 Apocalypse? Online class (3 hr) LO1 LO2

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 2 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 40-50 hours of student effort in total.

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. Identify the active chemical ingredients in important antimicrobial medicines and understand the molecular basis of their activity.
  • LO2. Apply these concepts to categorise molecules according to key structural elements and physical properties.
  • LO3. Reflect on the origins of modern antimicrobial agents in traditional knowledge of flora and fauna.
  • LO4. Create learning resources that explain the chemical ingredients of antimicrobial agents and so communicate scientific information appropriately.

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.

This is the first time this unit has been offered.


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.