BIOLOGY 1202 - Biology I: Organisms

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2023

This course focuses on the diversity of multicellular organisms, with evolution as the central theme. It addresses key questions in biology: What are plants and animals? What about other types of organisms? How do they evolve? How do they function? How do they interact with other organisms and the environment? These questions are answered by analysing the scientific evidence that supports current understanding. Students in this course come from a very broad range of programs and academic backgrounds. Learning is supported by online resources, active-learning lectures, regular quizzes, workshops to practice application of knowledge, and laboratory practicals. The diversity of life on Earth, evolution and ecology focus of this course is complemented by different aspects of biology in Biology I: Molecules, Genes and Cells, and Biology I: Human Perspectives. Biology spans an incredibly wide range of themes. Suitable preparation for studying Level 2 courses in biology-based disciplines generally requires two semesters of Level 1 BIOLOGY.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code BIOLOGY 1202
    Course Biology I: Organisms
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 6 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge BIOLOGY 1101 or BIOLOGY 1001 or BIOLOGY 1401
    Assessment Exam, assignment, practical reports
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Michelle Coulson

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    A successful student should be able to:
    1 Explain how evolution by natural selection has affected the diversity of organisms on earth
    2 Predict how selection pressures will influence the traits of individuals in a population
    3 Explain how the structures and their functions in individual organisms enable them to respond to the main problems of growth and development, survival and reproduction, especially plants, animals and other eukaryotes
    4 Formulate plausible hypotheses to explain the origin and function of biological traits in organisms
    5 Explain how the key ecological processes affect the distribution and abundance of organisms
    6 Analyse how these ecological processes affect selected populations
    7 Analyse and interpret experimental data and appreciate the limitations of experimental design and the critical importance of controls
    8 Write practical reports and present the experimental results in a valid scientific manner
    9 Display scientific curiosity and to appreciate the importance of asking questions
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Personal Protective Equipment (Practicals):
    Laboratory Coat
    Safety Glasses
    Enclosed footwear (not sandals, thongs or the like)

    Recommended Resources
    Text Book:
    Campbell Biology current edition (Australian and NZ version), hardcopy and/or electronic copy

    Mobile Device:
    An internet capable mobile device (eg phone, tablet, laptop etc) will allow participation in lectures


    Course resources as provided including video/audio recording of lectures and copies of PowerPoint slides, as well as additional/recommended reading links to Campbell Biology, videos on YouTube, and other sources
    Online Learning
    Available on MyUni:
    Summative/Formative online tutorials 
    Self-directed learning modules on basic chemistry principles
    Summative/Formative Video introduction to the practicals
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course will be delivered by the following means:
    3 x 1 hour lectures per week
    1 x 3 hour practical per fortnight
    1 x 1.5 hour workshops most weeks

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Contact Hours (65 hours)
    Lectures 32 × 1 = 32 hours
    Practicals 6 × 3 = 18 hours
    Workshops 8 × 1.5 = 12 hours
    Exam 1 × 3 hours = 3 hours.

    Non-contact Hours (100 hours)
    Lecture tests 2 × 1 = 2 hours
    Preparation for Practicals, 2 hours per practical = 12 hours
    12 weekly Course Reviews (online quizzes) = 12 hours
    Weekly reading/other study 3 hours per week  = 36 hours
    Preparation for Tests = 28 hours
    Exam preparation = 10 hours
    Total = approximately 165 hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    The topics covered in the course (and supported by the textbook and online resources) are as follows:

    Major lecture blocks covering:
    • Evolution
    • Plant Biology
    • Animal Biology
    • Ecology
    One lecture each covering:
    • Protists
    • Fungi
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment TaskTask TypeDueWeightingLearning Outcomes
    Course Reviews (online quizzes) Formative and Summative Typically two weeks after each week of lectures 10% 1-7, 9
    Workshop Participation Formative and Summative During workshops most weeks 5% 1-7, 9
    Practical Preliminary Quizzes Formative and Summative Before each practical 5% 1-9
    Practical Worksheets Formative and Summative Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 12 20% 1-9
    Redeemable Tests (x2) Summative Middle and end of semester 0, 15 or 30% 1-6
    End of Semester Theory Examination Summative In examination period 30, 45 or 60% 1-6
    Assessment Detail

    Course Review Quizzes


    Each week's lectures are accompanied by an online multiple-choice Course Review Quiz to help you engage with and revise the lecture material.  You can repeat each Course Review as many times as you like and we will record your highest score.  Each question is drawn randomly from a pool of similar questions so will probably change from attempt to attempt.  Your lowest two Course Review marks (assuming 12 Course Reviews) will be "dropped", i.e. not contribute to your mark for the course.  Most Course Reviews are due two weeks after the lecture week.

    Workshop Participation


    You must complete a short online quiz during each workshop to get your participation mark for that week.
    All students must attend face-to-face workshops for participation marks (unless approved absence).
    You can miss one face-to-face workshop without penalty.

    Practical Preliminary Quizzes


    Each practical is preceded by an online activity designed to help you prepare for that practical.  Each activity includes a quiz of approximately 10 questions due before the beginning of that practical.

    Practical Worksheets


    Each practical is assessed by a worksheet completed with a partner and submitted at the end of that practical session.

    Practical 1: Evolution 3%
    Practical 2: Fungi, Lichens & Algae 3%
    Practical 3: Plant Biology 4%
    Practical 4:  Invertebrates 4%
    Practical 5: Vertebrate Srtucture and Function 3%
    Practical 6: Ecology of Populations 3%

    All worksheets will be marked and returned to the students at the following practical session.

    Redeemable Online Tests

    0, 15 or 30%

    • Online Test 1 (mid-semester) covers lectures from Weeks 1-6 and is worth 15% BUT is redeemable by Section B of the exam
    • Online Test 2 (end of semester) covers lectures from Weeks 7-12 and is worth 15% BUT is redeemable by Section C of the exam

    End of Semester Theory Examination

    30, 45 or 60%

    The examination will be divided into three sections:
    • Section A. compulsory section consisting of short answer questions (30%)
    • Section B. optional section consisting of multiple choice questions (potentially 15% if used to redeem lecture test 1)
    • Section C. optional section consisting of multiple choice questions (potentially 15% if used to redeem lecture test 2).
    • Course Reviews, Workshop Participation Quizzes, Practical Preliminary Quizzes and Online Tests will by undertaken using MyUni.
    • Practical Worksheets will be submitted via Turnitin using MyUni.

    If an extension is not applied for or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks, will be applied.
    This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.