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ZOOL19002 - Australian Vertebrate Biology

General Information

Unit Synopsis

In this unit, you will trace the evolutionary development of that very diverse group: the chordates; from those early non-vertebrate "fish" to the most modern apes (humans) through both the study of theory and the examination of biological material. Emphasis will be placed on the interrelated aspects of structure and function, but their ecology and diverse behaviours also will be studied, and all in the context of an evolving Earth.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Prerequisites: ZOOL11005 Foundation Animal Biology OR (BIOL11099 Living Systems AND BIOL11100 Functional Biology)

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

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Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2020

Term 2 - 2021 Profile
Mixed Mode

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Written Assessment 25%
2. Practical Assessment 25%
3. Examination 50%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

No previous feedback available

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Personal comments, emails, Moodle evaluation
Numerous positive comments were received regarding unit structure, components, operation, and student support.
These elements will be maintained, and strengthened where possible in future offerings.
Action Taken
These elements were maintained.
Source: Moodle evaluation
Assignment return was too tardy.
I will improve this and other related course component aspects (e.g., task feedback) for next offering by better planning of submission dates and marking around residential schools and other commitments.
Action Taken
Assignment return times were improved, and the quality and detail of feedback maintained.
Source: Moodle evaluation
One comment was received implying Moodle site layout could be improved, including the provision of lecture slides.
I will review the course Moodle site layout and improve it wherever possible, and i will explore the possibility of providing PowerPoint slides in addition to the Prezi lecture provided.
Action Taken
Moodle site layout was reviewed and maintained, but i didn't get time to duplicate lecture slides to PowerPoint. This will be considered again for the next offering.
Source: Formal unit evaluation responses, informal student emails and other communication
Numerous positive comments were received regarding unit structure, instructional components, assessment tasks, assignment feedback, combined block practicum, unit operation, and student support.
These unit components will be continued and refined further where possible.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Comprehend the evolution of chordates
  2. Comprehend the basic phylogenetic relationships of the major groups of vertebrates
  3. Comprehend and analyse the adaptive changes that have occurred in aquatic vertebrates
  4. Comprehend and analyse the changes in homologous structures which accompanied the invasion of terrestrial habitats by vertebrates
  5. Recognise, describe, and point out the external and internal features that characterise the major groups of modern day vertebrates
  6. Recognise and describe the basic microscopic anatomy of chordates
  7. Relate and analyse a chordate's structural and functional features in relation to its habitat
  8. Demonstrate the results of additional reading around the subject
  9. Communicate knowledge and findings clearly both orally and in writing.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Practical Assessment
3 - Examination
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Written Assessment
2 - Practical Assessment
3 - Examination