AuPS Physiology Education

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As a society it is important for AuPS to be actively involved in the current debates concerning the professional development of the tertiary teaching of physiology.

Core Concepts in Physiology Education

There are numerous ways in which to define a core concept and one accepted approach is to refer to a core concept as a "big idea" that is central to a discipline (Michael et al., 2017). A focus on teaching core concepts is beneficial, as they provide a framework for teaching and learning, are applicable to many areas of a discipline, and can consolidate the content that students need to learn to have proficient knowledge in a discipline (Michael et al., 2017).

Preliminary work indicated that an existing set of 15 core concepts of physiology developed by a US-based team were not well represented across the Australian higher education curricula. In response, a national task force was established, and nationwide consensus was reached on seven core concepts of physiology for the Australian higher education context: cell-cell communication; cell membrane; movement of substances; homeostasis; structure and function; integration and physiological adaptation. An icon was created to visually represent each core concept. In subsequent work, each of the core concepts was unpacked into themes and subthemes and validated by the task force. This work has resulted in 9 publications in Advances in Physiology Education in 2023 and a booklet which you will find on the AuPS website.

We call on physiology educators across Australia to embed the core concepts and associated icons across your curriculum and in your teaching and learning activities. Please get in touch if you would like to collaborate, or share how your work in this space is progressing by emailing or

Teaching Excellence

Applications are now open for the Physiology Education prize and AuPS Education Grant Scheme

The society supports excellence in Physiology Education with its Michael Roberts Excellence in Teaching Award. The award started in 2010 in memory of Dr Michael Roberts.

Past winners of the Michael Roberts Excellence in Teaching Award

Year Name Department (at time of award) Title of Keynote Lecture Issue, Page
2010 Phil Poronnik Health Innovations Research Institute, School of Medical Sciences,RMIT University,Vic Australia. Rigour or rigor mortis: a challenge for physiology 41, 11P
2011 Yvonne Hodgson Biomedical Sciences, Monash University, Victoria. Developing assessment as a collaborative endeavour. 43, 8P
2012 David Saint Department of Physiology, The Medical School, University of Adelaide, South Australia. Learning and teaching - the rear view mirror and the road ahead 44, 2P
2013 Kay Colthorpe School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD. From active learning to self-regulated learning 45, 63P
2014 Deanne Hryciw Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC. Communicating science: how do we teach undergraduates to become scientists? 46, 44P
2015 Julia Choate Department of Physiology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC. Enhancing students’ university experiences by engaging them with their course and equipping them for life-long learning 47, 184P
2016 Kathy Tangalakis Victoria University,
Melbourne, VIC.
Enhancing the commencing student learning experience with Innovative learning and teaching approaches and peer support systems 48, 72P
2017 Glenn Wadley Deakin University,
Melbourne, VIC.
Adventures in flipping the classroom 49, 111P
2018 Prize not awarded
2019 Andrew Moorhouse UNSW,
Sydney, NSW.
How can we effectively clear the hurdles to reach the Physiology finals? abstract book
2020 Charles Sevigny University of Melbourne,
Melbourne, Vic.
Empowering student ownership through flexibility, authenticity, and co-creation abstract 40I, V52
2021 Christian Moro Bond University
The school of hard knocks: what did not work when introducing technology-enhanced learning to physiology lectures, labs, and workshops abstract 41I, V52
2022 Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Beckett University of Adelaide
*presentation scheduled for the 2024 AuPS annual meeting
2023 Associate Prof. Pushpa Sinnayah Victoria University
*presentation scheduled for the 2024 AuPS annual meeting

Past winners of the Physiology Education Grant

Year Name Department (at time of award) Title (at time of award)
2020 Severine Lamon Deakin University,
Melbourne, Vic.
Project: New to an academic position - bridging the gap.

Resulting publication: Lamon R, Knowles O, Currey J. Transitional experiences of Australian health science researchers: where is academic teaching preparedness? Front Educ (2024) 9
2021 Iris Lim Bond University
Project: Use of educational escape rooms in physiology education.

Resulting publication: Lim I. . A physical neuroscience-themed escape room: Design, implementation, and students' perceptions. Educ Inf Technol (2024) 29, 8725-8740
2022 Christian Moro Bond University, Qld Project: Which concepts are important in planetary health education for physiology students?

Resulting publication: Moro C, Phelps C, McLean M. Don't forget the veggies! Identifying and addressing a lack of vegetable education in physiology. Adv Physiol Educ (2023) 47:4, 726-731
2023 Angelina Fong University of Melbourne Project: Project: Enhancing student preparedness for labs: the power of virtual environments in reducing cognitive load.

AuPS Education Officer

The Educational Representative on Council is a A/Prof Kay Colthorpe

Links and Resources