Practical class teaching in microbiology.

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  PCR of the emm gene of S.pyogenes. Results from the Molecular Microbiology Techniques Practical course.


Examples and descriptions of some the courses I participated in while at the University of Melbourne are listed below. Click on the linked headings to go down to further details.

Honours Microbiology Course, 526400
Molecular Microbiology Techniques Practical, 526321 [sole coordinator]
Microbial Cells and Genomes, 526301 [co-coordinator]
Biotechnology I, 526301 [co-coordinator]
Environmental Project Practical, 526322
Environmental Microbiology, 526307
Origin and Early Evolution of Cells, 606-313 [co-coordinator]
Principles of Microbiology, 526201
Practical Microbiology, 526221
Environmental Microbiology, 526-204
Engineering Biotechnology, 411334

[526-321. 6 weeks, 54 hr contact time, 60 students]
This was the main practical course for students wanting to major or proceed to honours level in the department, and despite 'techniques' in the name, I kept this course very much research oriented. Each student took responsibility for analysing the molecular characteristics of a novel, clinical isolate of Streptococcus pyogenes. The course material was outside my research field, and required considerable annual updating of the laboratory notes, papers studied, techniques used. I employed 6 demonstrators and liaised closely with the practical room preparation staff. I gave all the lectures, took photographs of the student results, produced a website that was updated during the course for students to access all the data. I used Dreamweaver and a university template, then coded the rest. I set the exam and marked that, and the final student reports. Over the years we discovered many new emm-types of S. pyogenes, and their sequences were deposited in Genbank, One of the strains was deposited with CDC (USA), and is a reference emm type. Student feedback scores were uniformly high (4+ out of max. 5), and many past students would tell me later that this was the best course they ever took during their degree. Example lecture handouts (pdf). [and yes, I did all the artistic header pictures, like the one at the top of this section.]

[526-301. 12 weeks, 36 lectures, 53 students] [course schedule, 2007]
I was one of three staff co-ordinating this 3rd year B.Sc. lecture unit, and contributed 8 lectures, as well as exam setting and marking. It was a first semester biotechnology unit that covered aspects of the science underlying microbial biotechnology, and fed into a second semester unit that focussed on real examples in this field. Example lecture (ppt) and handout (pdf)

[526-201, 12 weeks, 36 lectures, >300 students] [course schedule, 2007]
I was one of several staff lecturing into this course of introductory microbiology for students from various faculties (eg. Science, Food&Land). The classes were very large. I gave 4 lectures on environmental microbiology. In previous years I had additional topics, such as biotechnology bacterial genetics, and bacteriophages. Here is an example lecture (ppt) and handout (pdf) outlining the diversity of Bacteria.


[Disc sensitivity test. One of the pictures I took during the 3rd year prac class]