Microbiology

Study microbiology and its application to human and animal health. Excellent as a bridging course, an introduction to science, this course is also useful for those working in animal, agriculture, and food industries.

Course Code: BSC209
Fee Code: S3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn about viruses, bacteria, and more!

Microbes are an important of life on earth. They influence everything from plant growth through to gut digestion and disease mechanisms in humans. Understanding the general classifications and anatomy of significant microbes is useful for the both the general and professional learner.

In this course, you will develop a broad based understanding of the science of microbiology . You will explore microbiology and its relationship to:

  • human, animal and plant disease
  • routine functions in biology (e.g. absorption of nutrients, immunology, managing waste, etc)
  • farming - horticulture, agriculture
  • food industries - food treatment, storage, preservation, etc.
  • environmental management

You'll also discuss different practical applications of microbiology.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Microbiology
  2. Microscopes
  3. Cultures
  4. Microbial Taxonomy
  5. Bacteria
  6. Viruses
  7. Other Microbes - Protists, Fungi, Helminths
  8. Immunology
  9. Applied Microbiology

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the nature and scope of microbiology and its potential application to human life and society.
  • Determine appropriate tools for studying microorganisms, and how to utilise those tools in a variety of different contexts.
  • Describe how to culture different microorganisms in a laboratory.
  • Differentiate between different types of microorganisms.
  • Determine appropriate ways of finding and applying current information to differentiate between microorganisms you are not familiar with.
  • Explain the taxonomy, function and significance of a range of different types of bacteria.
  • Explain the taxonomy, function and significance of a range of different types of viruses.
  • Explain immunity in plants, animals and humans.
  • Identify and explain different practical applications for an understanding of the applications of microbiology.

How are Bacteria Different?

Bacteria can be good or bad; useful to man, or harmful to man. It all depends upon what type of bacteria you are considering. This course helps you to understand those differences, and understand how we can differentiate between different types of bacteria.

Bacteria occur everywhere in our world in huge numbers: from inside our bodies to across the surface of every living and non living thing on our planet.

Bacteria have the same structures as a normal cell, including: a cell wall, nuclear material, cytoplasm and various membranes, such as mitochondria, endoplasmic, reticulata, plasma membrane; they also have a slime layer (capsule), flagella and some but not all can have spore formation.

The ‘slime layer’ can vary in thickness and texture - if it is thick and firm enough, it is called a capsule. When chains or clumps of bacteria form the whole chain or clump can be surrounded by a slime layer. At times this layer can become a solid gelatinous mass (called a zooglea).

Flagella are outgrowths of cytoplasm that extend through the cell wall. They are appendage-like structures used for movement.

Bacteria can either reproduce by splitting, or by spores.

Spore formation is regarded as a resting stage. Under favourable conditions the internal protoplasm can form a ‘knot’ and surround itself with a wall. Bacterial spores are generally more resistant to being degraded than other types of organisms. To completely destroy bacterial spores may require boiling under pressure (as in a pressure cooker).

Classification of bacteria is based upon:

  1. Morphology - the form of the cell.
  2. Presence or absence of flagella.
  3. Reaction to certain stains.
  4. Mode of nutrition.

There are two broad groups:

  • Heterotrophs -these cannot make their own food. They are either parasites, feeding off living things, or saprophytes, feeding off dead things.
  • Autotrophs have chlorophyll-like pigments that allow them to make their own food.

 

This Course is Only the Beginning -But a very important Beginning

Microbiology is the study of tiny living things that cannot be seen by the unaided human eye. This includes both helpful and unhelpful organisms, small animals and plants, bacteria, fungi, viruses and algae. It includes organisms that contribute in a very positive way to our health and well being, and others that can kill us.
Microorganisms are found everywhere - inside and outside of the human body, and within all other animals and plants.
Some microorganisms are very simple, single celled organisms; but others are multicellular organisms.

Why Study Microorganisms?

  • They impact directly upon our health and well being.
  • They impact upon the quality of physical world we live in.
  • They impact upon the other living organisms we depend upon: everything from crops and farm animals to our pets.
  • Studying them can give us insights into all life.

Given the scope and nature of microbiology, this course cannot hope to teach you about every type of microorganism.  There are in fact so many different microorganisms that microbiology experts don’t know even a fraction of what is to be learned.

This is however such an important subject because microorganisms have a huge impact upon both us and the world around us.
The starting point is to become aware of the scope and nature of these organisms, to understand how they can be examined and the general characteristics of different types of microorganisms. The bulk of this course focuses on giving you that broad foundation, with a particular focus on some of the more significant types.  Toward the end of the course you will explore some of the practical applications for microbiology.

WHO USES MICROBIOLOGY?

Microbiologists work with microbiology all day every day, commonly working in laboratories. Their work can involve routine laboratory diagnostics, or production of microbiological products, through to cutting edge research.  Other professions also apply a knowledge of microbiology on a day to day basis.

This course can be a first step toward becoming a microbiologist. It may also be a step toward being a better farmer, food processor, health or veterinary professional or horticulturist.

Microbiologists are hired across all these fields, but may also have input into areas such as patent law (especially in the case of genetically engineered organisms and structures), policy change (as understanding of microbe function and transmission is required in implementing some health policies), humanitarian causes (ensuring potable water, testing and implementing sanitation measures to reduce disease in the developing world), even climate change (using microbes to help reduce pollution). The following pages explore just a few of the real-world applications of microbiology.

Microbes need to be managed in a variety of situations including:

  • In the human and animal body - deterring or killing pathogenic microbes (diseases), encouraging/maintaining beneficial organisms (probiotics).
  • In soil – soil health in agriculture and horticulture is dependent upon balance/presence of certain microbes - e.g. mycorrhizae and rhizobia. In plant tissue to prevent or deter disease.
  • In scientific research/laboratory and pathology testing.
  • In commerce - e.g. brewing, wine making, mushroom production; production of medicines/health products, bread etc.
  • In bio remediation e.g. microbes used to manage oil spills, pollution, degrading of organic compounds etc.

ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.


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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Michael Brugman

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Nicola Stewart

BA(Hons); Dip.Pub; CIM Dip.Marketing; PGCE; Dip.Holistic Aromatherapy; Dip.Reflexology; Dip.Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Language Education; Masters in Education & Professional Studies/Research, PhD (underway)

Nicola worked in publishing before changing direction to teach Anatomy, Physiology and various complementary therapies in the UK’s post-compulsory sector for 16 years. She is the published author of 10 books, plus a range of magazine articles and has also ghost-written across a number of genres. When she is not working for ACS, she provides specialist literacy tuition for children with dyslexia.

Robert Browne

B.Sc., PhD

Robert’s science employment has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis, and has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and as Research Officer for the IUCN has led Robert to work with collaborative conservation programs in the USA, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cameroon.

Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability. He has published in the scientific fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design. In addition to his work in research and other international projects for the conservation of amphibians, other vertebrates, and invertebrates, Robert is establishing a sustainability project with a research facility based in the region of a coastal village in Belize.

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