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Blinn College • Bryan • Natural Science • Biology - BIOL

Microbiology BIOL-2421

  • Spring 2013 Full Term 2013
  • Section SECTION_303 CRN-20826
  • 4 Credits
  • 01/14/2013 to 05/07/2013
  • Modified 01/11/2013

Meeting Times


  • Monday, Wednesday, 1:25 PM to 2:40 PM


  • Monday, Wednesday, 2:50 PM to 4:05 PM

Contact Information

Instructor: Michelle McNeil

Office Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday, 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, S234
  • Tuesday, Thursday, 1:45 PM to 3:00 PM


An introduction to the study of bacteria and other microorganisms. Topics include fundamentals of microbiology, microbial control, microbiology in everyday life, infection and host resistance and pathogenic organisms. Laboratory is devoted to various culturing and staining techniques.


Prerequisites: BIOL 1406 with a grade of "C" or better. CHEM 1407 is recommended.

Core Curriculum Statement

This is a Core Course in the 42-Hour Core Curriculum of Blinn College. As such, students will develop proficiency in the appropriate Intellectual Competencies, Exemplary Educational Objectives, and Perspectives.


1. Summarize a history of microbiology.

2. Describe the different types of cell and colony morphologies.

3. Interpret selected metabolic processes carried out by cells and their essential role in sustaining life.

4. Discuss the differences between a virus and a living organism.

5. Identify the etiologic agent responsible for the pathogenesis of various diseases and describe the symptoms of these diseases and the response by the human immune system.

6. Use various physical and chemical means for microbial control.

7. Demonstrate the proficiency in using oil immersion technique.

8. Analyze pure and mixed microbial specimens using determinative bacteriological techniques.


Textbook: Alcamo’s Fundamentals of Microbiology, 9th Edition, Pommervile, J.C. 2010, Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Lab ManualBIOL 2421 Microbiology Laboratory Manual, 1st Edition. McNeil, M., Sharpe-Aparicio, E. and Sharpe, V., Bluedoor, LLC, 2012.

Required Laboratory Items

  • Laboratory Coat – available at Blinn bookstore (disposable), career apparel stores
  • Inoculating Loop – single use, available at Blinn bookstore
  • Microscope Slides – box of 100 available at Blinn bookstore; box of 25 available at Traditions
  • Plastic Shoebox (no bigger than 13” x 8” x 5"), Masking Tape, Sharpie Marker

Required eCampus access

eCampus: Access to the Internet is REQUIRED. Internet access at home would certainly be a plus, however, all students at Blinn College and/or Texas A&M have computing resources available to them. The Open Computer Lab at Blinn College is located in Room H-225. If you are not familiar with these, see me or inquire at the Learning Center in the Library Building, Room 258, for more details, ASAP. eCampus is an online course tool. It is in essence a virtual classroom through which I will be posting course related materials, information, as well as homework and bonus assignments. You will also be able to contact me with questions and or problems you might be having and have the ability to contact your classmates. It will be your responsibility to check this site daily:

Student E-mails

Students are assigned an E-mail address that must be checked regularly for official Blinn communications and course information. The address is of the form: Firstname.LastnameLast2digitsBlinnID  Information about accessing this account can be found at:


(5) AccuScan Advantage Form #28980 (available @ Blinn Bookstore or Learning Center) for lecture exams and the final exam.

Course Requirements

Lecture Exams

  • There will be 4 lecture exams each worth 100 points. Only the top 3 exam grades will be counted.
  • On average, exams will cover 4-5 chapters and will include material covered up through the lecture period before each exam.
  • Exams may include multiple choice questions, short-answer questions, fill-in-the-blank, labeling diagrams, or essay questions.
  • All exams will be closed-book and closed-note and all electronic devices, including cell phones, must be turned off.
  • There are no scheduled “make-up” lecture exams. Any missed exam will count as the dropped exam.
  • After grading, exams will either be temporarily returned to the student for in-class review for 5 minutes OR the most-missed questions will be reviewed by the instructor. If exams are temporarily returned, neither questions nor answers may be copied or photographed in any way. You may come to my office during office hours to review any exams that you wish.

Laboratory Practical Assessments

  • There will be 3 practical assessments of your understanding of laboratory procedures each worth 75 points.
  • These assessments will cover material previously covered in lab, assigned lab manual readings, worksheets, review questions, or observations; and will consist of short answer, fill-in-the-blank, or labeling questions. Rarely will you see multiple choice options and there will not be a word bank.
  • There are no scheduled “make-up” lab exams. Any missed exam will count as a grade of zero.

Class Participation

Class participation constitutes 100 points (10%) of your final grade and will consist of 25 laboratory periods at 4 points each.

Lab Homework – Most lab worksheets and review questions will be completed during the lab period or at home as a way for you to measure your understanding of material covered. Some lab worksheets will require observation of bacteriological growth the following day before they can be completed. It is your responsibility to complete these lab worksheets and review questions in preparation for laboratory exams. Late assignments will not be accepted and there will be no makeup for missed assignments or laboratory periods.

Identification of Unknowns

Unknown bacterial organisms will be assigned to you during the semester. Your job will be to determine the genus and species of each unknown using techniques that you will learn in lab.

  • Unknowns #1 and #2 –The purpose of these two unknowns is to teach students diagnostic techniques utilized in classical determinative bacteriology and how to identify unknown organisms down to genus and species.
    • Unknown #1 is worth 25 points.
    • Unknown #2 is worth 50 points.
  • Unknown #3 – Students will be responsible for determining the genus and species name of either a Gram Positive or Gram Negative organism using techniques covered in lab and learned during group unknown work.
    • This final unknown report is worth 75 points.
  • Further details on the Unknown Reports are covered in Lab 31 and will also be discussed in class. For these reports, a report form will be provided to the student by the instructor.  Reports must include the following in order to receive full credit:
    1. Log/Methods.
    2. Completed report form for each organism.
    3. Word document containing color photographs of all chemical reactions, isolated cultures and stains. All pictures must also have detailed figure legends.
    4. Dichotomous keys for each organism.
  • Points will be deducted from your lab report grade if you are absent when unknown organisms are handed out. Other deductions may also result due to student negligence and/or re-preparing of an unknown organism.
  • Unknown reports are always due at the beginning of Lecture on the assigned due date. If you know that you will be absent on one of the due dates, you may turn in your report early.
  • Late unknown reports will be accepted up to 2 days after the due date at a penalty of 5 points per day for Unknown #1, 10 points per day for Unknown #2, and 15 points per day for Unknown #3. After 2 days from the due date, late unknown reports will not be accepted. For example, if your report was due on Monday, 3/18 at 1:25 pm, then the last day you could turn in the report for grading would be Wednesday, 3/20 at 1:25 pm.
  • Lab Reports will be graded in a timely fashion, but please allow at least 1 week for them to be graded and returned.
  • All unknown work and inoculations will be done in lab under instructor supervision. Budget your time accordingly to meet assignment deadlines.

Final Exam

The Final is a mandatory departmental comprehensive exam worth 200 points. It will consist of 100 -125 multiple choice questions. There will be no separate laboratory final; the lecture final will include questions from the laboratory material (85% lecture material, 15% lab material).  All students must take the final examination at their designated time. If you miss the final exam, a grade of zero will be recorded. There will be no final exam make-ups, no exceptions.

FINAL EXAM Section 303: Monday, May 6th from 3:15-5:15 pm in S212 (LAB ROOM)

Bonus Opportunites

Throughout the semester, there will be opportunities for bonus points. Take advantage of these opportunities when they are offered and pay attention to due dates, do not ask me for “extra credit” at the end of the semester.  I provide bonus points to every member of the class uniformly and these bonus opportunities will be used to generate extra points that will be added to your point total at the end of the semester. Since I do not curve individual exam scores, these bonus activities will help generate a curve.

Preparation for Lecture

It is your responsibility as a student to be prepared every day for a possible assignment or in-class discussion and to keep up with the lecture and lab material. I expect that you will spend time after each class to study and review your notes, read assigned chapters and labs before coming to class, and complete any offered study materials. A course schedule containing a list of the topics and chapters to be covered has been provided. You are required to get a textbook and a lab manual.  There is a lot of material to be covered in this course and we may not get to all of the material in the textbook in class, but you will still be responsible for the assigned chapters on an exam. Because of the quantity of material to be covered, do not fall behind in your readings. Also, because BIOL 1406 is a prerequisite, it is expected that students are already familiar with the following topics:

  • Chemical Bonding and Organic Macromolecules
  • Eukaryotic Cell Structure and Function
  • Metabolism including Enzyme Structure and Function, Energy Carrier Molecules, Catabolism and Anabolism
  • DNA Replication, RNA Transcription and Protein Synthesis

If you do not feel confident with these topics, then it is suggested that you review your notes from 1406 and/or make use of the additional resources and review materials that will be posted online. Since students are expected to have knowledge of this material coming into this course in order to understand principles of microbiology, excessive amounts of time will not be spent reviewing this material during lecture.

Preparation for Lab

The same level of preparation is also expected regarding lab time – it is your responsibility to come to lab prepared. I will only give a brief intro or demonstration for each lab exercise; the rest of the time, it is up to you to get through the material assigned for that day. Please read the assigned activity in the lab manual (see Course Schedule) before coming to lab and always bring your lab manual to class.  This will greatly facilitate your progression through the assigned material for that day as well as reduce the potential for errors made in lab. A microscope study area has been set aside for you to view prepared slides outside of the scheduled lab times. This study area is for microscope use only, no inoculations or slide-preparation will be allowed.


Monday – Thursday: 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday: 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm

Saturday, Sunday and School Holidays: Building Closed



Each student is required to participate in lab exercises.  Students are responsible for their work area, and should return any material or equipment to its proper location. Remember a clean lab area minimizes the health hazards that a student might be exposed to. A student not actively involved in lab exercises must have valid documented justification for not participating in class exercises. Use your lab time efficiently, especially as skills learned will be evaluated during Laboratory Practical Exams and will also be applied during work with the bacteriological unknowns.



Your final score is based on 1000 points and will be calculated by taking the sum of your earned points (your grades) as per the table shown. Do not base your course grade on expectations of curving, extra credit points, or dropped exams.

Course Evaluation Method


Class Participation


Lecture Exams (top 3 of 4) @ 100 pts each


Lab Practicals @ 75 pts each


Laboratory Reports


Comprehensive Final Exam


Bonus Points




Grade Updates: I will provide periodic updates of your total points earned and grade-to-date on eCampus to help you gauge whether you are meeting your goals for the course. However, please realize that it may take a week for graded exams to be returned and longer for unknown reports to be graded and returned. Due to FERPA guidelines, I cannot discuss your grades via e-mail or phone call; any discussion of grades must be done in person during office hours or during a scheduled conference.


Letter Grade

Total Points










≤ 599

Blinn College Policies

Blinn College policies on civility, class attendance; scholastic integrity; students with disabilities; final grade appeals; and electronic devices as stated in the Blinn College Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, Blinn College Catalog and specific technical program handbooks. All policies, guidelines and procedures in the Student and Faculty Handbook and the Board and Administrative Policy Manuals are applicable to this course

Civility Statement

Members of the Blinn College community, which includes faculty, staff and students, are expected to act honestly and responsibly in all aspects of campus life. Blinn College holds all members accountable for their actions and words. Therefore, all members should commit themselves to behave in a manner that recognizes personal respect and demonstrates concern for the personal dignity, rights, and freedoms of every member of the College community, including respect for College property and the physical and intellectual property of others.

      Civility Notification Statement. If a student is asked to leave the classroom because of uncivil behavior, the student may not return to that class until he or she arranges a conference with the instructor; it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for this conference. 

      This statement reflects step one in a possible four step process.  The Incivility Protocol is detailed in the Blinn College Student Handbook,

Attendance Policy

The College District believes that class attendance is essential for student success; therefore, students are required to promptly and regularly attend all their classes. A record of attendance will be maintained from the first day of classes and/or the first day the student’s name appears on the roster through final examinations. If a student has one week’s worth of unexcused absences during the semester, he or she will be sent an e-mail by the College District requiring the student to contact his or her instructor and schedule a conference immediately to discuss his/her attendance issues. Should the student accumulate two weeks’ worth of unexcused absences, he or she will be administratively withdrawn from class.

There are four forms of excused absences recognized by the institution:

  1. observance of religious holy days—The student should notify his or her instructor(s) not later than the 15th day of the semester concerning the specific date(s) that the student will be absent for any religious holy day(s);
  2. representing the College District at an official institutional function;
  3. high school dual credit students representing the independent school district at an official institutional function; and
  4. military service.

Other absences may be considered excused at the discretion of the faculty

member with appropriate documentation.  A student enrolled in a developmental course is subject to College District-mandated attendance policies. Failure to attend developmental classes shall result in removal from the course as defined by the College District.

It is the student’s responsibility to officially drop a class he or she is no longer attending.  To officially drop a class the student must obtain the class withdrawal form from Enrollment Services, complete the class withdrawal form, secure the required signatures, and return the completed form to Enrollment Services. The last day to drop with a Q is according to the Academic Calendar.

Scholastic Integrity

Blinn College does not tolerate cheating, plagiarism, or any other act of dishonesty with regard to the course in which you are enrolled.  The following text defines the faculty member’s responsibility with regard to the scholastic integrity expectation for this and all courses at Blinn College.

It is the responsibility of faculty members to maintain scholastic integrity at the College District by refusing to tolerate any form of scholastic dishonesty.  Adequate control of test materials, strict supervision during testing, and other preventive measures should be utilized, as necessary, to prevent cheating or plagiarism.  If there is compelling evidence that a student is involved in cheating or plagiarism, the instructor should assume responsibility and address the infraction.  Likewise, any student accused of scholastic dishonesty is entitled to due process as outlined in Blinn College Board Policy FLB (Local).  The Scholastic Integrity Policy is located in the Blinn College Student Handbook,  In a case of scholastic dishonesty, it is critical that written documentation be maintained at each level throughout the process.

Students with Disabilities

Blinn College is dedicated to providing the least restrictive learning environment for all students. Support services for students with documented disabilities are provided on an individual basis, upon request. Requests for services should be made directly to the Office of Special Populations serving the campus of your choice.  For the Bryan campus, the Office of Special Populations (Administration Building) can be reached at (979)209-7251.  The Brenham, Sealy and Schulenburg campuses are served by the Office of Special Populations on the Brenham campus (Administration Building Room 104) and can be reached at (979)830-4157.  Additional information can be found at

Final Grade Appeal

If a student wishes to appeal a final grade in a course, Blinn College Board Policy FLDB (Local), Course Grade Complaints, outlines the timeline for the appeal and the four steps in the appeal.  This policy is located in the Blinn College Student Handbook,

Electronic Devices

All the functions of all personal electronic devices designed for communication and/or entertainment (cell phones, pagers, beepers, iPods, and similar devices) must be turned off and kept out of sight in all College District classrooms and associated laboratories.  Any noncompliance with this policy shall be addressed in accordance with the College District civility policy (administrative policy).  This information is contained in Blinn College Board Policy FLB (Local).

Course Policies

Attendance Policy Reminder

Missing lecture, lab or both will count as one absence.  For classes that meet twice a week during the spring semester two absences counts as one week's absence.  Students accumulating two week’s worth of absences (four unexcused absences) will be dropped.

In order to be considered as an excusable absence, you must notify me within 24 hours of being absent. You must present me with your documentation the first day you return to class from being absent.  If you are too sick to come to class, you are sick enough to see a doctor.  In this case, you MUST bring me a doctor’s note stating why you were absent.  This does not include a regular doctor’s appointment that was scheduled during class time, only unscheduled instances or medical emergencies where you are ill and need a doctor’s care. If a family emergency exists, you must provide documentation (ex: obituary, doctor’s note for the family member, funeral program etc.).  If an accident occurs, I must receive documentation that you were involved (ex: police report ).

If you are more than 15 minutes late to lecture or lab, or if you leave class for an unexcused extended period of time, you will be counted as absent.

Problem Resolution

If you have a complaint about your class, you should first request a conference with your instructor to try and resolve the problems or issues. If the problems or issues cannot be resolved at the instructor level, you should request a conference with the Division Chair, Mr. Dwight Bohlmeyer, Science 241, [email protected]

Eating and Drinking

Eating and drinking are not allowed during class or laboratory work. Not only is this a Blinn policy, but there are safety reasons for not eating, drinking, or smoking around a Biology laboratory.




Lecture Topic (Tentative*)

Lab Topic (Tentative*)



Introduction; What are Microorganisms? (Ch 1.4)

Lab 1-3 Safety Procedures; Lab Equipment, Media; Ubiquity of Bacteria


Ch 1: History of Microbiology

Labs 4-5 Aseptic Technique and Streak Plate



MLK Day Holiday – No Class


Ch 4:Cell Structure/Function

Lab 7 Colony Characteristics



Ch: 3 Concepts &Tools for Studying Microorganisms

Lab 10 Microscopy& Lab 14 Cell Morphology and Cell Structures


Ch 5:Microbial Growth and Nutrition

Lab 6: Quantification of Microorganisms



Ch 6:Metabolism of Prokaryotic Cells

Complete Lab 6 &  Lab 15 Growth Requirements


Lecture Exam 1: Chapters 1, 3-5

Lab 11 Smear Preparation & Simple Staining



Ch 6:cont.

Labs 12-13 Gram & Capsular Staining


Ch 8: Microbial Genetics

Labs 21-22 Acid-Fast and Endospore Stain



Ch 8: cont. & Ch 9.1: Gene Transfer

Lab Exam 1 – over Labs 1-7, 10-15, 21-22


Ch 7: Control of Microorganisms

Labs 8-9 Chemical & Physical Control



Ch 24: Antimicrobial Drugs

Complete Labs 8-9; Unknown 1 handed out: Labs 16-20, 23-25, 31, eCampus handouts


Lecture Exam 2: Chapters 6-9.1; 24

Work on Unknowns



Ch 20: Innate Immunity

Work on Unknowns


Ch 21: Acquired Immunity

Differential WBC eCampus handout



Happy Spring Break (03/11-03/15) – No Classes



Unknown #1 Report due

Ch 22.1: Vaccines & Ch 19: Infection and Disease

Unknown 2 handed out: Labs 2631, eCampus handouts


Ch 19: cont.

Work on Unknowns



Lecture Exam 3: Chapters  19-22.1

Work on Unknowns


Ch 10: Airborne Bacterial Diseases

Lab Exam 2 – over Labs 8-9, 16-20, 23-30 , eCampus handouts



Unknown #2 Report due

Ch 11: Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases

Unknown 3 handed out


Ch 12: Soilborne and Arthropodborne Diseases

Work on Unknowns




Ch 13: Sexually Transmitted and Contact Transmitted Bacterial Diseases

Work on Unknowns


Lecture Exam 4: Chapters  10-13

Work on Unknowns



Ch 17 & pgs 785-786: Pathogenic Fungi

Labs 32 Eukaryote Taxonomy and Lab 34 Fungi


Final Unknown Report due

Ch 18 & pgs 786-788 – Pathogenic Protozoans

Lab 33 Vectors and Lab 35 Protozoans



Ch 18 & pgs 786-788 –Pathogenic Helminths

Lab 36 Helminths


Ch 14: The Viruses, Tumors,& Virus-Like Agents

Review Period for Lab Exam 3



Ch 15-16: Viral Diseases & Ch 23.4: AIDS (pgs 755-763)

Lab Exam 3 – over Labs 32-36


Lecture Catch-Up and Review



FINAL EXAM  Monday, May 6th from 3:15-5:15 pm in S212 (LAB ROOM)