What Are the SPO Virtual Classrooms?

Science Prof Online offers FREE fully-developed science curricula, including the Virtual Microbiology Classroom 8-week course featured on this page. (Click here for 16-week micro course), the Virtual Cell Biology Classroom and the Virtual Anatomy & Physiology Classroom (coming soon!)

Virtual Microbiology Classroom

Materials for an 8-week Micro Course from Science Prof Online

Mannitol Salt Agar
Prokaryotic Cell
Image of prokaryotic cell. For labeled diagram of same cell, click here.


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More Useful Microbiology Resources

Page last updated 2/2015

Photographic guides to differential stains 
now available!
1. Gram Stain
2. Acid-fast Stain
3. Endopsore Stain

What might happen if a deadly new infectious disease hit the scene? 

The film "Contagion" provides an excellent opportunity to learn about infectious disease, how it spreads and which organizations would be involved in tracking and controlling a dangerous outbreak.

Completing the Contagion Extra Credit Assignment will help you better understand this complex film.
Instructor's Corner
Microbiology in the News

On 9/18/12 the National Public Radio (NPR) show Talk of the Nation featured a story on superbug antibiotic resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae: "Hospitals Fight To Stop Superbugs' Spread". This is important information on scary new bugs and what healthcare institutions are doing to protect their patients and employees. 

Click here for a Virtual Microbiology Classroom  assignment to go with the story.
NPR Talk of the Nation story "Hospitals Fight To Stop Superbugs' Spread"
The Virtual Microbiology Classroom also offers laboratory material, featured below. The laboratory PowerPoints contain many helpful photos of materials viewed in lab. New resources are regularly added to the Virtual Microbiology Classroom. For updates, follow us on Twitter @ScienceProfSPO.

Virtual Microbiology Classroom LECTURE TOPICS

Each title below is a link to all of the lecture-related course materials on that particular subject. 

LECTURE Topic - Intro to Microbiology

LECTURE Topic – History of Microbiology

LECTURE Topic – Prokaryote Cell Structure & Function

LECTURE Topic – Eukaryote Cell Structure & Function

LECTURE Topic - Biological Classification

LECTURE Topic - Meet the Microbes: Prokaryotes

LECTURE Topic - Meet the Microbes: Eukaryotes

LECTURE Topic - Microbial Metabolism & Growth

LECTURE Topic - Microbial Genetics

LECTURE Topic - Virus Structure

LECTURE Topic - Virus Life Cycle

LECTURE Topic – Meet the Microbes: Viruses

LECTURE Topic - Immunology - Innate & Acquired

Additional Microbiology Lecture Resources

These Virtual Classrooms are organized by lecture into several topics. Each lecture topic typically includes free:

  • PowerPoint lectures
  • study guide 
  • class note articles
  • practice test and review questions
  • homework assignments
  • microbiology photos
  • animations and movies
  • links to other microbiology education resources

Microbiology Lab Videos
Monsters Inside Me TV Show on Parasitism from Animal Planet

Monsters Inside Me
TV show, from Animal Planet, presenting case studies of  people with parasitic infections. So interesting, you'll learn about parasitism without even trying!

Check out our FREE "Monsters Inside Me" Homework Assignments Part 1 & Part 2!

NEW VMC Lab Lineup for Winter 2014! This new, improved lab series offers more intense microscopy work and allows students to build skills required for identifying unknown bacteria over the course of three lab meetings. New immunology lab too! Each lab topic title below is a link to all of the lab-related course materials on that particular subject. 

LAB Exercise #1: How to Use a Compound Microscope
Basic microscopy and viewing bacterial simple stain.

LAB Exercise #2: Gram Staining & Isolation Streak Plate Method
First lab in the series on identifying unknown bacteria. Students learn how to create a bacterial smear and preform the Gram stain, with controls and an unknown. Isolation streak plate technique also introduced.

LAB Exercise #3: Differential Staining & Specialized Media
Second lab in a series on identifying unknown bacteria. Students are introduced to the Acid-fast and Endospore stains. Specialized media (MacConkey's & Mannitol Salt) are inoculated with unknown to assist in identification of unknown bacteria using a dichotomous key.

LAB Exercise #4: Bacterial Growth Media & Cultures
Third lab in a series on identifying unknown bacteria. Students learn how to create controls showing various bacteria plated on MacConkeys, Mannitol Salt, Blood Agar & Tryptic Soy Agar. Students collect and interpret samples of normal flora from their own bodies.

LAB Exercise #5: Microbial Control: How to Kill Bacteria
Experiments in using heat, ultra-violet radiation, antibiotics and chemical disinfectants to kill bacteria.

LAB Exercise #6: Immunology - Leukocytes, Antibodies & Blood Typing
​Students learn about the cells involved in immune response, as well as antibody-antigen interaction by playing a virtual blood typing game and viewing leukocytes with the microscope.

Additional Microbiology Laboratory Resources

Microbiology Reading Recommendations
Below is a list of books that are very useful for understanding and teaching microbiology. Click on links below or go to the Microbiology Reading List Page for additional summaries and recommended teaching applications for each book.

  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by Quammen
  • Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus, by 
         Wasik & Murphy
  • The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Johnson
  • Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Blaser
  • The Great Mortality : An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly
  • Deadly Outbreaks: How Medical Detectives Save Lives Threatened by Killer Pandemics, Exotic Viruses, and Drug-Resistant Parasites by Levitt

Our Favorite New Microbio APP!
 Cool infectious disease game:
Plague Inc.  
Do you have what it takes to be a successful pathogen?
The SPO website is best viewed in Windows Explorer,  Google Chrome or Apple Safari.
The VMC offers homework assignments based on Radiolab podcasts. 

 "Patient Zero"
"Rodney vs Death"

Patient 0 HW doc
Parasites HW doc
​- Rodney vs Death HW doc
Radiolab Logo


Here is the the list of countries and US states that have the top 4 number of SPO visitors! 


Congrats you bunch of brainiacs!

Our current
Smarty-Pants Science Reading Pick: 
The Ghost Map
Steven Johnson

Smarty-pants Countries:
#1 US
#2 Philippines
#3 UK
#4 India

Smarty-pants US States: 
#1 California
#3 Texas
#3 New York
#4 New Jersey

Need Help Pronouncing the Crazy Scientific Names of Microbes?

Visit the 
Bacterial Pathogen Pronunciation Station!