Montana State University

MB 536-801: Exploring Microbiology

The Office of Continuing Education at Extended University offers both face-to-face and online learning opportunities:

  • Degree Programs
  • Certificate Programs
  • Professional Development
  • Summer Field Study Programs
  • Study Abroad
  • Leisure and Lifelong Learning
  • Youth Programs

Feb 01-Apr 22, 2016
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Nancy Burritt and James Burritt

Course Description

The goal of this course is to provide science educators and others with the fundamentals of microbiology. This information will allow participants to expand their knowledge base and enhance teaching activities in this subject. Teachers will gain an appreciation of microbiology through readings, web searches, active participation in discussions, assignments, and an experiment on microorganisms. They will also learn that microbiology can be applied in daily life, in biotechnology, and in studying complex issues such as our dependence on microbes. The course will provide a foundation in microbiology for those who intend to take future courses such as microbial ecology, environmental microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology, and microbial genetics.

The following topics will be covered: evolution of microorganisms, cell structure and function, viruses and other acellular agents, microbial growth, antimicrobial compounds, and fungi.

Each participant will set up an experiment that will run for the entire semester, by designing a medium to study the growth of microbes from a source of their choosing. This activity will involve research on this subject, an experiment proposal, weekly observations summarized through updates, and a final report. The final assignment will be a PowerPoint presentation on the experiment.

This course requires consistent participation in weekly discussions, online quizzes, written assignments, and culminates in a final presentation. Participants will have proxy online access to the Montana State University library.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers log into the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week spending 10 - 13 hours each week while the course is in session, either online or in the text working on course-related assignments.


Nancy Burritt. has a BS in Biology, a BA in Education, and a MA in Science Education.

James Burritt. has a PhD. In Microbiology, and is a Professor of Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.


This course is designed primarily for educators in the life sciences and also for others with a particular interest in microbiology. Participants should have taken a college level basic biology course or equivalent.

Time Commitment:

10-13 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, please see the MSU Online Only Tuition and Fees (PDF) table.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Participants are responsible for purchasing the required text for the course on their own before the course begins. It is listed below.

Required Books/Materials

  • Prescott's Microbiology, 9th Edition
    Hardcover, 1152 pages
    ©2014, ISBN-13 9780073402406

Participants are responsible for purchasing the required text for the course on their own before the course begins.

You can order the text online from McGraw Hill or from another bookstore of your choosing.

Computer Requirements:

  • Computer running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or newer or Mac OS X.5 (Leopard) or higher
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Regarding registration, please contact Kelly Boyce by phone at (800)282-6062 or (406)994-6812, or by email at

For questions regarding course content, please contact Nancy Burritt at

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.

Campus ToolsStudent E-MailDesire2LearnMy InfoMy MSU PortalMy Passwords