BIO 221: General Microbiology

Course Description

This course takes a clinical approach to studying microorganisms (in particular, bacteria and viruses), the methods used to identify and classify microbes, the disease processes caused by microbes, the methods used to control microbes, and the body’s innate and immune response to microbes. An understanding of these principles will help you maintain your own health and protect the health of others.

Course Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts of microbiology.
  2. Evaluate the topics of concern that are central to the clinical applications of microbiology.
  3. Relate the concepts of microbiology to current clinical practices.

Learning Model

“The challenge before us is to create even more powerful and effective learning experiences in which students learn by faith. This requires, but is more than, teaching by the Spirit. To learn by faith, students need opportunities to take action. Some of those opportunities will come …where students lead and teach one another and participate broadly. Some of them will come in the classroom, where prepared students, exercising faith, step out beyond the light they already possess, to speak, to contribute, and to teach one another. It is precisely in that moment of faith that (the) … ‘calling up’ and ‘linking’ of personal effort to the Spirit occurs. It is in that moment that the Spirit teaches.” (Kim B. Clark, “Inaugural Response,” Brigham Young University-Idaho, October 11, 2005.)

In this course, students will have the opportunity to prepare & ponder, teach one another and prove. Students will complete this process through readings and practices, participating in discussions, creating a group presentation, and taking assessments.

Learning Model Principles

  1. Exercise faith in Christ as a principle of action and power.
  2. Understand that true teaching is done by and with the Holy Ghost.
  3. Lay hold upon the word of God as found in the holy scriptures and in the words of the prophets in all disciplines.
  4. Act for themselves and accept responsibility for learning and teaching.
  5. Love, serve, and teach one another.

Required Materials


Microbiology by OpenStax 

This textbook is a free online educational resource. You may access the textbook using the following methods:

  1. Access the online textbook directly, where you can flip through the chapters as you would with hardcover text. This option provides the ability to quickly jump to the specific chapters you want. This can be found under the Textbook Information module in the course. 
  2. Download the textbook to your device as a PDF under the Textbook Information module in the course. 
  3. The Study pages in the course link directly to the beginning chapter of the assigned readings for that week. 

Note: When using the web-based version of the textbook, if you see an option to view the latest version, DO NOT click it. The course has been designed for the specific version of the textbook provided. Updating to a new version could mean that section numbers do not correctly match up with your assigned readings. 

System Requirements

Course Activities

Study Pages 

Study pages contain the assigned textbook readings and a corresponding study guide. Tutorial videos that will help with comprehension of specific concepts are also available on these pages. You fill out each study guide document as you read the textbook and view the videos. The study guides are not submitted, but completing them and studying from them is crucial to your success in the course.

Disease Presentations 

You will be joining a group of 3–4 students to put together a presentation on one disease of your choice. You may choose to present on one of 16 different diseases. You express the diseases you are interested in during Week 01. This determines the group you are placed in. This final presentation submission and your participation with your group is worth 10% of your overall grade in this course. You work on the presentations between Weeks 02 and 05 and submit your final product in Week 05. At the end of each week in which you work on the presentation, you submit a summary of progress made and an evaluation of your group members regarding how well each member of the team is contributing to the presentation and participating in communications.

Each week between Weeks 06 and 13, you individually watch two disease presentations created by other groups. Material about each specific disease will be assessed on each quiz and exam. So, it is important to take good notes and become familiar with each disease that is presented.

Case Studies 

In Weeks 03, 04, 07, 09, 11, and 13, you individually complete a case study where you investigate a relevant topic and respond to questions.

Weekly Course Meetings

Beginning in Week 02, your instructor will hold a weekly course meeting in Zoom. Check your instructor’s announcement for the date and time of the meeting. Although these meetings are not comprehensive over all the material you need to know, your instructor will choose some of the important concepts from the week to review. You can either attend synchronously in Zoom or watch the recording later. Watching the meeting is worth one point in your weekly quiz.


At the conclusion of each week, you take a quiz over the week's content.


In Weeks 08, 09, 10, and 12 you participate in a discussion where you consider current issues relevant to the concepts in the course. You will be required to create your own thread providing evidence to support your answers and then respond to the threads of your fellow students. 


There will be three regular exams during the course and a final exam.

IMPORTANT: All exams are taken with the remote proctoring service, Proctorio. Exam are closed-note, meaning that you may not use the textbook, personal notes, or other resources to help you complete this assessment. Weekly quizzes and exams from previous online BIO 221 students are unauthorized resources and using them is a violation of the Academic Honesty policy. You may not post/share assessment questions and assignment answers with other students. Please adhere to the Academic Honesty agreement you agreed to.


Disease Presentation
Case Studies  10%
Discussions 10%
Quizzes  25%
Exams 30%
Final Exam  15%
Grading Scale
A 93-100%
A- 90-92%
B+ 87-89%
B 93-86%
B- 80-82%
C+ 77-79%
C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
D+ 67-69%
D 63-66%
D- 60-62%
F Below 60%


University Policies

Read the University Policies page. See information about the following: Student Honor, Students with Disabilities, Sexual Harassment, and Complaints and Grievances.

Honor Code

Following the Honor Code is of great importance as you strive to be a disciple of Christ. Your commitment to live the Honor Code will contribute to the overall BYU-Idaho community. Your actions should be respectful and should foster an environment where all can feel the Spirit.

BYU-Idaho’s Dress and Grooming standards apply to all students, including online students. By adhering to the Honor Code you will create a learning environment “consistent with the ideals and principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” For more detailed information, see the Honor Code web page.

Academic Honesty

As followers of Christ, all BYU-Idaho students, staff, and faculty are expected to be honest in all their dealings. This also applies and extends to behavior and actions related to academic work. It is critical for students to understand the seriousness of academic dishonesty and misconduct, which are not tolerated by the University, and strive to produce and submit only the results of their own effort and original work.

To copy another person’s work from the Internet, a book, or from any other source and claiming it to be your own work, is plagiarism. Read the official definitions of plagiarism and cheating from the Academic Honesty portion of the Honor Code. It is also a violation of the Honor Code to allow others to use your work, including posting course materials/answers to a website. While students are encouraged to work with one another and share ideas, the direct sharing of answers is unacceptable. Remember: There is never an acceptable excuse for plagiarism or cheating.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

Although the Academic Honesty section of the University Policies explains what constitutes each of the many forms of academic dishonesty, as well as procedures and guidelines for handling such incidents, the specific application of consequences is left up to each individual instructor.

In this course, instructors will be responsible for creating and applying their own policy regarding penalties for academic dishonesty. In some cases, the instructor may report an incident to the Student Honor Office. Cases will be analyzed on an individual basis and penalties applied according to the severity of the misconduct.

Potential penalties now or in the future include: