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Welcome to the course

An introduction to the Educator team and what topics will be covered over the three-week online course
I’m Dr. Glyn Barrett, a researcher in the School of biological sciences based here at the University of Reading. As a microbiologist, I’m aware that there are trillions of microbes all around me. It’s just that they’re too small for me to see without the help of a microscope.
Microbiology is a broad and fascinating subject to study. In this course, we will learn the basics of what a microbe is, how we study them, and how they affect each of us in our daily lives. You’ll be amazed to know just how much life there is in the soil beneath my feet. In this course, I’m going to show you just that by growing some of the microbes in our labs.
Microbes live in every environment on Earth, including on and inside other organisms. You’re currently considered home to a huge host of microorganisms. And as you will find out from this course, they played key roles in both health and disease. You will meet a range of experts based here at the University of Reading who will show you just how important microbiology research is to our society.
You will be able to enter into our labs and see some of the research going on there, as well as conduct some of your own experiments at home. You are at the beginning of a journey into the hidden world of life all around you. Why not introduce yourself in the comment area below and keep an eye out for our student mentors who will be here to guide you through the course discussion.

Hello and welcome to ‘Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology’, a three week course produced by the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Reading.

I’m Dr Glyn Barrett, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University and I’m delighted to present this online course. The academic content was developed by my colleague, Dr Geraldine Mulley, Teaching Fellow and Admissions Tutor for BSc Microbiology taught at the University of Reading.

Microbes may be invisible to the eye, but they dominate every environment on Earth – including you. On this course, you’ll explore a general introduction to the field of microbiology and investigate the amazing diversity of microbial life.

Meet the team

Each week I’ll be meeting with my colleagues from the Department of Microbiology and Department of Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Reading.

In the course discussions, Dr Mulley and I will be joined by course mentors Agnieszka Mrozinska and Megan Dymond between Monday 5th October and Friday 6th November. You may like to ‘Follow’ the team, to view their responses to common queries. By doing this, any comments made will appear in your activity feed on your profile, which you can filter by ‘Following’. To follow a profile, click on the link to their profile and select the pink ‘Follow’ button under their biography.

Additional resources

To help you as you move through this course, we’ve provided some additional materials which you may like to keep to hand as you work through each week:

Glossary To help you get to grips with the terminology used within the course, we have provided a glossary which you may want to print and keep to hand as you go through the course. The glossary can be found at the beginning of each week.
Notes template The layout of this editable PDF template matches the Step structure of the course. You may like to print this and use it to take notes against each Step as you work through the course. Alternatively, you can download it and edit it on screen. You’ll need the free version of the Acrobat Reader software to download, save and work on the file. You can work directly on the web version but note that your work will not be saved.
Additional resources You will find additional resources at the end of any Step where we feel further information may be helpful to provide additional context around the themes explored. These will usually be under the ‘Downloads’ or ‘See also’ headings.

Now you’ve met the team and know what to expect from the course, we’d really like to meet you.

What interests you most about microbes? Which area of microbiology do you feel is most important to you; health, food or environment? What are you hoping to gain from the course?

If you’re mentioning the course on social media let us know by tagging us with #FLintromicrobiology on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Small and Mighty: Introduction to Microbiology

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