Skip to main content

Interactive Microbiology and Foundations of Scientific Practice

About This Course

This is a mini-course that will give you a firsthand experience on how microscopic single celled organisms can propel themselves through water and detect light - and then ultimately swim towards or away from this light source. At the same time you will learn and practice the key components of the scientific method.

The goals of this course are three fold:

(1) Become fascinated by the wonders of these small organisms and the world they live in - features that are usually hidden from the naked eye.

(2) Gain a quantitative understanding of how a microscopic cell can propel itself through water, how it can sense light, and how it then can swim towards or away from the light. You will learn how these activities are enabled by some cellular building blocks ("organelles"). You will also explore interactive models that help you understand how all these parts work together to achieve a robust light response behavior.

(3) Be (or become) a scientist and practice the essential components of the scientific method! Perform your own investigations, observe, analyze your data - and draw your conclusions. These skills translate to many other scientific projects you may undertake in the future.

Have fun!


There are no special requirements to take this course. We expect some curiousity about biology and interest to perform some simple data analysis. You need to work with (the freely available) "google spreadsheets" (or a similar data processing program like MS Excel).

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Ingmar Riedel-Kruse

Assistant Professor Bioengineering Stanford


Frequently Asked Questions

Does the course include the ability to earn a Statement of Accomplishment?

Yes, it is possible to earn a Statement of Accomplishment. You will need to complete graded assignments in the course with a total passing score of 50% or higher.

When does the course start and end?

This course is self-paced. We recommend to finish it within 2 weeks. The course takes participants (on average) 4 hours. The course is intended to be available for the next few years.

  1. Course Number

  2. Classes Start

  3. Estimated Effort

    4 hours
  4. Price


Our Research Community

Stanford University pursues the science of learning. Online learners are important participants in that pursuit. The information we gather from your engagement with our instructional offerings makes it possible for faculty, researchers, designers and engineers to continuously improve their work and, in that process, build learning science.

By registering as an online learner, you are also participating in research...

Read Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.