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Foundations for True Biology Online Labs at MOOC Scale - Promo


Welcome to the Stanford Online Mini-Course "Interactive Microbiology and Foundations of Scientific Practice." In this course you will learn about some fascinating phenomena at the microscopic living world - and at the same time practice the key aspects of the scientific method.

Also, note that the total number of participants is restricted for each session. If a session is already full - please try to sign up for another one.

Upcoming Sessions:

Session 7: August 30 - September 4

Session 8: September 6 - September 11

Session 9: September 13 - September 18

About This Course

This is a mini-course with short identical week-long course sessions that will give you a firsthand experience on how microscopic single celled organism 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 lean and practice the key components of the scientific method.

The goals of these course sessions 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 through water, how to detect light, and how these activities are enabled by some building blocks ("organelles") of the the cell. You will also explore interactive models that help you understand how all these parts work together to achieve robust light response behavior.

(3) Be (or become) a scientist and practice the essential components of the scientific method! Explore yourself - perform your own experiments, observations, analyses - and draw your own conclusions. These skills translate to many other scientific projects you may undertake in the future.


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

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will the sessions be available?

Each session will run for one week. You can enroll in them during that time. Sessions will become inactive and archived after they are run.

Do I get any credit or a certificate?

No, the course sessions do not offer any kind of credit or certification.

Do the course sessions include the ability to earn a Statement of Accomplishment?


Do you have an attendance limit - and what should I do if the course is already full?

Yes - we do have a limit of how many participants we can accommodate in any give course offering. If you first choice is already full - then sign up for another one. In case of very high demand - we will make more course offerings avaiable in the near future.  

Course Staff

Ingmar Riedel-Kruse

Assistant Professor Bioengineering Stanford


Zahid Hossain

Graduate Student Bioengineering and Computer Science