PATH 417 Bacterial Infections in Humans (3 credits)

This course is next offered in January 2025.

Course Description
Students acquire content relating to the virulence factors of the bacteria and the pathophysiology of the host while working through infectious disease case scenarios on their own and in online groups. Students taking this course must be willing to engage in both self-directed and small-group learning.

Intended Audience

This course is an upper level Infectious Diseases course suitable for self-directed motivated learners in the 4th or 5th (unclassified or postgraduate degree) year of their studies in the sciences or health sciences. (Exceptions may be made for highly motivated 3rd year students)

What Do I Need To Take This Course?

  • An Introductory Medical Microbiology and Immunology course such as UBC’s MICB 212. The PATH417 course assumes an introductory level knowledge of medical microbiology and immunology. Experience has taught us that students without this prerequisite cannot participate adequately in this course.
  • Anatomy and/or physiology undergraduate courses are an asset.
  • Because this course is delivered entirely online you need access to a computer with a reasonably fast internet connection and a basic familiarity with word processing and web browsing.
  • The learning style associated with this course requires students to be: (i) self-motivated learners; and, (ii) capable of meaningful interaction in a small group setting.

Course Logistics

During the first week of the course students introduce themselves to each other, learn about the various learning modalities in this course (e.g. case based learning and journaling) and are organized into learning groups. During the ensuing 12 weeks of the term, students are introduced to a new case every three weeks, (leading to a total of 4 cases in the course).

Each case consists of a narrative with four accompanying questions directing the students’ learning about: clinical presentation of infectious diseases; the diagnostic role of the microbiology laboratory; bacterial pathogenesis; and, the host immune response. Students learn the course material by probing the answers to these questions: (i) on their own, accessing a range of online material while charting their advancing knowledge in an online journal/e-portfolio; (ii) in learning groups wherein they discuss each other’s individual answers eventually arriving at a group answer to the case question; (iii) each group then posts their answers on a group Wiki from which all students learn. Students are required to document their learning throughout the three weeks of the case in their e-portfolios which are submitted to the instructors for feedback and marking at the end of each case. The individualized feedback is designed to further drive each student’s learning.


Student’s performance in this course is evaluated as follows:

  • 50% of the mark is for the learning journals submitted at the end of the first week of each case.
  • 20% of the mark is for the summaries of the Wiki information presented by your peers, compiled during the third week of the case.
  • 30% of the mark is for your contribution to the interactive group learning process that drives this course. This will be evaluated using the following criteria: (i) meaningful contribution to the group’s learning; (ii) continuous involvement in the teaching and learning process; (iii) fostering the learning environment for others.

What Will I Learn as a Result of Taking This Course?

This course teaches both skills and knowledge. By the time you have finished this course you will have learnt how to:

  • Name the bacteria most commonly associated with infections in humans using a body systems approach.
  • Conceptualize the steps required to establish a bacterial infection in humans.
  • Compare and contrast the pathogenic mechanisms of bacteria associated with human infections.
  • Describe common clinical presentations (signs and symptoms) of infectious diseases.
  • Outline the role of the immune response in the pathophysiology of infectious diseases.
  • Understand the role of the clinical microbiology laboratory in diagnosing infectious diseases
  • Meaningfully contribute in a small group learning setting
  • Direct your own learning while availing of online resources.
  • Reflect upon your learning and set learning goals

Is This Course for Me?

Are you a self-motivated learner and able to meet established deadlines? Do you enjoy working as part of a group? Are you interested in microbial pathogenesis and infectious diseases? Being a 3 credit course means that you will be expected to spend approx. 6 hours a week on this course – have you made space in your timetable for this? Do you enjoy using a computer to communicate (or, are you willing to give it a try)? If you answered yes to all of the above then this course may very well be for you.

Technical Requirements
This is an online course. Click here ( for more information about Canvas.

This course outline is subject to change. The official outline for this course can be found within the Canvas course site.