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Final Exam

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Course Overview and Introduction


This Facilitators Manual is designed to support offering the Biosafety, Biosecurity and the Evaluation of Biohazards Course in its entirety in graduate schools of public health or related institutions or programs. In addition, the Facilitators Manual provides the opportunity for various segments of the course or modules to be offered as stand-alone educational programs. These may be most appropriate for continuing education initiatives for professionals in various disciplines. For a printable version, click here.


The Facilitators Manual is comprised of the following:

  1. Information on how to prepare, plan and organize each module independently and the entire course as a whole
  2. Educational tools, such as presentation slides, handouts, videos, site visit and assignment recommendations
  3. Assessment tools, such as pre- and post-tests
  4. Training tools, such as tips on scheduling, training activities and time management

Adapting the Manual

Teaching and learning are complex processes. Knowing a specific topic is only the first step in a teaching process. Knowing your audience and their expectations and needs is equally important. In addition, individual teaching styles differ. Although this Manual has been based upon the basic principles of adult learning outlined below, you are encouraged to adapt any aspect of the Manual to best suit your teaching style and the needs of your audience.

Thus, this Manual provides recommendations for offering a course or specific modules within it. It will be your personal changes to the suggested activities in this publication that will individualize the course or training session and thus most closely fulfill the needs of your participants.

Offering the course or modules

Familiarize yourself with this Facilitators Manual and identify any requirements of your host institution. Carefully plan each one of the training / teaching sessions following the recommendations in the Manual, while feeling comfortable to make changes as necessary to best suit the needs of your participants / learners. Make sure that you know the needs and expectations of your participants, and that you clearly and accurately explain the scope of the course or training sessions to them.

In brief: Principles of adult learning

Although this might differ across cultures and personal preferences, in general, adults learn best as active participants rather than passive recipients of information. This Manual is designed to provide you with recommendations on how to incorporate scientific information and present it in an entertaining and educational manner, couples with specifically designed exercises and assessments that will enhance the learning process. You will note that the Manual will incorporate use of presentations with small group activities, case study analyses, large group discussions, interactive and other media, and site visits. As the instructor, you will be responsible for choosing the optimal set of possible exercises (or adapting the recommended ones) to best suit your participants needs.

Course Description

This course will provide an overview of the field of biological safety and its application to the control biohazards in a wide variety of settings for students at all levels who are interested in the epidemiology of microbial diseases.

Students will review biohazards associated with occupational laboratory acquired infections, and examine select case studies to identify critical biosafety lapses. The course will teach participants how to perform a comprehensive qualitative risk assessment for biohazards and learn how to employ the control strategies to appropriately manage these risks. Course concepts can be applied to the control of biohazards during the review of proposed research involving biohazards, along with emphasizing protective measures when addressing incidents involving biohazards, such as emergency spills or bioterrorism related events. The course will provide multiple opportunities to gain direct hands-on experience and review key course concepts through interactive exercises, case studies and site visits.

Course Pre-Requisites

There are no specific pre-requisites. However, some background in microbiology and molecular biology will help the students.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Course Instructor

This course was offered by a Biosafety Officer with comprehensive practical experience in the field. However, professionals with related but different backgrounds may serve as course instructors. We encourage any course instructor to partner with practitioners with diverse backgrounds related to biosafety and biohazard evaluation in order to enhance students learning experience.

Suitable adjunct faculty to provide assistance with the course include: a microbiology professor, the chair of an institutions biological safety committee, an industrial hygienist, a representative from the building services group at an institution, a representative from the local public health department, leaders from the institutions police, fire and safety emergency response teams, local town or city emergency responders, and a representative from an institutions animal care and use committee or animal resources center.


This course has been geared towards:

The course may be easily adapted to suit other audiences, such as undergraduate students, first responders, etc., thus this Manual will use the terms students and participants interchangeably throughout the text.

Course Length

Number of credits: 2 to 3 credit hours

Course duration: 14 weeks (2 hours per week)

This course could be offered as an intensive course over a month.

Also, many of the lectures can be offered as stand alone seminars. The following lectures lend themselves to this feature:

Course Format

The course consists of weekly lectures consisting of a variety of pedagogical tools, including presentations, in-class exercises, videos, and guest lectures. Field trips to various facilities will help further reinforce course concepts. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to work in a group format to participate in microbiological sampling in the field and in a team presentation exercise.

Estimated Work Load

Participants are expected to spend 7–10 hours per week on the course. This estimate includes time spent in class, on tours, reading, and completing assignments.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to:

Course Policies

Please follow your institution's policies. Some recommendations include:

Recommended Assignments

Each of the recommended assignments below have been designed to provide the students with an opportunity to practice what they learned in lecture or reinforce key concepts discussed during the course. Students will gain direct experience with pertinent biosafety evaluation methods in team and individual formats.

Risk Assessment Exercise

Students may produce a written report that researchers and documents the 5 Ps of Risk Assessment and Risk Management (Pathogen, Procedures, Protective Equipment, Personnel, and Place), from one of 10 sample situations. Students may also select their own pathogen and scenario to complete the Risk Assessment Exercise, but should confirm the agent and proposed example with the course instructor.

Bioaerosol/Environmental Microbiology Sampling Exercise

For this exercise, the students should work in groups to develop a hypothesis about an environment (of potential concern) of their choice. Students should then develop a biological sampling strategy and work with the course instructor to collect samples to test the hypothesis. The group should analyze the data and work together to write and submit a formal written analysis of the condition or area sampled. Students may receive a team grade for the project that will be assessed on the groups participation in the project, the quality of the written report and the strength of the justification for the analysis and recommendations made by the group.

Point/Counterpoint Challenge

For this exercise participants may be asked to work in teams to debate a certain topic in a mock court setting with a jury of their peers. Students would be assigned to one side of a contentious biosafety argument and should work with their teams to research their assigned positions and develop a persuasive argument for presentation to a student jury for determination of the winning argument. Each team will receive a grade based on the depth of their research, strength of their argument and quality of their presentations.

Regulatory Policy Comparison Exercise

This is a homework exercise that requires the students to read one existing state biosafety regulation and compare it to proposed state biosafety regulation, developing an argument for which regulation would be the most effective at protecting workers.

Facility Commissioning Exercise

This in-course interactive exercise and tour may be part of the students overall class participation grade. Students will visit an inactive BSL-3 laboratory to gain hands-on experience with verification of physical facility function. The course instructor and a representative from the building services group should provide an orientation and training for the equipment utilized to perform the verification. After the orientation, students would work together to monitor room pressure, airflow and perform key containment calculations. Worksheets will be provided to guide the students through the facility verification.

Grading Policy

If you are offering the course for credit, follow your institutions grading policies and requirements. Below is a recommended breakdown of possible scoring for each exercise:




Reading Assignments and Class Participation


Risk Assessment Exercise


Individual grade

Bioaerosol/Environmental Sampling Exercise


Team grade – all members of the team share the same grade

Point/Counterpoint Challenge


Team grade – all members of the team share same grade

Regulatory Policy Commissioning Exercise


Individual grade

Facility Commissioning Exercise


Individual grade

Final Exam


Individual grade


Honors = 91% – 100%
High Pass = 81% – 90%
Pass = 71% – 80%

Required Texts

Wilson, DL, Chosewood, LC., Editiors, 2007. CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 2007. Currently available online at:

Fleming, D.O., and Hunt, D.L., Biological Safety Principles and Practices, 4th Edition, ASM Press, Washington, D.C. 2006.

Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines), Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, April 2002. Available from the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (phone: 301-496-9838). Also available online at:

The readings are referred to with following acronyms throughout the test:

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