Course Title: Perform microscopic examination

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: ONPS5656C

Course Title: Perform microscopic examination

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5283 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing)

Course Contact: Amberlee Mitton

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8053

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Andrea McAdam  

Nominal Hours: 40

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

there are no pre-requisites or co-requisites for this course


Course Description

This unit of competency covers the ability to set up a light microscope for optimum resolution, to prepare routine samples and to observe, identify and report sample characteristics. There will be 16 hours of scheduled classes in the laboratory to practise your technical skills and the remaining hours are for you to engage with the online learning materials provided and complete self assessment.


National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

MSL973007A Perform microscopic examination


1. Interpret test requirements

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Review test request to identify samples to be tested, test method and equipment involved
1.2 Identify hazards associated with the sample, preparation methods, reagents and equipment and implement enterprise control measures


2. Set up work area for preparation and examination of samples

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Collect equipment and reagents and arrange the workspace so that equipment can be used safely and efficiently
2.2 Perform pre-use and safety checks to ensure equipment is fit for purpose and report faulty or unsafe equipment to appropriate personnel
2.3 Check reagents are fit for purpose and report any items that require replacement


3. Prepare samples for examination

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Log and label samples according to enterprise procedures to ensure traceability
3.2 Check suitability of the original and prepared sample for the examination and report unsuitable samples to appropriate personnel
3.3 Prepare and store the sample for examination following enterprise methods


4. Set up and use a light microscope

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Set up the light path to optimise resolution
4.2 Select the appropriate objectives and filter for the sample being examined
4.3 Ensure that the lenses are clean
4.4 Adjust settings and alignment of the light path to optimise performance
4.5 Place sample correctly on the stage



5. Observe, identify and report sample characteristics

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Recognise and identify significant sample characteristics
5.2 Perform required calculations accurately
5.3 Prepare and view control samples and check that results are consistent with expected values
5.4 Identify and report 'out of specification' or atypical results promptly to appropriate personnel
5.5 Record and report data in accordance with enterprise procedures


6. Maintain a safe work environment

Performance Criteria:

6.1 Ensure safety and minimise cross contamination through the use of personal protective clothing and safety equipment
6.2 Handle all samples and equipment in accordance with enterprise safety protocols
6.3 Clean up spills using appropriate techniques to protect personnel, work area and environment
6.4 Minimise generation of waste and environmental impacts
6.5 Collect and dispose of all wastes safely
6.6 Report hazards and incidents to designated personnel using enterprise procedures.

Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Laboratory classes with instructional talks and practical bench work
Keeping records in a laboratory logbook
Online material and review questions
Interactive tutorials

Teaching Schedule

Fri 12 Feb
1-1 Introduction to microscopy
1-2 Handling laboratory material Laboratory safety

Week 2
Fri 19 Feb
2-1 Making and viewing wet preparations
2-2 Labelling and documenting samples

Week 3
Fri 26 Feb
3-1 Blood components
3-2 Hair structure
3-3 Field of view & measuring objects

Week 4
Fri 4 Mar
4-1 Ways to count cells
4-2 Staining and mounting cell preparations

Week 5
Fri 11 Mar
5-1 Using microscopy in the workplace, storing samples
5-2 Track moving organisms
Teacher-supervised microscope set-up in small groups

Week 6
Fri 18 Mar
6-1 Oil immersion

Week 7
Thurs 24 Mar – Wed 30 Mar MID-SEMESTER BREAK

Fri 1 April
Revision PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT – Set up microscope

Week 8

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

Laboratory Practical Manual, online notes, class handouts
Access to RMIT Library, Internet

Overview of Assessment

Assessments for this course typically consist of:
• Class activities
• Assignments
• Presentations
• Exams

Assessment Tasks

Assessments for this course consist of:

Log book records and exercises reviewed weekly

Performance of microscopy skills. These may be assessed during classes and at final practical assessment

Written test based on online questions, integrating theoretical & practical knowledge

All assessment types must be completed to a satisfactory standard to pass this course.

Assessment Matrix

1. Logbook record of practical classes and post-class exercises (S/NYS).
    At least five out of six practical classes must be completed.

2. Practical assessment: set up a biological sample and examine it microscopically (S/NYS)

3. Written test (S/NYS) 75% pass considered satisfactory

Other Information

This course is graded in accordance with competency-based assessment
CA- Competency Achieved
NYC- Not Yet Competent
DNS- Did Not Submit for assessment

  • All assessment types must be passed (exams, prac, and assignments etc.).You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the tests but fail the prac component).
  • Attendance at practical classes is compulsory. A minimum of 80% attendance is required to pass this course. If you are sick you should submit a medical certificate to 6th floor office addressed to the Program Coordinator
  • Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected.
  • APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SUBMISSION OF ASSESSABLE WORK- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available online at least 24 hours before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51, or emailed to the Coordinator (
  • Students requiring extensions longer than 7 days must apply for Special Consideration (see the ‘Help me’ link in blackboard, via myRMIT studies or For missed assessments such as exams - you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged online with supporting evidence (e.g. medical certificate), prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination.


Course Overview: Access Course Overview