Reflection: Accountability Basics of Microbiology Lab: Gram-Staining - Section 5: Elaborate


As computer based laboratory training reaches the labs of many commercial as well as academic research labs the debate about the use of virtual, digital, and online training labs and simulations rages on! As an instructor and facilitator of lab training for over twenty years, I have always found the use of virtual labs and simulations BEFORE conducting the actual lab investigation a positive due to the exposure students and my professional colleagues had to the protocol vocabulary and workflow, visuals of the lab equipment, and ease at which they transferred their skills and knowledge to the actual lab environment when called upon to do so. However, I was convinced this was a practice I wanted to continue once I read this student's reflection explaining the impact the countless mandatory virtual pre-labs required in order for students to gain access to our community lab had on this students learning! The student identifies the following reasons why having access to the online, digital training labs were beneficial:

- "I never felt too apprehensive or lost in a lab since we have started completing the virtual laboratory experiments...."

- "The images and techniques that we actually use in our classroom laboratory are very similar, if not exact, to the ones used in the online courses.

- "The similarity in the instruments allow students to become more familiar and comfortable when they are ready to conduct any experiment."

  Accountability: Using Virtual, Online Labs and Simulations as Pre-Lab Experiences - A Student's View
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Basics of Microbiology Lab: Gram-Staining

Unit 5: Basic Tools of the Biotechnology Workplace
Lesson 8 of 12

Objective: Students will be able to perform a Gram Staining Assay in order to determine if a contamination has occurred in a bacterial culture presumed to be sterile.

Big Idea: Student can apply the basic concepts of cell growth to manipulate cultures under aseptic conditions in the laboratory to address a real-world problem.

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