There are three basic approaches that may be used to deliver an online microbiology lab experience:
- A blended lab (part traditional in-lab instruction, part online instruction)
- A totally online virtual experience
- MOC-Lab's online and hands-on approach.
Here are some thoughts...
Blended lab. If your institution is using MOC-Lab as part of a blended in-lab/distance learning course, a traditional science lab is being used for teaching hands-on microbiology technique. You will meet in a campus lab on a periodic basis to learn to streak plates, do Gram stains, and use a microscope. In such instances, there may extensive or little use of supplemental online lab instruction, depending on the desire of the instructor and resources available. MOC-Lab could be used to provide additional activities and enrichment, and more frequent exposure to lab topics than might otherwise be possible.
Total online virtual experience. Some institutions have moved to delivering microbiology lab online exclusively for some allied health programs. The focus of such labs tends to be more "microbe awareness" than extensive hands-on experience working with microbes. If MOC-Lab is used for the total lab experience, you may find your instructor sticks to the VUMIEtm 2012 Simulation and Scavenger Hunt activities alone for the delivery of the lab portion of the course. We believe this would still provide an acceptable degree of exposure to the "take-home messages" of a microbiology lab.
MOC online and hands-on approach. We believe a third alternative is also possible that uses the obvious advantages and cost efficiencies of online instruction, while still providing hands-on activities working with living microbes to provide a degree of exposure to the importance of aseptic technique. For this, we add in the hands-on experiences found in the Kitchen Microbiology activities. The idea is to provide a more scientific approach and perspective to the use of microbes in baking, something that is done safely in millions of homes each day. If your class adopts this approach, note that you must achieve an acceptable score on the quizzes for the "Safety in the Micro Lab" and "Safety in Kitchen Microbiology" activities before these are unlocked for you to proceed.
Please understand that MOC-Lab online microbiology has its own unique shopping list of items required to complete tasks. For Scavenger Hunts, you will often need to do online research, make trips to stores to find products, take photos or videos for submission to your instructor as evidence of completion. For Kitchen Microbiology, you will need to purchase common grocery and kitchen items for experiments, and possibly take photos or make videos for submitting your results to your instructor. Luckily, most students possess cell phones capable of providing adequate photos and videos for our purposes. Further details on the specifications for these submitted artifacts will be provided by your instructor.