Microbiology Students Have New Tool in Labs -- iPads

October 12, 2016 -- Students in CNM’s microbiology classes on Main and Westside campuses are learning in a way only a few other colleges around the country offer. For the first time, they are using computer tablets for notetaking in the labs.
Microbiology Students Have New Tool in Labs -- iPads

Oct 12, 2016

“The iPads replace a carbon paper method where students took notes and carried only carbon copies away with them,” said Patricia Wilber, microbiology instructor. “It was a very cumbersome process.”

Now, two labs, one on Main Campus and the other on Westside Campus, are outfitted with 25 tablets each. The tablets, purchased through the Carl Perkins Grant, stay in the labs and are used by 15 classes during the week. Students log into the computers, which are directly linked to a CNM computer drive used by students and instructors. When students save their notes and drawings, they easily retrieve it from the CNM computer drive.

The reason for nothing be carried out of the labs is because the labs are classified microbiology laboratories where students work with bacteria, which are potential pathogens.  As a result, the students are not allowed to bring their own laptops into the lab, a requirement which made learning difficult. The intent of the tablets is to reduce the possibility of micro-organisms leaving the lab.

Students use the tablets in the labs to access relevant documents, to watch video-based instructions for the lab work and to record the results of their work as would be expected in a hospital lab. The tablets enable the students to digitally document various procedures and include photos and drawing in their original state.

“Most of the students taking these microbiology classes are going into healthcare,” Wilber noted. “We follow all the protocols of a microbiology laboratory, which include sterile techniques, because the students need to be trained to use them when they start their new positions.”