Student Story: Victor Chiericoni, Community College of Baltimore County

Written by SI • May 30, 2024 •  2 min read
Student Story: Victor Chiericoni, Community College of Baltimore County Featured Image

Victor’s Online Lab Experience

As a college graduate, Victor decided to go back to school to become a surgical technician and began taking a series of lab courses, including biology, microbiology, and anatomy & physiology. These were a mix of online, in-person, and hybrid courses.

As a nontraditional student working full time in a hospital, Victor takes one course a semester and needs to find options that work with his schedule. He found that flexibility in the online lab courses the Community College of Baltimore County offered.

“At first, I was a little nervous about taking a bio lab online. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do these labs on my own, and it was the first time I had ever taken a class with a physical kit. “I felt really special getting the hands-on kit in the mail, and seeing everything that was included was so neat. I had all the resources, guidance, and support I would normally have in an in-person lab.”

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Victor found great value in doing both hands-on and virtual labs as a part of this experience. The virtual labs reinforced his learning and gave him the chance to repeat and practice as needed, going at his own pace. That mix was engaging, and he felt he was able to learn and retain more as a result.

“In the end, this experience was effective for my learning, and I attribute that to the hands-on labs. I felt like I had all the things I would normally have in an in-person lab from the equipment and materials to the guidance and resources of my instructor. The virtual labs that accompanied many of the hands-on labs also helped to reinforce my learning because I could repeat and practice as needed. This helped take away that fear of failure and nervousness I initially had.”     

My Most Memorable Lab: Cellular Respiration 
“There were so many I liked! If I had to pick just one, I would say the germination lab. It’s the most important stage in a plant’s life, and I love how it  truly reinforces the discipline of biology, which is in fact the study of life! I also really enjoyed ones where I was able to mix chemicals and see the results. I was nervous at first, but having all of the safety equipment and detailed instructions made it easy! The experiments were fun and relatable for me.”

Drawing Conclusions

Like any good experiment, you work your way through the scientific method to analyze the results, reflect on your findings, and draw your conclusions so you can move forward with new knowledge and ideas. 

So now that you’re at the end of your online lab course, tell us: what did you learn and what advice might you give after your experience?

For any students taking an online lab or blended course for the first time, I would tell them not to get too nervous about it. Once you start using the lab kits and simulations, you will find it really fun and interesting. Unlike the classroom, you get to go at your own pace and do it over and over again, which helps you retain more of the material and feel more prepared for your exams and to succeed. You’ll feel like you learned just as much you would in the on-campus courses.

“I would prefer if all my online lab courses used Science Interactive. They seem to work better for me in terms of learning. The cost is completely manageable, given I don’t have commuter costs now and save time, and even if it cost more, I would do it because I enjoyed it that much. I believe many other online classes out there should be interactive like this. Excellent idea!

Victor Chiericoni