Biotechnology program takes lab and project approach to its lessons


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This article speaks to Centennial College's Biotechnology program, which takes two years to complete and consists of a practical approach that sees students spend an extensive amount of time in labs and on projects to ensure that they are fully prepared for the field.

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Biotechnology program takes lab and project approach to its lessons

  1. 1. Biotechnology Program Takes Lab and Project Approach to its Lessons Two ways to judge the validity of a college program are by student satisfaction indicators and by the accreditations it holds. The first proves that past students have found the offering beneficial. The second, meanwhile, shows that the industry respects the type of learning that it offers to students, supports program quality and provides mobility for graduates. Centennial College’s Biotechnology college program is a repeat recipient of the Centennial College President’s Academic Program Recognition Award for outstanding student satisfaction. Additionally, it has met the national technology accreditation requirements established by the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists (CCTT) and, as such, has received national accreditation status by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB). Lastly, the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT) recognizes the Biotechnology program as meeting all the academic requirements for certification in the Technician category. As such, graduates may apply for certification through the OACETT to use the professional Certified Technician designation. The curriculum takes two years to complete and consists of practical learning that sees students apply everything they learn in their theoretical courses into labs to prepare for careers as bench technicians (in quality control and quality assurance) in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Due to the range of industry options available to them, students must learn a number of topics. The offering covers industrial microbiology as well as chemistry (analytical), organic and biochemistry. Meanwhile, lab work includes appropriate safety procedures in carrying out: aseptic material handling, preparing specimen for staining, preparing microbiological media and reagents and culture pathogenic microbes, using microorganisms to examine pharmaceutical products; isolating, enumerating and identifying microorganisms from various types of samples; accurately regulating and using instruments that include pH and BOD meters, Gas Chromatographs, spectrophotometers (regular/IR/UV), HPLC’s etc; and designing and performing personalized microbiology experiments. Performing personalized experiments compliments the Biotechnology technician program’s project approach, which employs independently designed microbiology projects that enhance problem solving and research skills. During the first of the two major Project courses, students learn to
  2. 2. locate, collect and interpret scientific information for the purpose of designing laboratory procedures. Students work individually under the supervision of an experienced professor in a lab setting to perform the laboratory procedures and record the results. The project offers opportunities to consolidate the skills and techniques learned in first year Microbiology courses. Students use word processing and spreadsheet programs to record and interpret their data, and to write formal reports. The second Project course, meanwhile, sees students choose a project topic, gather information through literature search, select a protocol and perform a microbiology experiment of six weeks duration. Students submit several written reports as well as a final project thesis upon conclusion of the laboratory component.