The class of 2013 has big plans; read all about it and see lists of local grads in this section.
Advanced scientific concepts
Students are offered a flexible and self-paced environment.
Embracing techniques of 21st century learning and the use of a state-of-the-art laboratory, Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax is introducing a series of Cyberscience classes this coming school year. These hybrid online courses are advanced semester science electives, consisting of a self-paced, online course, with bimonthly afternoon laboratory sessions in the school’s Bio-Safety Level 2 Laboratory.
Because they are predominantly online, Cyberscience courses are open not only to PVI students, but to all local high school students, including home school students.
The course content was written and labs will be conducted by biology teachers Michael Potter and Eileen Liberti.
“Cyberscience course topics are unusual at the high school level. They offer students planning to study science in college an opportunity to distinguish themselves and experience advanced laboratory techniques while still in high school,” Liberti said.
Cyberscience students will learn concepts they would typically have to wait until college to cover. This fall, the microbiology course will review microbial anatomy and metabolism before focusing on infectious diseases, microbial genetics, and immunology. Students will complete exercises in bacterial transformation, cloning and induction of genetic activity.
Genetics in the spring will explore experiments using the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Students will explore the field of molecular genetics by performing experiments where they will transfer genetic information from one organism to another, amplify DNA and induce genetic expression.
In addition to covering advanced concepts and technologies while still in high school, the self-paced nature and flexibility of the courses are a benefit to offering these hybrid classes.
“With students being so busy, taking a hybrid class will mean that they have more time for electives and fine arts in their schedule. The time commitment for seasonal sports may make full year AP courses difficult. By taking courses online, students have the flexibility to explore all their areas of interest,” Liberti said.
Cyberscience students will benefit from the unique nature of an online class as they look toward being more independent learners in college. “The flexibility of online learning is a quality of 21st century learning and will encourage students to take ownership over their own learning,” said Tom Opfer, academic dean. “Students take ownership of their education as they build knowledge, skills and collegiality as a community of learners,” said Liberti. “We are very excited to start our Cyberscience program with our first group of students this fall.”