Cooperating Lab

What is a Cooperating Laboratory?

Any student who is considered a "distance learner" and is enrolled in the Web-blended Medical Laboratory Technology courses of Des Moines Area Community College's (DMACC's) MLT Program must have a Cooperating Lab. It is the student's responsibility to solicit the support of a Cooperating Laboratory.

To help in the student's solicitation of a laboratory, please see the list of Frequently Asked Questions below about the Role of the Cooperating Lab.

The potential cooperating laboratory must then submit to the DMACC MLT Program Chair:

This documentation is REQUIRED by DMACC, the sponsoring program, as well as by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences, the organization that accredits the DMACC MLT program.

The Cooperating Laboratory must also submit the following information to the MLT Program Chair upon request:

  • Alisting of major items of equipment in the laboratory
  • Current test "menu" for each instrument
  • A listing of current instructional resources including:
    • Current reference books - Author(s). (Publication Date) Title. Publisher EXAMPLE: Phelan, S. E. (1999) Phlebotomy review guide. Chicago: ASCP
    • Periodicals
    • Prepared slides, stock cultures, A-V materials, etc
  • Time Logs for students
  • Reference List

Frequently Asked Questions
About the Role of the Cooperating Laboratory

What is the role of a "Cooperating Laboratory?"
The primary role of the Cooperating Laboratory is to provide basic skill development for distance learners enrolled in the "Web-blended" option of the Medical Laboratory Technology Program at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). The "hands-on" instruction in the Cooperating Laboratory is to "mirror" the basic training received in the on-campus DMACC MLT Laboratory.

As a Cooperating Laboratory you agree to allow personnel from your laboratory to provide direct on-site supervision and basic bench instruction related to performance of routine laboratory procedures, to evaluate respective laboratory competencies, to serve as proctors for various examinations, and to give other valuable assistance as needed.

How much time per week is the student expected to be in the Cooperating Laboratory for the specified learning experiences?
The student is expected to spend the same amount of time in their Cooperating Laboratory as an on-campus student would spend in the on-campus MLT laboratory for the same course. Some courses have no laboratory component; others require anywhere from 4-8 hours per week. For some courses, students may have to spend 2-4 consecutive days in the Cooperating Lab.

A student taking the entire MLT program as a distance learner would need to document approximately the following number of hours each semester:

  • Term 1 (Fall semester - 15 weeks) - 4 hours per week
  • Term 2 (Spring semester - 15 weeks) - 4 hours per week
  • Term 3 (Summer term - 10 weeks) - estimated 8+ hours per week
  • Term 4 (Fall semester - 15 weeks) - 8 hours per week

Hours may be adjusted slightly on the weeks that the student is required to attend class on the DMACC campus.

How does the student document their learning experiences?
Students keep a Time Log that details the amount of time they are in the cooperating laboratory. The Time Log must be signed by the person who is supervising their learning experience.

When do the courses start and finish?
Generally, the Fall semester begins at the end of August and ends in mid-December; the Spring semester begins in mid-January and ends in mid-May. In unusual circumstances a student may receive a grade of "I" (incomplete) grade and extend the time to complete the course. The Cooperating Site Coordinator will be included in communication about and planning for course completion when a student chooses to take an "I".

For what courses would DMACC require a Cooperating Laboratory experience?
All DMACC MLT courses taught in Terms 1-4 (excluding the Principles of Phlebotomy class) have a lab component. The final semester (Term 5) is the student's clinical rotation; this is treated differently than the experience in the Cooperating Laboratory.

The Cooperating Laboratory could serve as a student's "practice lab" for all classes with a lab component in Terms 1-4. Hours the students is required to spend in a Cooperating Lab depends on each individual student's curriculum plan. The student can tell you how many and which courses he or she is taking. Use of a Cooperating Lab also depends on the volume and variety of testing and staffing situation at the Cooperating Lab. The DMACC MLT Program Chair and Faculty, upon review of information about the potential Cooperating Lab, will determine its suitability to be a Cooperating Laboratory for the various courses in the MLT Program.

Who are the instructors for the courses and how can we contact them?
The DMACC MLT instructors are:

Karen Campbell, Program Chair and Instructor - 515-964-6296 (or 1-800-362-2127, ext. 6296); Email:

Michelle Erickson, Instructor - 515-965-6023 (or 1-800-362-2127, ext. 6023); Email:

The student can tell you the name of the instructor for each course.