Enhancing the learning experience? A Comparison of optical and virtual microscope laboratories in histology and pathology
Nicholls, Philip K.
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With pressure on universities to teach larger class sizes with fewer resources university teachers are increasingly looking to technology to enhance student learning. A trial comparing virtual and optical microscopes in the faceto- face teaching of histology and pathology labs was undertaken. The laboratory classes were delivered to third year Chiropractic undergraduates, studying full-time on-campus. The students were randomly allocated to either virtual or optical microscopy in their labs. Students were asked to reflect on their learning experiences with the microscopes. Data presented shows the students perceptions of their learning experiences with the microscopes, and suggests that virtual microscopes were easy to use and were used for self-directed study by students. It also suggests that while optical microscopes may promote more group discussion of histology and pathology in laboratory settings they were harder to use than the virtual microscopes.