Journal Article
. 2010 Apr; 192(6):383-7.
doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2010.01.008.

Web-based virtual microscopy at the RWTH Aachen University: didactic concept, methods and analysis of acceptance by the students

Magdalene Merk 1 Ruth Knuechel  Alberto Perez-Bouza  
  • PMID: 20363112
  •     8 citations


Fundamental knowledge of microscopic anatomy and pathology has always been an essential part in medical education. The traditional didactic concept comprises theoretical and practical lessons using a light microscope and glass slides. High-speed Internet connections and technical improvement in whole-slide digital microscopy (commonly termed "virtual microscopy") provide a new and attractive approach for both teachers and students. High picture quality and unlimited temporal and spatial availability of histology samples from different fields are key advantages of web-based digital microscopy. In this report we discuss the technical requirements, system efficiency, optical resolution and didactic concept. Furthermore, we present a review of the experience gained in the course of one year based on an analysis of student acceptance. Three groups with a total of 192 students between the 3rd and 5th year of medical studies attending the practical courses of general and advanced histopathology had access to both glass-mounted and digitalized slides. Prior to exams, students were asked to answer an anonymous questionnaire. The results of the study reflect the high acceptance and intensive use of the web-based digital histology by students, thus encouraging the development of further Web-based learning strategies for the teaching of histology and pathology.

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