University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover


The Academic Technology Showcase provides members of the University community an opportunity to show colleagues how they are using technology to drive innovation in teaching, learning, and research.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012
11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Great Hall, Coffman Memorial Union

Topic: Technology-Enhanced Laboratories

Implementation of Virtual Microscopy in an Undergraduate Hematology Morphology Course

Hematology morphology is traditionally taught using a microscope and glass slides. Glass slides can break and fade over time and are a limited physical resource. To investigate the potential for statewide implementation of digital microscopy in laboratory science education, we tested its efficacy in our hematology morphology course. All slides from our library were digitally scanned and could be viewed from 2X to 830X using commercially available software. The digital slides could be examined by students in all manners similar to slides on a microscope with the exception of fine focusing. The majority of slides were accompanied by a case history and represented both normal samples and abnormal hematopathologies. All students completed the lecture portion of the course as one group. Students were randomly assigned to the treatment group of Virtual Microscopy (VM) for the laboratory portion and students not assigned to VM completed the laboratory portion using Traditional Microscopy (TM) 3 hours per week. Both TM and VM groups were balanced demographically. VM students accessed the digital slide library using a computer via the internet. Three qualitative surveys were conducted throughout the semester to assess perception, preparedness and expectations. Student scores on practical exams and final course totals were compared. While historical comparison demonstrates that overall grade distribution during the study did not differ from previous years, VM student performance was statistically better than TM student performance within the current cohort of students

Stephen Wiesner, Assistant Professor
Mauri Brueggeman, Teaching Specialist
Cheryl Swinehart, Assistant Professor
Janice Conway-Klaassen, Assistant Professor/Program Director
Center for Allied Health Programs

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Last modified on May 21, 2013.