HISTOLOGY RESOURCES FOR PROMOTING BLENDED LEARNING
1 De Montfort University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 IMIDRA, Departamento de Investigación Agroambiental (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Human health courses at universities are facing different challenges to provide students with real laboratory experiences due to the combination of large course cohorts with a shortage of academic staff, resources and time. Future health professionals are encouraged to have a complete understanding of human anatomy and histology as well as to have some pathology and diagnostic skills including the necessary skills to use a microscope. However, students often find learning histology challenging as they usually need to learn how to use a microscope in a limited time during a practical timetabled with several peers, in which they are also required to undertake other activities such as tissue embedding, cutting and staining. To address these factors, different web-based resources have been made available to enhance learning of anatomy and histology, however they are directed to medical students so their use by non-medical students (e.g. pharmacy, biomedical science, nursing, etc.) is limited due to their complexity. As a result, De Montfort University (DMU, UK) is leading an international project to develop an on-line package for teaching and learning biology, named DMU e-Biology, which will cover not only the foundation but also the latest scientific knowledge on human biology. This novel resource is also equipped with a Virtual Microscope and a Virtual Laboratory. The Virtual Laboratory will present different subsections with a range of units regarding biomedical techniques and equipment, which will be developed following previous successful experience from the team. Units will be highly engaging and will contain short videos of academics and/or technicians working hands-on with equipment and/or techniques shown to bring the laboratory to the student’s house. Videos will be enhanced with audio and subtitles in English and the user will be able to complete a series of voluntary self-assessments throughout each unit to enhance engagement and self-assessment by providing the user with tools to evaluate their acquisition of knowledge. A subsection will cover all the elements to perform routine histological techniques in a biomedical laboratory, including the use and practicalities of the microtome, how to perform paraffin embedding and tissue sampling, and common staining techniques such as haematoxylin & eosin (H&E) and periodic acid–Schiff stain (PAS). The histology section will be publicly available from the DMU website in 2018 here http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/ebiology/biologyLaboratory_units.htm. Additionally, this resource is supported by a virtual microscope in which the user will be able to explore a library of virtual histological slides from different human tissues and organs; the virtual microscope will transfer the practicalities of a microscope to study human histology. These resources will be tested with first year BSc Biomedical Science and BMedSci Medical Science students enrolled in the module Basic Anatomy and Physiology at DMU by implementing blended learning, i.e. a pedagogy that integrates e-learning resources and materials with formal teaching (lectures, workshops and practicals), as different studies have pointed out that this pedagogy can enhance self-learning and facilitate acquisition of knowledge and long-term retention of information. This paper will provide a description of these novel resources and explore their practicalities with non-medical science students.
Keywords: Histology, blended learning, virtual microscope, virtual resources.