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Ann Anat. 2010 Dec 20;192(6):383-7. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2010.01.008. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

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

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Institute of Pathology, Medical Faculty of the RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.


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.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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