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Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2013 Nov-Dec;41(6):377-83. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20733. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Virtual immunology: software for teaching basic immunology.

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Laboratory of Cellular Communication, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


As immunology continues to evolve, many educational methods have found difficulty in conveying the degree of complexity inherent in its basic principles. Today, the teaching-learning process in such areas has been improved with tools such as educational software. This article introduces "Virtual Immunology," a software program available free of charge in Portuguese and English, which can be used by teachers and students in physiology, immunology, and cellular biology classes. We discuss the development of the initial two modules: "Organs and Lymphoid Tissues" and "Inflammation" and the use of interactive activities to provide microscopic and macroscopic understanding in immunology. Students, both graduate and undergraduate, were questioned along with university level professors about the quality of the software and intuitiveness of use, facility of navigation, and aesthetic organization using a Likert scale. An overwhelmingly satisfactory result was obtained with both students and immunology teachers. Programs such as "Virtual Immunology" are offering more interactive, multimedia approaches to complex scientific principles that increase student motivation, interest, and comprehension.


cellular biology; immunology; software; teaching

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