Virtual Microscopy Practical Exam and Survey Results
Jennifer Neel1, Valarie Pallatto1, Carol Grindem1, David Bristol2
Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, 2Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University
The goal of this project is to implement the use of virtual microscopy in two courses within the veterinary
curriculum in the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at North Carolina State University; VMP 942 Clinical
Pathology and VMP 978 Immunology, Parasitology and Clinical Pathology. This semester, appropriate
hardware and software have been installed to support the virtual microscopy system and an initial set of 20 glass
slides have been scanned and installed on a locally housed served at the CVM. These slides were used in the
sophomore clinical pathology course VMP 942 and a student survey was administered.
Materials and Methods
Students enrolled in VMP 942 Clinical Pathology in the spring 2006 semester were administered a 20 point
practical cytology examination using glass slides and microscopes. The test consisted of 20 slides worth 1 point
a piece and students had to provide an interpretation of each slide. Two sets of 20 slides (A and B) were used to
allow the test to be administered to ½ of the class at a time. Sets were well matched and the interpretations for
each set were the same. A small diagnostic region of the slide was circled by the instructor (JN) and slides were
set into this region of the slide prior to the exam. Students had 2 minutes for each slide with 15 minutes at the
end of the test to review any slides they wished.
Students were then given the opportunity to retake the test using virtual slides. As incentive to take the exam,
students were awarded bonus points for participating and the highest of the two exams (traditional glass or
virtual) was recorded as the official score for each participating student; both exams were graded using the same
key. Ten slides from set A and 10 slides from set B were of the glass exam were selected for scanned, thus each
student taking the virtual exam was guaranteed to have 10 slides on the virtual exam that were identical to what
he or she viewed on the glass exam. Virtual slides were presented in a different order compared with the glass
practical exam slides. Students were shown how to use the software program at the time of the virtual exam and
were given the same amount of time to complete the exam as they had for the glass practical exam. There was
not a time limit per slide (students could choose how much or how little time to spend on each slide), and
students could view or review slides in any order. Compared with the glass slides, students had a much larger
region of the virtual slides to view. Three of the 20 virtual slides had a fine focus feature available. Students
were also required to complete a short anonymous survey at the time of the virtual exam (see Appendix A to
review the survey).
62 students (82.7% of enrolled students) completed the survey. Due to technical difficulties, only 55 students
(73.3% of enrolled students) completed the virtual exam for grading; 7 students were unable to compete the
virtual exam for grading purposes but felt able to complete the survey.
Virtual Test Results
8 students (14.5%) achieved a higher score on the virtual exam. Improvement ranged from 1 point to 4.5 points
with 4 gaining 1.5 points or less and 4 gaining 2 points or more. 7 students (12.7%) received the same grade on
the virtual exam as they did on the glass exam; 3 of these had perfect scores. 15 students (27.3%) lost between
0.5 and 1.5 points while 24 students (43.6%) lost 2 or more points on the virtual exam.
Students taking the virtual test were asked to complete a brief survey. They were asked to rate certain features of
the virtual microscopy system on a scale from 1 (excellent/I liked it a lot) to 5 (poor/I didn’t like it at all).
Ratings were as follows:
Virtual microscopy system features Number Rating
1 2 3 4 5
Ease of use 27(43.5%) 23(37.1%) 7(11.3%) 4(6.5%) 1(1.6%)
Resolution (ability to see detail) 4(6.5%) 19(30.6%) 19(30.6%) 12(19.4%) 8(12.9%)
Fine focus features 15(24.2%) 14(22.6%) 23(37.1%) 5(8.1%) 5(8.1%)
Small overview slide which shows your 31(50%) 16(25.8%) 8(12.9%) 5(8.1%) 1(1.6%)
location on the slide
Ability to use a computer instead of a 15(24.2%) 18(29%) 14(22.6%) 11(17.7%) 4(6.5%)
microscope to view slides
Overall, students responded most favorably for ease of use and for the small overview slide that shows the users
current location on the slide. Students also responded favorably to the fine focus feature and the ability to use a
computer to view slides instead of a microscope. Resolution was perceived less favorably with more than 60%
responding neutrally or unfavorably indicating some degree of dissatisfaction with this feature.
Students were asked to rate how much they DISLIKED certain features of the virtual microscopy system on a
scale from 1 (didn’t bother me at all) to 5 (bothered me a lot). Ratings were as follows:
Virtual microscopy system Number Rating
1 2 3 4 5
Time delay when moving around on 41(66.1%) 13(21%) 5(8.1%) 2(3.2%) 1(1.6%)
Time delay when using the fine- 40(64.5%) 13(21%) 6(9.7%) 2(3.2%) 0(0%)
Viewing the fine focus in a separate 33(53.2%) 16(25.8%) 7(11.3%) 3(4.8%) 2(3.2%)
Lack of a 100x objective view 23(37.1%) 14(22.6%) 17(27.4%) 7(11.3%) 4(6.5%)
Results indicate that most students were not bothered at all or very little by the time delay when moving around
on the slides or when using the fine focus feature. They were also not bothered much by viewing the fine focus
in a separate pop-up window. While most students were not bothered much by the lack of a 100x view, 45%
were neutral or viewed this as unfavorable.
Students were asked if they preferred the virtual microscopy system or the traditional glass microscopy system
for practical exams, take home exercises and studying. Results are as follows:
Virtual Glass No Preference
Graded practical exams 10(16.1%) 44(71%) 8(12.9%)
Take home quizzes or exercises 50(80.6%) 11(17.7%) 1(1.6%)
Studying 45(72.6%) 17(27.4%) 7(11.3%)
Students clearly preferred to use a traditional glass microscopy system for graded practical exams but would
rather use virtual microscopy for take home quizzes/exercises and for studying. In addition, 7 students (11.3%)
indicated they would like access to both virtual slides and glass slides for studying.
Students were asked if they thought the number of computers available at the College of Veterinary Medicine
was adequate to support extensive use of virtual microscopy within the veterinary curriculum. 19 (30.6%)
indicated they do think the number of computers is adequate while 43 (69.4%) did not think the number is
Students were asked to select the statement that best matched their preference for conducting laboratory sessions
which utilize microscopy. Results are as follows:
All labs conducted using only virtual slides 3 (4.8%)
Labs are a mix of traditional glass slides and virtual slides 28 (45.2%)
Labs are conducted using only glass slides but virtual slides are available on the 29 (46.8%)
internet for studying
Only glass slides are used for labs and for studying 0 (0%)
Virtually all students preferred a mix of glass slides and virtual slides; half preferred to integrate glass and
virtual slides into lab while the other half wanted labs conducted using glass slides with virtual slides available
on the internet for studying. A small number preferred using only virtual slides for labs, while no students were
in favor of only using glass slides for labs and studying.
Students were asked to rate the amount of time spent outside of scheduled lab sessions reviewing glass slides for
practical exams on a scale from 1 (I spend a lot of time outside of lab) to 5 (I don’t spend any time outside of
lab). Students were also asked to rate how much additional time they would spend studying slides outside of
scheduled lab sessions studying for practical exams if virtual slides were available on the internet on a scale
from 1 (a lot more time) to 5 (I wouldn’t spend any more time). Results are as follows:
Studying habits Number Rating
1 2 3 4 5
Time spent outside of scheduled lab 2(3.2%) 13(21%) 28(45.2%) 9(14.5%) 8(12.9%)
sessions reviewing glass slides for
Additional time you would spend 16(25.8%) 26(42%) 10(16.1%) 4(6.5%) 2(3.2%)
studying outside of scheduled lab
sessions if virtual slides were
available on the internet
Most students already spend a moderate amount of time reviewing glass slides outside of scheduled laboratory
sessions to prepare for exams, but greater than 80% indicate they would spend moderately to significantly more
time studying slides if virtual slides were available; only 2 student felt their studying would not increase if
virtual slides were available. 17 students (27.4%) indicate they currently spend no time or little time studying
glass slides outside of scheduled lab sessions; 16 of these students indicated they would spend significantly
increased amounts of time studying slides if virtual slides were available (16 of 17 rated a 1 or 2 for additional
The use of virtual microscopy affords a different test taking environment compared with a traditional glass
microscopy system. Students were asked to indicate how advantageous certain virtual microscopy test taking
features are compared with a traditional glass practical exam on a scale of 1 (major advantage) to 5 (not
advantageous at all). Results are as follows:
Virtual microscopy test features Number Rating
1 2 3 4 5
Not having to adjust a microscope 14(22.6%) 8(12.9%) 13(21%) 10(16.1%) 17(27.4%)
Ability to choose how much time to 40(64.5%) 12(19.4%) 5(8.1%) 4(6.5%) 1(1.6%)
spend on each slide
Ability to take the test in a more 24(40%) 14(22.6%) 15(24.2%) 5(8.1%) 4(6.5%)
Ability to move freely from slide to 37(59.7%) 11(17.7%) 9(14.5%) 3(4.8%) 2(3.2%)
Ability to review previously viewed 44(71%) 12(19.4%) 5(8.1%) 1(1.6%) 0(0%)
slides at any time
Students clearly thought the ability to choose how much time to spend on each slide, to take the test in a more
comfortable environment, to move freely from slide to slide and to review previously viewed slides at any time
were major advantages over a traditional glass exam. Many also felt that not having to adjust the microscope at
each slide station was an advantage but an approximately equal number did not see this as an advantage.
Students were asked to select the statement that best matches their feelings about using virtual slides for take
home exams. Results are as follows:
I think it is a great idea and see no problems 30 (48.4%)
I think it is a good idea, but I am concerned about students cheating 22 (35.5%)
I think it is NOT a good idea; any tests using virtual microscopy should be 9 (14.5%)
proctored in a secure location such as the computer lab
Students were split almost evenly between those who saw no problems with using virtual slides for take home
exams and those who were concerned about student cheating or thought all virtual tests should be administered
in a secure location.
Students were asked if they had any comments or suggestions regarding the incorporation of virtual microscopy
in the veterinary curriculum. For all student comments, see appendix B. Common comments include:
Many students thought this technology would be a major benefit for studying.
Many students felt very strongly that continued exposure to glass slides and traditional microscopy is
needed in the curriculum since this is what they will use in practice.
Focus/resolution was a concern. Many felt the focusing ability and resolution of traditional microscopy
systems is superior to the virtual microscopy system; because of this, many felt the virtual system was best
employed as a study aid but that traditional glass microscopy should be employed for testing.
Some thought the virtual system would become easier to use or they would grow accustomed to it with more
Initial test results appear to support better student performance using traditional glass slides: only 14.5% of
students improved their cytology practical exam scores while more than 70% had a lower score on the virtual
test compared with the traditional glass practical exam. However, there are several points to consider in
assessing this data. Students could not lower their grades by taking the virtual test; they could only improve their
grades so for those who were currently satisfied with their performance in the course as a whole, there was no
incentive to try and achieve a higher grade. The overall stakes were relatively low; the cytology practical exam
was worth 20 points in a course worth a total of 600 points, which decreases the incentive to study and improve
scores. The virtual exam was offered five days after the glass practical exam and coincided with the first day of
final exam week, so most students did not devote additional study time to cytology. Many commented that had
they devoted as much time to preparing for the virtual test as they had for the glass practical, they felt they
would have done equally well or better on the virtual test. The technology was new; students did not have the
opportunity to work with the computer program or virtual slides prior to being oriented at the time of the exam.
In addition to these points, the virtual exam was inherently more difficult. For the glass practical exam, each
slide had a very small, diagnostic region selected and circled by the instructor (JN); the slides were set into this
region before the exam and students could clearly see from low power (5x objective) that they were in the
correct area. The virtual slides had a much larger region available for viewing and included both good diagnostic
regions and sub-adequate to non-diagnostic regions thus students had to be able to locate diagnostic regions as
well as identify and interpret the cytologic findings on the virtual exam. Thus, the virtual exam was actually
testing a broader (and more realistic) range of skills compared with the glass practical exam. In light of these
points, the grades are encouraging; 14.5% achieved a higher grade, 12.7% did equally well on the glass and the
virtual exam (3 had perfect scores), and 27.3% lost a small number of points (0.5 – 1.5 points).
Survey results indicate that most students found the virtual microscopy system relatively easy to use; this is
significant considering they had no or little prior exposure to virtual slides and indicates the technology should
be easily integrated into the curriculum. The fine focus feature, the small overview slide and the ability to use a
microscope for view slides were all perceived favorably, and most students did not consider time delays while
using the program, viewing the fine focus feature in a pop-up window or the lack of a 100x view to be
significant. Resolution was perceived less favorably with slightly over 30% of students giving this feature a low
or very low rating, similar numbers giving it a neutral rating and just over 35% giving it a positive or very
positive rating. Resolution on virtual slides does not yet compare with the resolution of a good microscope;
however it is more than sufficient to allow a diagnosis to be made. We anticipate that increased availability of
the fine focus feature on future slides scanned (only 3 slides had this feature for the exam) as well as increased
student exposure to virtual slides will result in a more positive student perception of this feature.
Students were surveyed regarding their preferences for the use of virtual microscopy in the curriculum based on
this first exposure to the technology. Overall, student results are encouraging. Based on just over 1 hour of
exposure to virtual slides, students overwhelmingly preferred to have virtual slides for take home
quizzes/exercises and for studying. Students still preferred to have glass slides for graded practical exams. Based
on student comments, many felt that the better resolution of the microscope gave them an advantage on exams.
Some students also felt strongly that tests should be given using glass slides and microscopes since they will use
these items on a regular basis in clinical practice. However, student perception of which system is better for
testing may have been influenced by the difference in difficulty between the two exams. For the glass exam,
slides were set into a small diagnostic area for the students. Because students did not have to locate the
diagnostic area themselves, only recognition skills were tested. For the virtual exam, the available examination
area was much larger. Students had to locate good, diagnostic regions themselves, thus students were tested not
on not only recognition skills, but also their ability to successfully navigate on the slides. While students
preferred glass to virtual slides for testing purposes, they did identify some of the features of testing via virtual
microscopy as clearly advantageous over traditional class practical exams. These advantages include choice of
how much time to spend on each slide, taking the test in a more comfortable environment, the ability to move
freely from slide to slide and to review previously viewed slides at any time.
Regarding use of virtual slides for laboratory sessions, survey results indicate that the vast majority of students
would like to have virtual slides available in some form. Approximately 45% wanted to have labs consist of a
mix of both traditional glass slides and virtual slides while an equal number indicated they thought labs should
be conducted using only glass slides but wanted the slides available on the internet as virtual slides for studying.
Only a very small number of students preferred to use only virtual or only glass slides for both labs and
studying. Based on comments, student felt it was very important to continue to use glass slides and microscopes
in the curriculum as they will need to be proficient with these items in clinical practice. This is a valid
consideration, but there are certain courses that use slides which students will never need (or likely have the
opportunity) to view in clinical practice. These include histology/embryology courses utilizing normal tissue
sections and pathology courses using tissue sections illustrating various aspects of pathology. Slides used in
these courses require specialize equipment to produce and are of limited benefit to the private practitioner who
has not had advanced, specialized training. Such courses would be excellent candidates for incorporating virtual
microscopy more heavily into their course curriculum. In addition, students at this level are unaware of the
amount of microscope work they will be exposed to during their senior (clinical) year. Thus heavier
incorporation of virtual microscopy into the veterinary curriculum during the first three years with a subsequent
reduction in ‘hands-on’ microscopy is unlikely to have a large, negative impact on student’s ability to gain
proficiency with a traditional microscope system.
We anticipate that increased use of virtual microscopy will actually enhance student’s ability to successful
navigate on slides – glass or virtual – by increasing the amount of time students spend studying using slides
rather than static digital images or notes. Survey results indicate that greater than 80% of students foresee
increasing the amount of time they already spend studying slides outside of scheduled laboratory periods if
virtual slides were available for studying. Navigating successfully on slides is a skill that can only be learned by
practice, and this skill is especially important to master for specimens such as blood smears and cytology slides
because these are specimens that practitioners in private practice are expected to examine on their own. Virtual
microscopy may also benefit those students who currently do not spend time outside of scheduled lab periods
studying; more than 25% of students report spending no or little time examining glass slides outside of lab. Of
these, all report that they would spend more time and all but one would spend significantly more time studying
if virtual slides were available.
Most students perceive the availability of computers within the College of Veterinary Medicine to be an issue.
Currently, the main microscope laboratory area does not have, and is not designed to easily facilitate, the
incorporation of computer stations to allow simultaneous use of virtual microscopy and traditional microscopy.
While many students do own laptop computers, this is currently not a requirement in the veterinary curriculum.
Computer laboratories are available at the CVM, but currently only 20 workstations are available at the largest
lab. These issues will need to be addressed in the future in order to maximize the potential benefits of
incorporating virtual microscopy into the curriculum. One small laboratory used for the VMP 978 Immunology,
Parasitology and Clinical Pathology senior rotation has been outfitted with a computer at each of the 5
microscope workstations and this will serve as a model for integrating virtual and traditional microscopy
techniques in a laboratory setting.
In conclusion, initial quiz and survey results are encouraging. Students found the technology relatively easy to
use and most were satisfied or pleased with the features and benefits of using a virtual microscopy system. Some
student concern exists about using the virtual system for testing purposes, but the majority of students recognize
the potential advantage of having virtual available for studying and for supplementing laboratory experiences.
We foresee successful integration of this technology within a range of courses at the CVM and anticipate that
availability of virtual slides will enhance student learning and strength overall microscopy skills.
Appendix A: Virtual Microscopy Survey
1. Please rate the following features of the virtual microscopy system on a scale from 1 (excellent / I liked it a lot) to 5
(poor / I didn’t like it at all)
a. Ease of use 1 2 3 4 5
b. Resolution (ability to see detail) 1 2 3 4 5
c. Fine focus feature 1 2 3 4 5
d. The small overview slide which shows your 1 2 3 4 5
location in the slide
e. Ability to use a computer instead of a microscope to view slides 1 2 3 4 5
2. Please indicate how much you DISLIKED the following features of the virtual microscopy system on a scale from 1
(didn’t bother me at all) to 5 (bothered me a lot)
a. Time delay when moving around on the slide 1 2 3 4 5
b. Time delay when using the fine-focus feature 1 2 3 4 5
c. Viewing the fine focus in a separate window 1 2 3 4 5
d. Lack of a 100x view 1 2 3 4 5
3. Please indicate for each of the following items if you would prefer using virtual microscopy (V), a traditional glass
microscopy system (G) or if you have no preference (NP)
a. Practical exams V G NP
b. Take home quizzes or exercises V G NP
c. Studying V G NP
4. Do you feel that the number of computers available at the college of veterinary medicine is adequate to support
extensive use of virtual microscopy within the veterinary curriculum?
5. For laboratory sessions, which of the following would you prefer?
a. All labs conducted using only virtual slides
b. Labs are a mix of traditional glass slides and virtual slides
c. Labs are conducted using only glass slides, but virtual slides are available on the internet for studying
d. Only glass slides are used for labs and for studying
6. Please rate the amount of time you generally spend outside of lab reviewing glass slides for laboratory practical exams
on a scale from 1 (I spend a lot of time outside lab) to 5 (I don’t spend any time outside lab)
1 2 3 4 5
7. If virtual slides were available on the internet for studying, please indicate how much additional time you would spend
outside of lab studying for practical exams on a scale from 1 (a lot more time) to 5 (I wouldn’t spend any more time)
1 2 3 4 5
8. Taking a practical exam using virtual slides provides a different test taking environment compared with a traditional
glass microscopy system. Please indicate how advantageous each of the following virtual microscopy test taking
features is compared with a traditional glass practical exam on a scale of 1 (a major advantage) to 5 (not advantageous
a. Not having to adjust a microscope 1 2 3 4 5
b. Ability to choose how much time to spend on each slide 1 2 3 4 5
c. Ability to take the test in a more comfortable environment 1 2 3 4 5
d. Ability to move to move freely from slide to slide 1 2 3 4 5
e. Ability to review previously viewed slides at any time 1 2 3 4 5
9. Please indicate which of the following statements best matches how you feel about using virtual slides for take home
a. I think it is a great idea and see no problems
b. I think it is a good idea, but I am concerned about students cheating
c. I think it is NOT a good idea; any tests using virtual microscopy should be proctored in a secure location such as
the computer lab.
10. Do you have any comments or suggestions regarding the incorporation of virtual microscopy in the veterinary
Appendix B: Student Comments
The user interface is outstanding!! I was wondering, beforehand, if movement around the slide and focusing
would be difficult, but it was actually incredibly easy. If it will somehow let you synch up the names with
the slide numbers I think that you have a winner!!
For studying only
Got easier to use by the last slides as I got used to it. I didn’t find much difference in what I was seeing
(things were not all of the sudden clearer to me on the computer) I think students should still have to know
how to use glass because it’s practical for everyday. The computer slides are great for studying and nice to
incorporate on quizzes. So of the slides may have been a little more difficult to view because of resolution
I think using these slides to help study would have been very helpful
I wish it was done sooner. I would have spent more time looking at the slides if I could have done so at my
convenience in my own home. Disadvantage: students not being proficient at using a microscope.
Advantage: students being better at IDing abnormalities
The only problem might be if people cannot access the internet, but they can always come here. I liked the
virtual slides and definitely would like them for studying purposes, but prefer the glass for exams since it is
more real life and we’re going to need to see how it would look in practice. Thank you!!
I think virtual slides are a great study tool and also good for testing yourself outside of school for a take
home. But I prefer the glass slides b/c I can focus much better and I can look at all of the slide. Its easier to
judge size w/ the glass slides. However, I do prefer the computer environment to the microscope lab.
Color quality is an issue, image quality/clarity is a major issue, nuclear detail is very important but terribly
Need to have name of slide on all open windows as to make sure you are on correct slide. Some don’t focus
very well. Great as I could spend less time on slides I knew and more time on harder slides. And I could go
back and look at them as often as I wanted. Don’t have to move around from microscope to microscope.
I think virtual microscopy is an excellent tool for studying and short quizzes. I could not get the same
resolution as a microscope and would prefer/request that any large exam/cumulative exam be conducted
using glass slides. If resolution on the computer were to be improved I would advocate virtual slides more. I
also think that it is important for us to be tested using the medium (ie glass slides and a microscope) tat we
will be using in practice.
Better used as a study aid – reference and resolution of glass still superior
I think this is a good idea, but I would need more practice using this and looking at slides on the computer.
The slides don’t seem to be as clear on the computer vs what you see on the glass microscope. I think using
a mix of glass slides and the computer slides is a good idea, but don’t cut out the glass slides totally b/c
that’s what we will see in practice. Thanks for this opportunity.
This is really great!
Let’s do it!!
Would be nice if fine focus was little sharper/clearer – ex: nucleoli are harder to see. Great sudy guide/tool
(even if not used for exams)
Great idea to use in addition to glass slides, not in place of. The more practice we get, the better.
Great idea; tough match-up to ‘real thing.’
I think it is a great idea
I think it would be hard to take exams at home/on a computer without being able to ask questions of the
person that designed the exam.
It was hard to find the ‘colored’ area on the small pic to then get it blown up into the pig picture. Thanks
I think it is a great! Reference for studying. . . but to me it’s harder to see and figure cells out on the
computer. I was much more in control and confident with a microscope. I also think it’s more practical and
good practice to be trained and tested on a scope, and to study with a virtual guide.
It felt really strange using the computer. Everything looked very different to me. It might not be so bad if we
prepared for testing this way, but I think the practicals work well now. The 10 mins at the end is enough to
review slides. Thanks for this opportunity to try both. You have been an outstanding teacher and I just with
it wasn’t jammed into 2 weeks.
Great for studying, probably should be incorporated into labs to familiarize students before using for take
The virtual system would be GREAT to use for in class sessions – much better than slide (ie can show
exactly what ‘refractory’ is) – it would be great to be able to access these outside of the laboratory – much
easier to study sometimes outside of a group environment – because of the set up, you don’t seem to lose
many of the features of using the microscope . .. which is important to know how to do in a ‘real-life’
situation, plus computers are going to be used more and more in general practices so exposure to this
modality now is wonderful.
I loved being able to spend as much time as possible on any slide. It was also quieter and less nerve racking
without the timer going off!
I thought the virtual slides were much less clear than the glass slides. I would much prefer the glass slides in
a practical situation – plus this is what we will be ding in practice, and we need more, not less practice w/
the microscope. The one ting I noticed about the virtual microscopy (which is good and bad) is sometimes
you had to go searching for things, they weren’t always in the first place you looked. Better I think b/c more
like real life, makes it harder to ID things even if you know them, and more time consuming.
My major complaint with the virtual slides is that I found it more difficult to see fine details and cellular
characteristics that can be clearly seen on glass slides.
My impression is that its best possible use would be as an optional study aid which could be helpful at
home. Was not comfortable using and felt like I was at a disadvantage compared to the glass slides.
I really like the virtual mic! I think glass slides should still be a part of lab since that’s what we’ll be doing
in real life but for quizzes/exams and studying at home, I think it will prove to be very beneficial! Thank
you Dr. Neel for giving us this opportunity! Also, liked bing able to compare slides during the exam since
we will have references of normal and abnormal in practice.
Fine focus could be a little finer (smaller increments). Hard to juggle the windows – would be nice to have
larger screen (not a practical point)
Thanks for the opportunity!
I don’t think the 2 labs that we had at the end of the year (w/ everything else impending) was enough time to
learn this material. I would love to see multiple examples of the different pathologies/problems we
discussed in lecture (in a virtual format). I benefited a great deal from Dr. Flowers internet slides in
parasitology. Hope this helps. . .
If it is incorporated, it should be included in lab in addition to glass. I did find some details more difficult to
observed on the virtual slides.
I think these are a great study aid, but the glass slides are important. That’s what we will be seeing in
practice ad clinics. I feel microscope knowledge is very important.
Need better focus capability and color clarity, neutrophils hard to see degenerate changes (much clearer on
glass), need practice with computer program prior to taking test this way.
Focus was an issue, fine detail not completely discernable. I think this should be a great study asset!
I think it is the wave of the future, but like any change, it takes some getting used to.
I think it’s good as a study aid, but not necessarily as an exam format/for learning from. Disadvantages:
can’t always focus exactly, scanning slide at low power takes much longer than on glass slide.
I think having the virtual microscopy as an additional study tool would be a fantastic idea. However, I feel
that the glass slids should continue to be used to test students. I believe that if tests were given off of virtual
slides then students could access them anytime and the only thing getting tested would be the student’s
memory recognition not the knowledge base that should go with it.
Very useful for at home or studying, do not see it as useful for practicals though. In a clinic you are going to
have to look at glass.
The only thing I would have liked or missed about glass slides is the ability to fine focus.
I think it is a great tool. I really enjoyed being able to take it at my pace without a buzzer. I would just want
time and opportunity to practice before the test and would not want glass eliminated entirely. Thanks for
trying to make teaching better and more effective.
Perhaps used as a study tool – not to replace use of microscopes and glass slides
One major advantage is not getting sea sick!! I don’t think we should rely on it totally b/c tha’s not what
outside practices do; but for learning purposes, it proves a good alternative study aid/take home test aid.
I think that if you fix a couple of problems it would be great BUT – anything above 20x was fuzzy and you
can see the lines from the edges of the scanned field which is distracting.
Would really like it for studying. Didn’t mind taking the practical timed.
With use and exposure may feel more comfortable with virtual microscopy. Best use in my opinion – study
aid to class presentations and lab slides. I did not feel the resolution for fine cellular detail at 40x was as
good as glass. Thank-you for the opportunity!
Think it would be a great idea fro study purposes
Have slides to follow along/reference in lecture or lab from laptops
I believe that virtual microscopy should b a part however I don’t think it should be 100% of the learning
curriculum, I believe offering it as a learning tool for students would greatly enhance the students ability to
perform well on the glass slides.
Additional comments from elsewhere on the survey/exam sheet:
Regarding use of virtual slides as a take-home quiz/test option:
o We are an honorable profession – cheating would only hurt that person in real life
o Use of virtual slides is a good idea, but should be timed
o Closed book take home exams tend to reward students for cheating and punish honest students
o I see no problems with cheating but problems with computers
Regarding adequacy of computers at the CVM for incorporating virtual microscopy in the curriculum:
o Numbers are adequate if scheduled well
o Numbers are not adequate, but we all have laptops now
o Numbers are not adequate unless can log in via personal laptop
o Numbers are only adequate if we can access it from home/personal computers, numbers are not
adequate if only available at school
Virtual slides are very helpful in parasitology course!