Virtual Microscopy - An Experiential Learning Opportunity

Submitted by Muhammad Sandhu on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

The students were unaware of technologies for actively visualizing tissue structures in the online Human Anatomy and Physiology class. Instead, students used premade tissue images.

Describe the necessity for this assessment

The tissue images were similar because students copied the finished images from the e-text or the publisher's collection.

Describe how the practice will be implemented

I Introduced Virtual Microscopy, an OER technology. It allows an interactive online learning experience similar to using a Microscope in the lab setting. The students could select from multiple slides, adjust the magnification and navigate the different areas of the tissue slide.

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

The student work depicted variation. They were now exploring the tissue slides to select a tissue of their choice from multiple locations in the slide. e.g., students could choose any blood vessel in the skin to show its lining. It represented active, hands-on learning rather than passively selecting from the premade images.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

I would like to continue using the Virtual Microscope and share it with colleagues who teach microscopic cell structure. 


Providing a hands-on, active learning experience for online classes is difficult. BIO 201, Human Anatomy & Physiology, students prepare a Histology Atlas using tissue images supplied by the instructor. It was a passive learning process.

I searched and introduced Virtual Microscope, an Open Access technology. It allowed an active learning experience similar to using a microscope during in-person lab settings. The students could:

  • Select from multiple slides for a tissue.
  • Navigate the slide, observe & select the tissue from various locations.
  • Adjust the magnification.

Using the rubric, students developed a Histology Atlas for twenty-three tissues. For each tissue, students included an image and a text slide listing the structural details and functions of the tissue. Initial feedback allowed students to review and edit before final submission.

Applying this technology, I observed improvement in the quality and variety of images and function summaries. This technology transformed learning from a passive to an active & experiential learning process. 

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
BIO 201
Attachment Size
hitology-atlas-slides.pptx 12.55 MB
Program Learning Outcomes/Course Level Outcomes
Average: 5 (11 votes)