Modernized Didactic Techniques and Their Impact on the Teaching of Histology by Means of Virtual Microscopy

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University in Olomouc, 77900, Olomouc, Czech Republic

2 Department of Dentistry and Oral Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University in Olomouc, 779 00, Olomouc, Czech Republic


Background: Virtual microscopy is heavily reliant on the quality of computer equipment. The purpose of this study was to determine how students perceived computer upgrades in a histology classroom, and whether these upgrades had any effect on their performance in the administered tests.  Methods: This was a pretest-posttest experimental study. Census sampling was applied, and a structured researcher-made questionnaire with 5 items was distributed to 83 students (23 males, 60 females, 20-22 years old). The students took a histology course at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry of Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. The outdated technical equipment used in the first semester was replaced with modern systems in the second semester in 2019. Moreover, students’ performances were compared in computer-aided tests. We compared the average test scores (percentage of correct answers) of the same group using the Wilcoxon test before and after the upgrades. To exclude other possible influences (e.g. better understanding of histology in 2nd semester and approaching histology exam), we also compared the test scores of students who had attended histology classes in the preceding year. Results: In total, 75 completed questionnaires (90.4%) were returned, and the results showed that the majority of students (82.7%) noticed a difference when using the new computer equipment. They pointed to the overall comfort of viewing virtual slides using widescreen full HD monitors (n=64/75, 85.3%), better perception of details (n=59/75, 78.7%) and a lower incidence of technical difficulties (n=46/75, 61.3%). Moreover, an improvement was observed in students´ performance in tests (P=0.0002) following the upgrades. Conclusion: Investment in the modernization of didactic techniques should be considered as an integral part of any e-learning strategy in morphological fields such as histology.


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