Optical versus virtual: Teaching assistant perceptions of the use of virtual microscopy in an undergraduate human anatomy course



Many studies that evaluate the introduction of technology in the classroom focus on student performance and student evaluations. This study focuses on instructor evaluation of the introduction of virtual microscopy into an undergraduate anatomy class. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with graduate teaching assistants (TA) and analyzed through qualitative methods. This analysis showed that the teaching assistants found the virtual microscope to be an advantageous change in the classroom. They cite the ease of use of the virtual microscope, access to histology outside of designated laboratory time, and increasing student collaboration in class as the primary advantages. The teaching assistants also discuss principal areas where the use of the virtual microscope can be improved from a pedagogical standpoint, including requiring students to spend more time working on histology in class. Anat Sci Educ. © 2011 American Association of Anatomists.