Computer aided interactive histology - summary of 10 years

Göran Sandberg


Different computer based learning/teaching aids in histology were developed and tested during a period of ten years. The following conclusions are drawn regarding the advantages of computers as compared to conventional methods.

 Solving a problem presented by a computer often encourages cooperation between students.
 Computerized expert systems are useful for the training of certain aspects of our subject, such as the difference in structure between various parts of the digestive system, between different lymphatic organs, skin on different locations of the body, and so on.
 Images with 'hot spots' and hidden explanatory texts are very useful.
 A possibility of distance learning of microscopic slides during a course is technically possible and is very much appreciated by students.
 By using hyperlinked text, information is easier to find and the study can be made more individual and interactive.
 It is possible to design systems with short answer questions that become very interactive.
 An immediate feedback about the performance of a student is often appreciated.
 A test can be more fun by designing it like an adventure game or by giving access to more complicated questions only after completing a qualification test.
 Presentation of the content of a lecture via the Internet (or a closed part of the home page of a course) is much appreciated and can improve learning.
 A program does not have to be technically advanced to function as long as there is a pedagogical value.

Regarding possible disadvantages with computer programs, one is that everything you create has to be updated continuously. There is a risk that this may develop into a full time job. A conclusion is that it may be wise to concentrate on a few projects. Furthermore, although the students are usually very positive to the use of computers in teaching and learning, the effect on learning is often scored rather low. The reason for this will have to be explored.

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