The First South American Free Online Virtual Morphology Laboratory: Creating History


Background: Biomedical teaching has been revolutionized through multimedia and global collaboration. In a joint effort between Argentina and the UK, a Virtual Laboratory has been created for teaching morphological topics interactively pertaining to cell biology, histology and embryology intended for Health Science students at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina. Aim: To observe whether the online resource has changed the attitudes of student-users and offers a suitable replacement to traditional laboratory work. Methods: Through a central website that has evolved for almost a decade and most likely the first of its kind on the continent, the virtual laboratory program was launched and students were recruited to participate in a basic survey on the significance of the virtual laboratory program to their learning needs, attitudes to using electronic media and whether they agreed that classroom teaching should be obsolete altogether. Results: 291 student-users were recruited in the academic year of 2010. 267, of whom 92% used the virtual laboratory as a principal tool for learning. The online virtual practical work-guide designed by faculty was the most commonly used supplementary resource. A minority of students still preferred to supplement their learning by traditional methods such as books and classroom notes as well as external online resources. Conclusion: Our interactive virtual program was unanimously preferred as the principle learning tool for morphological sciences. The Virtual Laboratory, using popular electronic multimedia and inter-continental partnership, will enhance all aspects of biomedical education as a unique teaching resource in South America.

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Avila, R. , Samar, M. , Sugand, K. , Metcalfe, D. , Evans, J. & Abrahams, P. (2013). The First South American Free Online Virtual Morphology Laboratory: Creating History. Creative Education, 4, 6-17. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.410A002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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