Virtual microscopy in cytotechnology education: Application of knowledge from virtual to glass

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16 Scopus citations


Background: Virtual microscopy (VM) is a technology in which the glass slides are converted into digital images. The main objective of this study is to determine if cellular morphology, learned through virtual microscopy, can be applied to glass slide screening. Materials and Methods: A total of 142 glass slides (61 teaching and 81 practice) of breast, thyroid, and lymph node fine needle aspiration body sites were scanned with a single focal plane (at 40X) using iScanCoreo Au (Ventana, Tuscan, AZ, USA, formerly known as BioImagene, California, USA). Six students including one distant student used these digital images to learn cellular morphology and conduct daily screening. Subsequently, all the students were tested on 10 glass slides using light microscopy (LM). At the end of the study, the students were asked to respond to an online survey on their virtual microscopy experience. The glass slide screening test scores of the participating students who were taught through VM and tested on glass slides (VMLM group) were compared with the last three classes of students who were taught through LM and tested on glass slides (LMLM group). Results: A non-parametric statistical analysis indicated no difference (P = 0.20) in the glass screening test scores between VMLM (median = 93.5) and LMLM groups (median = 87). The survey indicated that the annotated teaching slides and access to the VM, off campus, were well appreciated by the students. Conclusions: Although the students preferred LM, they were able to apply the cytological criteria learned through VM to glass slide screening. Overall, VM was considered a great teaching tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Cytotechnology
  • education
  • virtual microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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