Biomedical Science and Microscopy

Open education resourcesbiomedical sciencemicroscopy

Biomedical science laboratory skills resources showing how to use and maintain a light microscope.


Biomedical Science Microscopy

 Image: Microscopy open educational resources. Creative Commons BY SA.

Content Authors:                                       Level:

Dr Simon Oldroyd                                                           School, College, University, General interest
Dr Vivien Rolfe

OER Features: (bundle of 10 resources)

Biomedical science resources: How to set up a light microscope

PDF and Word & Txt Document Down Loads: Guide to setting up a light microscope.

How to set up a light microscope instructions PDF
How to set up a light microscope_instructions DOC

How to set up a light microscope_instructions TXT

Biomedical science resources: How to maintain a light microscope.

PDF and Word & Txt Document Down Loads: Guide to maintaining a light microscope.

How to maintain a light microscope instructions PDF
How to maintain a light microscope instructions DOC

How to maintain a light microscope instructions TXT

Adobe Flash (CS3 AS2) Animated quiz to learn parts of the light microscope.

Microscopy quiz questions DOC

OER Description:

In the biomedical science laboratory, the light microscope is routinely used to view histology slide samples (that may be obtained from patient biopsies and blood smears) and also to view microbiological samples. This is an important step in the diagnosis of many diseases and specimens will also be analysed to review the progress of various treatments and therapies.

All samples are prepared on a glass slide which is preserved and sealed with a cover slip to enable viewing under the light microscope.

These OERs are a series of 10 resources including videos, accompanying guides and an animation to introduce the light microscope. Also included is a set of quiz questions.

There are several steps that need to be taken to set up the microscope and the first video outlines these to set up the eye pieces and focus the condenser lens and the stage, along with an accompanying PDF and editable Word and Text Document of all the essential steps.

The second video illustrates how a microscope should be cleaned, and for example in our biomedical science student laboratories, all equipment is cleaned and maintained twice a year. There is an accompanying PDF of the audio transcript of this video which again outlines the basic steps. This is also available in editable Word and Text format.

Alongside these resources is an Adobe Flash animation illustrating the parts of the microscope and including a drag and drop quiz to test the user’s understanding.

Understanding the parts, functioning and maintenance of a light microscope is fundamental to any laboratory science student including those studying medical sciences and biomedical science.

Open Educational Resources to Support Biology Courses and Prospective Students

The aim of this website is to share university learning materials to support biology courses not just in the UK but around the globe. The HALS OER project staff are academics and researchers in Biomedical Science, Medical Science, Forensic Science and Midwifery.

Why are we doing this biology courses website?

Many universities and colleges in the UK and indeed around the globe have started to share their academic resources with each other. As a lecturer involved in delivering biology courses, there is nothing worse than writing resources for students knowing that the work you are doing is duplicating the efforts of many other people involved in the same subject. The move to start sharing at least some of what we do makes perfect sense economically and for purposes of efficiency. I can take someone else’s materials as a starting point and then spend time enhancing and updating them to suit my purpose, thus benefiting both me and my students. I save time, and they get better quality assistance. This works well at a basic level teaching fundamental skills and principles. Think about how often for example the anatomy of the heart must be taught in biology courses not just in the UK but globally? The same basic material must be being duplicated thousands of times.

Biology courses open

What is different about our biology courses project?

Of course there are plenty of resources, tutorials and materials already available on the internet. There are two things wrong with these however. Many resources are not accessible and are locked behind passwords on institutional repositories. Many more biology courses materials that are on the web are simply not copyrighted for use. You may be able to show a website in a lecture but you cannot download the resource and add to it. I suppose an additional problem is the author and therefore credibility of the resource is sometimes also hard to judge.

Our HALSOER project funded by the JISC and HEA in the UK (Open Educational Resource Programme Phase 3 2011-2012) has opened the doors to college and university learning materials and is helping to make these available to all learners and educators via our biology courses website. They key to this is dealing with the copyright by using a Creative Commons Licence (CC). The copyright is still ours – De Montfort University, but the licence opens up the content to everyone. Many of our users are just enquiring members of the public. One user of our laboratory skills website VAL (Virtual Analytical Laboratory) said:

“I always wondered how a microscope worked”. Trash collector, New Jersey.

We use a CC BY SA (attribute and share alike) licence – so you can take our stuff, link to it, down load it and edit it; the only requirement is that you attribute or reference us at biology courses, and share the new resource back via the web.

What resources are we going to share?

We aim to produce biology courses materials in a range of file formats. Here are some currently being developed:

  • A series of parasitology interactive PDF files – with photographs and videos and animations.
  • Basic microbiology skills – videos and demonstrations.
  • Forensic science photo gallery – a bundle of JPEG assets for other forensic academics and students to use in their lectures and studies.
  • A series of histology resources – JPEGs and animations for undergraduate bioscience students and to serve biomedical science training.

When we are sharing our materials on biology courses we use a range of formats so that people can access them by both computer and mobile devices. We also know how to design resources to be effective educational tools – for example multimedia formats combing images and sound, and the inclusion of quizzes to test understanding.

Who else is involved in the HALSOER Biology Courses project?

We are working with employers – for example the NHS and the Leicestershire Constabulary who are providing case study and data for us to adapt. We are working with Oxford University Press publishers as a collaborative venture using our biology courses resources to support a series of biomedical science text books. This external input is very exciting and is providing real – life scenarios that are meaningful to students. Also having these conversations is also mutually beneficial and is leading to other opportunities in research and other aspects of work.

And finally……

Around 10% of people going to university take biology in the UK – be they life science, healthcare sciences or medicine. As part of this project we are also working with local Leicester schools and colleges to help young people make choices about their futures and help generate interest in biology courses and the wide range of exciting career opportunities available.

Medical Science Degree and Biomedical Science

The HALS project team are working to establish open education practices within their undergraduate degrees including the Medical Science Degree.

There are a number of university science degrees in the UK that focus on diagnostic and clinical aspects of understanding the human body in health and disease. The names of such degrees can often be confusing.

Biomedical Science is a professionally accredited degree by the Institute of Biomedical Science and contains set disciplines including haematology and microbiology to reflect the job requirements of hospital scientists.

Biomedical Sciences on the other hand might not be professionally accredited and will reflect the subject more generally in line with the research interests of the staff at a particular institution.

Making things even more confusing is the fact that at some universities, a degree similar to the above one might be called Clinical Sciences.

Medical Sciences however is different and is offered at only a small number of universities including Glamorgan and Edinburgh. Rather than focusing on laboratory aspects of diagnosing and investigating the human body, the degree also incorporates more medical subjects for example physiological measurement and patient interaction. This degree attracts students who may want to go into Medicine or medical research.

At De Montfort, because our emphasis is slightly away from having to provide laboratory training, students are offered a more independent experience being able to choose their own topics for study and assignments. We can offer much more in the way of research training which is much sought after by employers in the UK.

Medical Science Degree

Photograph: Normal Blood Cells, CC BY SA, SCOOTER Project. (Medical Science Degree)

The HALS team are working with external partners – including Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust – to produce exciting and high quality Medical Science degree learning resources in the areas of gastroenterology and nutrition for example. On January 3rd 2012 Viv attended a meeting at the Gastroenterology Department and the gastro staff came up with several areas for collaboration.

One exciting area is the production of nutritional resources to support medical science degree teaching around the UK. Nutrition is often an under-represented subject area and at De Montfort we run a final year module on gastroenterology and nutrition. We are excited about sharing some of our teaching and assessment materials with the wider community.