Medical science degree taster – parasitology

Medical science degree taster – parasitology

Images: Medical science open educational resources.
Creative Commons BY SA.

Content Authors:

Malgorzata Rekas, De Montfort University
Marilena Ioannou, De Montfort University
Peter Gale, Department of Microbiology, Leicester Royal Infirmary


College, University, Specialist

OER Features:

58 light microscope photographs of 21 parasites.

OER Description:

The study of parasites – or parasitology – is perhaps one of the most fascinating area of medicine or a medical science degree. The subject covers the relationship between parasitic organisms and their hosts – be they human or animal. Thus in both human and veterinary medicine, understanding the life cycle of parasites, their means of infecting their host and the clinical picture, is important for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

Parasites are either microscopic or macroscopic organisms and often evolve innovative strategies for infecting and overcoming host natural defences. Our bodies react as an attempt to eradiate the parasite and this presents as symptoms, for example vomiting or diarrhoea.

Whilst healthy individuals may be host to parasites more common than they think, in malnourished or susceptible individuals, parasite infection can be life threatening.

The British Society for Parasitology brings together specialist and amature parasitologists from the UK and around the globe to share research news and information.

This series of photographs of 21 different parastites under the light microscope is freely available to use as part of teaching or student work, and is licenced under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA). All we ask is you attribute us.

Parasite science teaching resources

Recent conference news

New science teaching resources are about to be shared onto the internet by Malgorzata Rekas, who is heading up the biomedical science team in producing open educational resources as part of the UKOER phase 3 programme project “HALSOER” (Health and Life Science Open Educational Resources). At a recent conference, she jointly won a prize for the best poster.

The conference hosted by Bart’s and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and was organised by the Higher Education Academy and was entitled, “From curiosity to confidence: sharing what it takes to ‘go open’ with learning and teaching resources” on 27th April 2012. Most of the discussion topics involved best practice in creating and sharing open educational materials. The HALS team produced a poster demonstrating example of science teaching resources completed so far at De Montfort. This included parasitology, where OERs are being developed in collaboration with external partners at local Leicester hospitals to review a range of parasites, with emphasis on diagnosis. Malgorzata is also producing OERs on mycology (fungi), and is highlighting a number of different fungi that are common causes of skin diseases. The team were awarded a shared first place for the poster presentation.

science teaching resources


Click on image above for large version

At the conference, several subjects relevant to open education practice were discussed, including copyright and licensing, learning materials development, and different approaches taken to producing OERs. The copyright, licensing, consent and ethical issues were matters especially emphasised on the day.

Professor Megan Quentin- Baxter from the University of Newcastle and Doctor Jane Williams from the University of Bristol delivered a presentation about the available policy tools to facilitate sharing learning resources as well as importance of understanding of copyrights and consent issues. The discussion detailed reusing learning materials, citing and attributing resources, as well as guidance on including recordings of people in science teaching resources and materials.

Paul Scott from the Hull York Medical School discussed Accredited Clinical Teaching Open Resources (ACTOR Project) and their institutional approaches in building on existing community practice to simplify sharing and utilising learning resources. Furthermore Suzanne Hardy talked through her experiences from the following projects; Pathways for Open Resources Sharing through Convergence in Health Education (PORSCHE), Organising Open Educational Resources (OOER), and PublishOER project, all part of the UKOER programme.

Overall the day proved to be very interesting as it highlighted the many challenges that we face in developing OERs, and the HALS team gained insight into how other institutions are tackling these. During the conference the key questions “how to publish learning materials to avoid legal barriers?”, and “why bother with OERs?” were asked and given a broad discussion.

As open education and open learning gathers momentum in the UK and indeed around the world, the community can look forward to further biomedical science teaching resources from the HALS team.

Malgorzata Rekas