Students’ Expectations of an Online Histology Course: a Qualitative Study

Po Yin Yen, Michael R. Hollar, Henry Griffy, Lisa M.J. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Histology is a fundamental subject in health science education. The highly visual nature of the subject and its costly requirements (lab space, equipment, and demanding instructor contact hours) have resulted in limited course offerings and hindered the progress to convert histology into an effective online course that complies with the Quality Matters ( standards, a set of best practice criteria for online course design by which the quality of the course may become certified via faculty-centered peer review process. With the advancement of technologies such as microscope simulators and course management systems, a stand-alone online histology course is becoming closer to realization. With the ultimate goal of establishing a stand-alone histology course that meets all Quality Matters standards, we report here results of a qualitative assessment of students’ experience with previous histology courses, virtual laboratory, and their expectations for a potential stand-alone online histology course. These results can be categorized into four themes that recommend corresponding functions to be included in an online histology course: (1) interactivity, (2) self-assessment, (3) multimedia support, and (4) access to peer and instructors via social media. Our findings provide a valuable insight into students’ expectations based on their comfort level and experience with technology and histology course.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Science Educator
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014


  • E-learning
  • Education
  • Online histology
  • Technology
  • Virtual slides
  • Web-based


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