A Digital Teaching Laboratory for Microscopy-Focused Education
One university's success at creating a modern, microscopy-based, teaching facility
In the university setting, the resources for microscopy-based education are often eclipsed by research-centric goals for equipment allocation and core resources. However, university graduates require advanced microscopy training to be competitive, productive and successful in their STEM career paths.
Dr. Glen Marrs, the microscopy facility director at Wake Forest University (WFU), USA, and his colleagues took on this challenge and created the WFU Microscopy Training Center, an extensive teaching laboratory designed to promote microscopy education which is equipped with ZEISS Axiolab and ZEISS Stemi 305 microscopes. The facility now supports eight courses ranging from Parasitology, Developmental Biology, Developmental Neurobiology, Mycology and – of course – Biological Microscopy.
Microscopy Training Center Design
- Utilizing active microscopy-based learning as a dynamic lecture/laboratory tool
- Providing access to modern imaging modalities, including fluorescence
- Maximizing digital image sharing and evaluation capabilities
- Creating a unified teaching setting for an entire group of students
We were able to meet our goals economically, in particular, with the acquisition of the cost-effective scientific ZEISS ERc 5s cameras that utilize a variety of sharing mechanisms and can be controlled wirelessly.
Example Application Images
Collected by Students in the Biological Microscopy Course at Wake Forest University
Insect Specimen - Honey Bee Leg
Darkfield stereo microscopy
Plant Sample - Lycopodium strobilus
Plant Sample - Pumpkin Stem
Mixed Pollen Specimen
Dr. Regina Joice Cordy
I am able to use the excellent technology and personnel of the Wake Forest Microscopy Teaching Center for my Parasitology course.
Dr. Cordy Explains the Benefits for Teachers and Students
I really love the fact that the microscope images can be displayed to a large screen so easily; I can quickly glance around the room and see how the students are progressing with the laboratory exercises. I can offer instant feedback from across the room. I can also quickly show them something from my microscope using my own screen, providing fast and effective guidance.
I believe that the students enjoy the digital format of our classroom. They digitally photograph what they see, edit images on an iPad, airdrop their photos to their laptop, finalize their assignments using a digital lab notebook, and then submit them via a course website. There is no pen and paper. I feel that this fully digital format suits this particular generation quite nicely.