As part of the lab for an introductory textiles course, students needed to identify fiber types and fiber characteristics under various microscopic conditions (red plate, different mounting mediums, zoom levels, etc.) as well as correctly use a micrometer to aid in measurement and identification. This traditionally was completed in a lab where compound microscopes were limited and students had to take turns in groups viewing the slides.
For the online version of the course, we reviewed the learning objectives and determined that it was not essential that students actually have hands-on experience with a microscope. As a result, I led a team of multimedia developers in creating a Virtual Slide Viewer application. This application simulates many of the capabilities of a compound microscope with regard to viewing media that would traditionally be viewed through a microscope lens, along with many of the tools associated with a compound microscope.
The needs this tool initially addressed included:
- The ability to view microscopic images at varying magnification levels
- The ability to sort or filter media based on certain criteria
- The ability to handle a variety of content, such as images, video, and text
- Must be easy to update and scale from a content perspective
Additionally we decided to take advantage of the unique opportunities an online solution offered, such as being able to view up to 4 “microscopes” at once for side-by-side sample comparisons and the ability to have notes, videos, and contextual hints and tips directly from the faculty for each sample.
See the below link for a demo of the Virtual Viewer.