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Project Summary

SimScope: Applications of simulated microscopy and video editing for the development of multimedia teaching tools in biological sciences

Multimedia teaching tools are rapidly becoming an essential component of higher education, and show great promise in the teaching of science courses dealing with microscopy or microscopic subjects. A UC Teaching, Learning & technology Center (TLtC) mini-grant has allowed the construction of a prototype CD and website, combining Video Capture and Editing (VCE) with hypertext files to teach nematode biology and simulated microscopy to undergraduates. The development of these prototypes has generated great interest among a much wider range of faculty at UCR and UCDavis, who wish to expand on these first prototypes and develop similar tools for teaching other science subjects.

Our combined group of faculty has access to a great variety of instructional materials and teaches a wide range of courses in nematology, biology and parasitology, often with the aid of customized internet websites. All of us are faced with similar problems of teaching students how to use microscopes, and most of us are not yet equipped to obtain and edit video content. Through this TLtC Full Implementation Grant, we propose to produce a range of new teaching tools for microscopy, focusing specifically on the following major themes:

  1. Development of the front end and optical algorithms for virtual microscopy: In order to improve the speed and quality of student training in microscope operation, we propose to develop an interactive image of a microscope that will simulate the basic controls and operations of a student microscope.
  2. Creation of a "Virtual Arabidopsis" CD and website: Arabidopsis thaliana is an essential model for a wide range of genetic, physiological and mutational studies in plants, and directly relevant to a wide range of botanical courses. We propose to develop a multimedia teaching tool that will represent the wild type plant as well as selected mutant phenotypes. An image map of each "virtual weed" will provide links to a gallery of images and video clips of pollen, flowers, seeds, leaves, roots etc. at different magnifications.
  3. Creation of a "Virtual Lab for Cell Biology and Neuroscience" CD and presentation: The equipment/software requested in this proposal would be used to digitize images of histological microscopy sections and to create movies to complement the lab exercises for NRSC169 Human Embryology.
  4. Creation of multimedia teaching tools for courses in Nematology, Parasitology and General Biology: Because of the many parallels in subject matter between courses taught by faculty of the nematology departments at UCR and UCDavis, all collaborators from both faculties will produce, exchange and adapt video contents to maximal advantage. We intend to produce teaching tools for a total of 17 courses, including 15 CD's with virtual slides and/or virtual labs, 11 websites for courses taught partially or fully online, and Microsoft Powerpoint presentations with embedded video for 4 courses.


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