The Development and Assessment of an Online Course to Teach Healthcare Professionals to Identify Fungal Infections Using Microscopy and Histology

UoM administered thesis: Master of Philosophy

  • Authors:
  • Michael Clarke


Background: Over 300 million people suffer from serious fungal infections each year. Misdiagnosis is common, and access to education in many countries is limited. E-learning can provide access to educational materials that can teach healthcare professionals how to use microscopy to diagnose fungal infection. Use of e-learning to this effect has not been utilised before.Aim: This study aimed to assess the feasibility of developing an online course to teach microscopy and histology to healthcare professionals. Moodle was chosen as the platform due to its popularity, open access and online support from a user led forum. Over 800 images were collected from a number of sources and contributors, which showed microscopically prepared samples of fungi infection in both superficial and deep tissue. The course was split into three modules: introduction to microscopy, direct microscopy and an introduction to histology. Module content was made using the collected images to created labelled examples for use as teaching material together with supporting text, videos and presentations to achieve learning objectives. Feasibility and success of the course was determined by collecting feedback, using opinion surveys from healthcare professionals who had volunteered to take part, and assessing their test scores from completed assessments for each module.Results: 36 professionals started Module 1, 37 started Module 2 and 15 started Module 3. Of the participants, 36 completed the assessment for Module 1, 15 completed the pre- and post-course assessments for Module 2, and 6 for Module 3. A total of 58 participants completed the opinion surveys. Cronbach's Alpha tests revealed a high level of internal consistency of responses that reflected a positive opinion of each module. The leading opinion was that healthcare professionals would like to have access to this course as a resource. Test scores were high and showed improvement between pre- and post-assessments.Conclusion: Current results show that it is feasible to create an online course to teach microscopy and histology to healthcare professionals, however, more learners need to complete the course and provide feedback to assess the efficacy of this course and validate it fully.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2017