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  • The Open University

Histology: Using Microscopy to Study Anatomy and Identify Disease

Get an introduction to histology – the study of anatomy at a microscopic level – and find out how it is used to identify disease.

23,713 enrolled on this course

  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

This free online course will help you understand the basic principles of light microscopy, before introducing you to histology, concentrating on the structure, function and relationship of normal human tissues.

You will gain access to a virtual microscope, enabling you to compare normal tissues with pathological (or diseased) tissues, and find out how pathologists use histopathology, to examine tissues at a microscopic level and identify disease.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:
• understand the basic principles of microscopy
• identify a number of the more common tissues from their histological appearance
• relate the structure of tissues seen under the microscope to their function
• identify gross abnormalities, such as neurodegeneration, inflammation and cancer.

This courses has been produced with the kind support of Dangoor Education.

What topics will you cover?

  • An introduction to histology and the role or histopathology in diagnosis of disease
  • Development of skills in using a light microscope and understanding the potentials and limits of the instrument
  • Description of how histological slides are produced, stained and interpreted
  • Development of the ability to identify a number of cell types and tissues from their histological appearance
  • Description of the structures of a number of tissues with relationship to their functions
  • Description of some major pathological changes and their histological appearance
  • Development of the ability to identify histopathological changes and their relationship to the underlying disease processes

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply and understand the basic principles of microscopy
  • Identify a number of the more common tissues from their histological appearance
  • Assess and understand the relationship between the structure of some tissues seen under the microscope and their function
  • Identify gross histological abnormalities, such as neurodegeneration, inflammation and cancer

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students studying human biology at school or university, medical laboratory scientists and anyone interested in biomedical science.

You will be making extensive use of a virtual microscope that will work on all modern browsers on both desktops and tablets. However, we recommend completing the course on a desktop for better viewing of the sections and to enable integration of microscopy with the course text, images and video in separate windows.

Who will you learn with?

I have been Professor of Biology at the OU since 1999, with a particular interest in the use of multimedia for teaching biomedical sciences. We research on nanocarriers for drug delivery to the brain.

Who developed the course?

The Open University

As the UK’s largest university, The Open University (OU) supports thousands of students to achieve their goals and ambitions via supported distance learning, helping to fit learning around professional and personal life commitments.

  • Established

    1969
  • Location

    Milton Keynes, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 510Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Join the conversation on social media

You can use the hashtag #FLHistology to talk about this course on social media.