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Introduction to Week 1

What is histology?
DAVID MALE: Hello, I’m David Male and welcome to this course on histology and histopathology, the study of tissues and diseases underneath the microscope. In the first part of the course, we are going to introduce you to microscopy and teach you how to use a microscope. A lot of what we will do is taught through a virtual microscope which emulates many of the functions of a real microscope. We have a very large collection of tissue sections, which we’ve obtained from different universities and hospital departments, showing both normal structures and disease structures. We’ll be showing you what happens in histopathology department in a hospital, as well. Then we’ll be showing you how to calibrate a microscope and obtain images from it.
Later on, we’ll show you how to examine blood smears and to do a differential leukocyte count. Leucocytes are white blood cells and they’re involved in protection and combating infection in the body. By the end of the week, you should be confident in using a microscope, knowing how the controls work, and be able to recognise the different types of cell in a blood smear, and whether they are normal or abnormal.

Welcome to this Open University course on histology. This course is designed for students studying human biology at school or university, medical laboratory scientists and anyone interested in biomedical science.

In the video above your lead educator, David Male, describes what you’ll be learning about over the next four weeks.

David has been a Professor of Biology at The OU since 1999, and has a particular interest in the use of technology for teaching science. You will have a chance to experience one such approach during the course, by using a virtual microscope to examine a number of biomedical samples, just as scientists and medical professionals would explore such samples in a lab.

Your learning will also be supported by Nayab Fatima, who is a PhD students at The Open University. You can access David and Nayab’s FutureLearn profiles from the links provided, and ‘follow’ them in order to see their latest comments on the materials.

A key feature of the learning experience on a FutureLearn course is the idea of social learning. We learn best when we share and debate ideas with fellow learners. Therefore, we encourage you to take part in the comments and discussions and to ask questions and engage with other learners.

If this is the first FutureLearn course you have studied, you might find it useful to read the Using FutureLearn page.

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Introduce yourself

Before you move onto the next step, click the ‘comments’ icon and spend a few minutes introducing yourself, including a brief outline of your motivations for joining this course. Find out about your fellow learners by reading and replying to other comments. When you’re ready to move on, mark this step as complete before clicking through to the next one.

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Histology: Using Microscopy to Study Anatomy and Identify Disease

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