Hooked on Histology: Connecting and Engaging with Students through the Community of Inquiry Framework

Marina D'Angelo, Douglas J. Koch, Michael B. Roberts, Leslie Pryor McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Introduction: Modern times call for modern teaching methodologies. We instituted a novel approach to teaching Histology under pressure to accommodate changes to the curriculum and the desire to engage today's learners in a more meaningful way. The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework was utilized as it comprises three interconnected and overlapping domains (social, teaching, and cognitive) that provide an optimal educational experience when they intersect. The CoI framework supported the shift from traditional face-to-face teaching to a hybrid model.

Methods: Previously, we reported how the CoI framework served as a model to provide evidence-based instructional interventions for delivering Histology content to medical students across our three campuses of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Student survey data indicate improved engagement with the Histology material after the interventions. Our instructional intervention consisted of a hybrid approach to content delivery and included synchronous face-to-face instruction, flipped classroom laboratory exercises, asynchronous learning modules, discussion forums, question and image banks all supported by TopHat, an engaging online content delivery platform.

Results: We describe two cohorts: the Class of 2023, who received traditional face-to-face instruction, and the Class of 2025, who received hybrid instruction as described above. To determine whether the intervention supported performance and retention of Histology content, exam item performance was assessed. An independent samples t-test was conducted to determine if there was a difference between class years 2023 and 2025 on total percent correct. The current study found no significant differences in scores between the two class years, t (516.79) = -.329, p = .742. In future studies, we will compare performance across all Histology topics covered, as well as include the Class of 2026 performance.

Discussion: The results of this study are significant as it demonstrates the ability of Histology to be taught effectively in a hybrid model to medical students across multiple campuses. Student survey results demonstrate support for the new teaching methodology, even though actual exam performance demonstrates no statistical difference in performance pre- and post-intervention. In addition, and just as important, this intervention affords teaching during adverse events, supports diverse learners, frees up in-seat time, and is transferable to other content areas. These findings meet the needs of a changing curriculum and the needs of our learners, demonstrating that the modern learner thrives in a curriculum that engages them in all three domains: cognitive, teaching, and social. This work was funded by the Department of Bio-Medical Sciences at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - May 3 2023

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