From slide sets to sound bites: Teaching and learning pathology in the digital age

Anne M. Mills*, Marisa Meyers-Needham, Robin D. LeGallo, James C. Boyd, Helen P. Cathro, Doris M. Haverstick, Kristin A. La Fortune, Stacey E. Mills, Christopher A. Moskaluk, Edward B. Stelow, Melinda D. Poulter, Mark H. Stoler, Mark R. Wick, Kristen A. Atkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Educational evolution is particularly important in pathology, particularly cytopathology, due to the vast amounts of independent learning required to master this field. In this study, learning challenges faced by pathology residents were addressed through a variety of educational modalities including 24 short (~10 minute) online tutorials (dubbed "Sound Bites") covering selected topics in cytopathology as well as other areas of anatomic and clinical pathology. Additionally, residents were provided with an annotated glass slide set covering pediatric pathology with an associated multiple choice self-assessment as well as multiheaded microscope slide review sessions. Use of these modalities was tracked and residents surveyed about their experiences using them. All 20 residents (100%) reported using Sound Bites either from work computers, home computers, or mobile devices. Residents reported that easy accessibility, brevity, and opportunities for self-assessment were important variables contributing to this use, and that Sound Bite use would make them more likely to benefit from in-person teaching through lectures and/or slide sessions. Within 12 months of the release of the first Sound Bite, individual Sound Bites were accessed a total of 1169 times (mean: 49 times per Sound Bite). In contrast, slide sets were only accessed about once a month and were only employed by 30% of residents (6 of 20) for independent study; only 20% (4 of 20) completed the accompanying multiple choice self-assessment. All residents attended multiheaded microscope slide review sessions. Whereas traditional educational methods remain valuable tools in pathology education, these data suggest that short, web-based tutorials represent a valuable adjuvant teaching tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-187
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Online education
  • Pathology resident education
  • Web-based modules


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