Teaching biology laboratories remotely presents unique problems and challenges for instructors. Microscopic examination of specimens, as is common in parasitology labs, is especially difficult given the limited quantity of teaching specimens and the need for each student to have access to a microscope at their remote location. Observing images of parasites on the internet coupled with written exercises, while useful, is unrepresentative of real-world laboratory or field conditions. To provide a more realistic microscopy-centered synchronous experience for our parasitology class during the coronavirus pandemic, we used a smartphone mounted on a student microscope to livestream examination of parasite specimens to remote students via the Webex meeting app. This allowed two instructors, working from separate locations, to present and narrate the view of the specimens through the microscope in real time to the remotely located class. While less than ideal, livestreaming microscopic views of parasite specimens together with simultaneous instructor narration provided a reasonable remote substitute for a hands-on parasitology lab experience.
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Vol. 84 • No. 5