Congratulations to the S260 Geology Course Team on receiving a 1999 Europrix Multimedia award. One of the multimedia components of the course is the Digital (Virtual) Microscope which had its origin in a collaborative project between IET and the Earth Sciences Department and, later, KMi.

In 1991, Dr Peter Whalley, Dr Dave Williams and Dr Andy Tindle came together to discuss some of the issues concerning laboratory and field study work at summer schools, and the potential use of multimedia. This included accessibility for disabled students. One of the outcomes of this collaboration was a prototype Virtual Microscope developed in Hypercard (1992). This led to the need for high quality images of thin sections of rock samples at appropriate magnifications. The emergence of the Kodak Photo-CD standard was very timely and enabled the production of CDs containing several hundred images for each sample (1993).

Bringing the high quality images together with an interface developed in Macromedia Director by Ben Hawkridge led to a version of the Virtual Microscope that was at the forefront of applications of multimedia in education. Peter Whalley, Dave Williams and Andy Tindle continued this development until 1995 when the final version of the Virtual Microscope was produced. The CD-ROM (and subsequently Web) versions of the Virtual Microscope were highly acclaimed at that time.

Since 1995, the concept of a ‘Virtual Microscope’ has been adopted by the S260 Course Team who have taken the original ideas forward and developed other complimentary multimedia applications that have, in turn, led to a prestigious Europrix 99 award.


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