FAQ

General

What are intelligent tutoring systems?
What is unique about this tutoring system?
What is a virtual slide?
What is the virtual microscope?

Get Started

What are the system requirements?
Can I access the system using a dial-up connection?
How do I get a login account?
How do I learn to use the tutors?
Can I use the system without having a medical background?

About the Tutors

Does the tutoring system help residents learn?
Who would benefit from using this system?
Do I need a certain level of expertise before using the system?
On what basis does the system score my answers?
Is the system available for learning in other areas?
How does the system know what advice to give when I ask for help?
What kind of curriculum does the system use?
How were the cases selected?
How do I know what the prognostic tutor is teaching me is correct?
How does the system understand different writing styles/wordings of things?

Using the Tutors

Why can’t I report on something while using the Diagnostic Tutor?
What do I do if I’m stuck and don’t know what to do next?
Will I have to go through each case twice (once with each tutor)?
How long does it take to work through a case?
Why won’t the tutor let me move on to the next case?
What do I do if the Writing Tutor doesn’t understand what I am saying?
Where can I get help with the Diagnostic Tutor?
Where can I get help with Writing Tutor?
How can I get additional information?

Other

Who else can see/has access to my progress with the tutors?
Can I participate in the development of the tutors?
Can the system be used for diagnosis/reporting of real cases?
Can I include SlideTutor in my in-class curriculum?
Will my personal information be shared with anyone?

Contact

How do I get in touch with someone about a problem with the tutors?

General

What are intelligent tutoring systems?

Intelligent tutoring systems are adaptive, instructional systems that try to mimic the well-known benefits of one-on-one tutoring. The system steps you through the diagnostic process, and helps you know when you are right or wrong by providing feedback. It keeps track of what has been done and what still needs to be done. The system is interactive with the user, providing smart advice about what the best steps are. An important feature of this kind of system is the ability to ask for hints at any time if you are unsure what you should be doing

What is unique about this tutoring system?

With this tutor the user can enjoy the benefits of personalized instructions and be in control of what and how he/she learns.

What is a virtual slide?

A virtual slide is the digitized image of entire glass slide specimens or individual areas of interest by utilizing standard microscope objectives. The result is a high resolution digital image with diagnostic quality, viewable on a PC or remotely through a standard web browser.

What is the virtual microscope?

A virtual microscope uses a computer instead of a microscope to view slides. The same controls on a microscope that allow you to increase the magnification and move to a different part of the slide are also available through the computer program.

Get Started

What are the system requirements?

You will need a computer with at least 512 MB of RAM, Sun Java (JRE) 1.5 or higher installed and broadband Internet connection.

Can I access the system using a dial-up connection?

No. Even though system itself runs on the client computer, it relies heavily on the Internet connection. The system will be virtually unusable if a dial-up connection is used.

How do I get a login account?

Press Request Account button in Use SlideTutor page.

How do I learn to use the tutors?

You can use the training manuals and training videos, which can be found here. Also, using hints when using the tutors will tell you what to do next.

Can I use the system without having a medical background?

Technically, yes. You can complete any problem just by following hints. However, to fully appreciate and understand the system, some medical knowledge is required.

About the Tutors

Does the tutoring system help residents learn?

Our preliminary studies have concluded that there is a significant learning gain when the system is used by students. On average, students improve 4-5-fold in their abilities to classify and report on pathologic findings.

Who would benefit from using this system?

The system is intended for pathology residents; however, people of any level, from medical students to general pathologists may also benefit from using the system.

Do I need a certain level of expertise before using the system?

No expertise is needed to use the system. However, without at least some medical knowledge, the system will make little sense. The system was originally intended for pathology residents and fellows, however practicing pathologists are also using the system.

On what basis does the system score my answers?

There is no scoring in the system. The system requires correct input for the goals that the human expert considers to be important.

Is the system available for learning other areas?

Not at the present time, but we are planning to include a broader range of areas over the next five years.

How does the system know what advice to give when I ask for help?

Each case has a set of goals. When an error is detected in one of the goals, the system will assist users in completing or correcting that goal. If there are no outstanding errors, the system will suggest the next goal in the solution path.

What kind of curriculum does the system use?

The curriculum covers many types of inflammatory diseases of skin, and all melanocytic lesions of skin including melanoma and melanocytic nevi.

How were the cases selected?

The cases were selected based on a set of diagnoses that showed the most typical features for a diagnosis. All cases were approved by our expert pathologist to ensure that the cases were not too difficult to interpret.

How do I know what the Writing Tutor is teaching me is correct?

The Writing Tutor’s knowledge is based on the College of American Pathologists (CAP) protocols and checklists. CAP produces cancer protocols as a resource to pathologists in effectively delivering the information necessary to provide quality patient care. The protocols consist of cancer case summaries (checklists) accompanied by background documentation. The background documentation includes detailed outlines, explanatory notes, and references. The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACS CoC) has recognized the value of the CAP cancer checklists in caring for cancer patients. Starting January 1, 2004, it mandated that pathologists at CoC-approved cancer programs include only the scientifically validated or regularly used data elements of the checklists in their surgical pathology reports on cancer specimens.

How does the system understand different writing styles/wordings of things?

The system parses the input text into phrases and uses controlled terminology to extract known concepts from those phrases.

Using the Tutors

Why can’t I report on something while using the Diagnostic Tutor?

You must complete working through a case with the Diagnostic Tutor before you can move on to the Writing Tutor.

What do I do if I’m stuck and don’t know what to do next?

ou can ask for hints at any time while using the tutor. When you are not sure what to do next, asking for hints is a good way to make progress because hints will help move you along towards completing the case. Hints can be used to get all the way through the problem.

Will I have to go through each case twice (once with each tutor)?

No. The tutor keeps track of everything that has been done from the beginning of the case, so anything that has been done in the Diagnostic Tutor will not need to be redone in the Writing Tutor. Features will need to be mentioned in reports, but you will not need to search for them on the slides in both the Diagnostic and Writing parts of the system.

How long does it take to work through a case?

People work at different paces, but on average, it takes about a half hour to work through a case. The first case normally takes longer while you are getting used to the system.

Why won’t the tutor let me move on to the next case?

The tutor will not allow users to move on to the next case until they have completely worked through the current case. You cannot skip cases.

What do I do if the Writing Tutor doesn’t understand what I am saying?

There could be two reasons for this. One is that you are not saying something that is considered important to include in a report. The system is designed to only recognize key items, and will only highlight those. The other possibility is that you are saying something that should be included, but it is not worded in a way the system understands. In this case, try wording it another way, or asking for help.

Where can I get help with the Diagnostic Tutor?

Please see the training manual for additional information.

Where can I get help with Writing Tutor?

Please see the training manual for additional information.

How can I get additional information?

You can request additional information by contacting us by email with your request. Several publications are available on the tutors. (http://slidetutor.upmc.edu/publications.html)

Other

Who else can see/has access to my progress with the tutor?

All the data has been de-identified for research analysis and data mining. No one has access to records linked to your name or to any identifying information.

Can I participate in the development of the tutors?

Yes. You can contribute cases for use in the tutoring system and help with testing. Please contact us if you are interested.

Can the system be used for diagnosis/reporting of real cases?

No. The system is a learning tool and should not be used for diagnosis of a real case.

Can I include the tutors in my in-class curriculum?

Yes. Please notify us if you are planning to so do.

Will my personal information be shared with anyone?

No. We will not share any identifying information, such as your name or username with anyone. Aggregate information about how users work in our system may be used to help us improve the system, or understand learning in this domain.  But this information will never be associated to your identifying information, or provided to any outside party. 

Contact

How do I get in touch with someone about a problem with the tutors?

Go to contact or feedback pages to send us an email or complete the problem reporting form by clicking on ‘Report a Problemt’ button in the tutor's 'Settings' menu. When you send in your report, please describe what were you doing when the problem occurred.