InsightBlog

LearnSci CSI: New digital resources to enhance Forensic Science education

Yasmin Wong
//
September 28, 2022

We’re excited to introduce two new digital resources you can use to enhance learning experiences and build skills in crime scene investigation. Alongside the University of Wolverhampton, we’ve developed engaging interactive worksheets to prepare students for their practicals in Forensic Science.

Tablet displaying virtual crime scene - a feature of the new LearnSci Forensic Science resources.
The virtual crime scene which students must manage and assess before identifying evidence to collect.

Building practical skills within and beyond the lab

We know that as a forensic science educator, it’s important that your students are well equipped to complete practical laboratory work and examination. Across the UK, forensic science educators and departments have used resources from our chemistry and bioscience libraries alongside their practical laboratory courses. These have helped build confidence and prepare students to complete common lab techniques used in the analysis of chemical, physical and biological evidence materials. 

However, forensic science graduates will not only need to be equipped with practical skills knowledge within the lab, but in the field as well. Crime scene management and forensic evidence are core practical elements of Forensics degrees that students often are exposed to during mock crime scene set-ups in a dedicated space or crime house.

Just like a lab session, it’s important that students are well prepared and ready to engage when they arrive at these sessions. Unlike a lab session, many students will have never visited a mock crime scene, and therefore, may feel anxious about the environment as well as the tasks they are expected to complete. 

Therefore, in addition to our extensive LabSims and Smart Worksheet libraries, we’ve developed two new digital resources targeted at preparing students and building skills in crime scene investigation.

Collaborative working with CSI and Forensic expert

To complete this project, we worked with University of Wolverhampton lecturer Becky Flanagan. Becky previously worked as part of the West Midlands Police, and has over 20 years experience in crime scene investigation. Now, as a lecturer at Wolverhampton, her expertise in both crime scene investigation and forensic science education made her a perfect collaborator.

The creation of the resources was an opportunity to utilise the combined expertise of our developers and Becky’s extensive knowledge of crime scene investigation practices. This ensures that the resources were developed to not only be scientifically sound and relevant to a forensic science student, but are also engaging, promote active learning and build student confidence.

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Engaging digital learning resources for crime scene investigation 

Over the course of the collaborative project, two new interactive Smart Worksheets were developed to help students prepare for crime scene investigation practicals. These aim to help students feel more prepared and confident to complete their in-person practical activities at mock crime scenes.

This not only helps students feel ready for their first encounter with a crime scene practical, but also allows them to access the learning and continue to revise the skills and knowledge at a later date. The sheets invite students to take on the role of a CSI who must perform scene management and assessment before securing evidence.

Virtual crime scene with interactive markers. A house with a bedroom, kitchen and garden can be seen. Evidence is shown throughout.
3D virtual crime scene with interactive markers

By exploring a virtual crime scene, alongside interactive activities, students must use critical thinking and observational skills to complete their tasks within the worksheets. Both the worksheets invite the student to explore and apply their knowledge of crime scene investigation in a safe, risk-free environment where they can build knowledge and understanding, readying them for real-world investigations.

Scene Management

The Scene Management worksheet takes students through the four essential stages of scene management; gathering information, obtaining PPE, assessing health and safety at the scene, and preserving the scene.

After being given a scenario in which they are the attending CSI, students must actively complete each of these stages at the virtual crime scene. They must apply their knowledge to correctly prioritise the information gathered, identify the correct PPE items and the order they should be donned, perform a dynamic health and safety check and identify actions that need to be taken to ensure evidence is safe, secure and preserved.

Screen with an interactive mannequin on the right that must be dressed by students using the correct PPE. Three options in the middle to choose from for the suit, and feedback on the left.
Students must correctly choose the PPE that should be worn when entering a crime scene.
A pop-up over a virtual crime scene displays a question about one of the pieces of evdience - broken glass. The students must assess the hazards and check boxes to indicate which measures should be taken to ensure safety.
Students must answer questions to assess the healthy and safety of the virtual crime scene.

Incident scene assessment and examination

In the second worksheet, students will be able to interact with the virtual crime scene to complete forensic assessment, evidence identification and develop a forensic strategy for evidence retrieval.

The sheet will require the use of observation skills, attention to detail, critical thinking and a logical approach to ensure each stage of the scene’s assessment and examination are completed accurately and effectively, to avoid contamination or evidence loss.

A 3D  virtual crime scene. On the floor a virtual body can be seen in a pool of blood with evidence surrounding it. At the top, 4 buttons allowing the user to explore other rooms in the environment. The top right also features a counter for the evidence found.
A 3D virtual crime scene which students must interact with to identify evidence.
Students must then create a logical strategy for the order in which evidence should be collected.

Start enhancing Forensic Science in your institution

The project has been a fantastic opportunity to develop resources that can enhance practical skills in Forensic Science courses, and we want to thank Becky and her department at the University of Wolverhampton for their dedication and expertise.

If you’re interested in utilising these interactive crime scene investigation worksheets for your Forensic Science course, get in touch with our team for a demo and trial of the sheets.

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