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2007 Innovation in Teaching Award Simulated Crime Scene on Campus. J.K. Pringle School of Physical Sciences & Geography. The Problem. 2006-7 teaching, in particular CHE-30013 (Forensic Science specialisms) & ESC-10026 (Environmental Geophysics), suffered from lack of outdoor ‘field laboratory’

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2007 innovation in teaching award simulated crime scene on campus

2007 Innovation in Teaching AwardSimulated Crime Scene on Campus

J.K. Pringle

School of Physical Sciences & Geography

the problem
The Problem
  • 2006-7 teaching, in particular CHE-30013 (Forensic Science specialisms) & ESC-10026 (Environmental Geophysics), suffered from lack of outdoor ‘field laboratory’
  • Crucial when student-led, outdoor practicals need a ‘realistic’ & course-relevant problem-solving task to complete
  • Group-led student task to create campus soil map not a satisfactory forensic application
    • As noted in student feedback forms & reflection
staffordshire uni comparison
Staffordshire Uni. comparison
  • Ongoing collaboration with Forensic Scientists at Staffs Uni.
  • Observed custom-designed ‘Crime Scene House’ & associated facilities
  • Wanted to use & apply to Keele
    • Would enhance student experience
    • Gain employability skills
award aim
Award Aim
  • Create simulated outdoor campus crime scene facility
    • Allows taught students to gain practical experience on a variety of simulated forensic case studies
    • Allow students to practice forensic observational, data collection, processing & interpreting transferable skills
    • Allow student-led, group problem-solved practicals
  • Provide test site for field-based student under-/post-graduate research projects
  • Use for out-reach & widening participation
    • Used for Mid-Cheshire College HNC/HND student visit
  • External observers will validate scientific ‘realism’
    • Retired Police Service officers on ex-CSI teams
december 2007
December 2007
  • Reduced budget so primary objective:
    • Use pig carcasses as ‘human proxies’ to create simulated clandestine graves
      • Similar skin, hair coverage & tissue:fat ratio
      • Approved through appropriate Keele Uni. & DEFRA H&S & Ethical Committees
che 30013 jan feb 2008 practicals
CHE-30013 Jan-Feb 2008 Practicals
  • Reports of individual acting suspiciously on campus at night
  • Witnesses state wide tracked, loaded vehicle & carrying spade
  • Preliminary investigations found surface tyre tracks over a specific area on campus
  • Split into 4 groups, you will lead non-invasive investigations, decide upon appropriate techniques (use newly acquired knowledge from lectures) & divide project tasks
  • Limited numbers onsite & overalls to prevent contamination
  • Use SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
    • Each group member assigned task, signed in & out of site
  • Process & interpret results & compile scientific report for Senior Investigative Officer (submit via WebCT)
students in action
Students in action
  • GPR
  • Surveying
  • Resistivity
  • Groups in action
che 30013 reports feedback
CHE-30013Reports & Feedback
  • Group submitted reports of high standard
  • Most correctly identified position & prioritised targets for subsequent intrusive investigations
  • Active learning by practicals encouraged deep learning
  • Student group-led, problem solving activity enhanced student experience
  • Improved employability skills through multi-disciplinary investigation of crime scene
  • Significantly improved student feedback (out of 10)
    • Content & lectures 7.04 -> 7.21
    • Practicals 7.07 -> 7.38
    • Assessment 5.96 -> 6.52

“practicals very enjoyable & gave great insight into CSH work”

“provided impetus for background reading”

esc 10026 environmental geophysics
ESC-10026 Environmental Geophysics
  • 2006-7 practicals either demonstrated equipment or created posters on student-led topic
    • Useful but not enhancing student environmental geophysics experience
    • Keele has one of strongest research groups in near-surface geophysics
  • Important to provide practical-based geophysical challenge
  • Therefore used site to assist students to both collect geophysical data, process & identify prioritised targets
  • Showed results in poster format
  • Good student feedback

“really enjoyed forensic topic”

“learnt a lot of new skills in short time”

“want to do geophysics as a career!”

student research projects
Student Research Projects
  • 2007-8 ESC-40009 M.Geoscience Project
    • Tested magnetics as clandestine burial location method
  • 2008-9 CHE-30011 Forensic Team Projects
    • Will use collected leachate fluid from control carcass to assess biochemical changes over time
pg student research projects
PG Student Research Projects
  • Site surveyed every 2 weeks using GPR & resistivity geophysical techniques
  • Project aims (John Jervis) is to assess:
    • If optimal ‘time window’ to survey for clandestine burial & if changes over time
    • Quantitatively monitor site to relate to geophysical surveys
    • Optimum geophysical location workflows
    • Assist UK Police Service investigative teams
      • Assisting Staffs/Metropolitan Police Service & Forensic Science Service
Project Output
    • Student feedback shows significantly enhanced experience
    • Web resource to be made available to area-specific students
      • Project vod-casts to be available
  • Future Plans
    • Will build experience for next year’s UG cohorts
      • Change to 6 students per group & individually submit reports
    • Will emplace metallic targets to complicate site
    • Will add another carcass to test students ability to differentiate different aged burials
  • 2007 Keele University £1k Innovation in Teaching Award
  • 2007-8 CHE-30013 & ESC-10026 student cohorts
  • Respective course lecturers
  • John Jervis, Victoria Lane, Tim Millington & Malcolm Wright for site set-up and practical’s assistance
  • See website for more info:
  • www.esci.keele.ac.uk/geophysics/Research/forensic/