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Leicester launches forensic science MOOC

Thousands expected to sign up for free online course in forensic science at the University of Leicester

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | February 08, 2016 | Higher education

A free online course which offers members of the public the opportunity to learn about the cutting edge discipline of forensic science is expecting up to 10,000 people to sign up.

The six-week University of Leicester programme, which begins today, is aimed at anyone with a general interest in the subject and includes crime scene analysis, examining case studies and the interpretation and presentation of evidence in court.

Run in partnership with FutureLearn, the taster course requires approximately two hours of study per week and is one of a number of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) run by the University.

Other courses include Behind the Scenes at the 21st Century Museum, England in the Time of Richard III and Real World Calculus. Forensics course tutor Dr John Bond said: “The forensic science MOOC is intended to give an introduction to all aspects of forensic science from its recovery at the crime scene through its analysis, interpretation and subsequent presentation in a court of law.

This MOOC will appeal to anyone with an interest in learning more about how science can be used to detect crime

“The MOOC deals not only with the basic science involved and why this is so useful in police investigations but also the difficulties that can arise in terms of misinterpreting the value of the evidence by scientists, juries, lawyers and more. No prior knowledge is assumed although those with an existing knowledge would benefit from learning about the current issues in forensic science that are covered. Therefore, this MOOC will appeal to anyone with an interest in learning more about how science can be used to detect crime.”

The FutureLearn platform is designed to allow social learning so participants have lots of online discussion throughout the course. Materials and course content is presented as video, role play activities, case studies, online research, and video lectures. 

The course content has been written by Dr Bond and fellow forensics tutor Dr Lisa Smith – who have both worked as practitioners with police agencies. Forensic Science and Criminal Justice is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an online course that is free and open to all. It will be the third time the course has been offered by the University.

There are no specific entrance requirements for the course – all that is required is an interest in the ways forensic science affects police investigations and the criminal justice system.

To find out more or to sign up for the course, visit the website: www.futurelearn.com/courses/forensic-crim-justice

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