1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
Small group (teams of 4-6)
1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
Presentation Space, Carousel Tables (small working group)
QAA Enterprise Theme(s)
1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
6Interpersonal Skills 7Communication and Strategy
In the first year of the Forensic Science undergraduate degree programme at Glyndwr University, students undertake a module in ‘Crime Scene Investigation.’ This module is a core module for all Forensic Science Students, and an elective module popular with students from various degree programmes including media, psychology and the humanities. Students studying this module have a broad range of career ambitions, including work within forensic science and associated services, the police force, criminology and criminal psychology, as well as many others looking to develop broader skills for future graduate level employment and self-employment.
A key part of the module is the learning of the rigorous practices and procedures that must be followed, for example, when handling evidence, or attending a scene of crime, something which can traditionally be one of the drier areas of the course. In working life, a forensic scientist is exposed to unpredictable and high pressure environments, is required to work with diverse teams, where clearly designated roles and effective decision making are essential, and will potentially be required to communicate complex and sensitive information in a number of settings to a diverse range of individuals. As such, we look to embed each of these skills into module delivery throughout the programme. Each of course, is also an enterprising behaviour, which will well equip students irrespective of their future career path.
To enliven this area of the module delivery, we partnered Science Discovery Centre Techniquest Glyndwr (who offer practical workshops on forensic science themes to high school students), and invited our students to train Techniquest Glyndwr’s presenters on various areas of procedural practice.
The activity was delivered over a three hour period, with a group of approximately 20 students. Prior to the session, students had been made aware that the subject of the session would be procedural practice (something which had been covered in a traditional lecture format in previous weeks), and recommended key texts to read in preparation, but were given no further information regards the session’s content.
Upon arrival, students were told that in precisely 2 hours’ time, a group of professional educators from Techniquest Glyndwr would be attending, to receive training from the students themselves, on various aspects of procedure (handling evidence, attending a crime scene etc.).
Students were then instructed to organise themselves into small groups (of three to five individuals), select an aspect of procedure from those made available, and to prepare a 10 minute presentation on their chosen aspect. The students were encouraged to use the University library, phones, computers and other resources as they saw fit and report back to the classroom 15 minutes in advance of their presentations. A selection of props, and other presentation materials were provided for groups to use at their discretion.
Once two hours had passed, the students then each presented to their invited audience in turn, with groups observing one another, and fielding conducting a short Q and A at the end of their presentations. The presentation period was an hour in length.
Though the work was not summative, a formative assessment was made for each group.
The activity, though simple to organise and deliver, served its purpose in both bringing to life an important, yet dry, area of the curriculum, and in developing the essential enterprise skills needed of the graduates. Though group presentations are often valuable in their own right, key elements that added to the impact of the exercise in this care were the fact that groups were presenting to an external audience, not only their peers, and that groups were given only 2 hours’ notice of the task, and so had to meet the challenge under a particular pressure.
Through its novelty it proved to serve as a strong aide memoir, and was able to support students in the completion of their summative assessed work on the themes covered too.
The activity also served to develop the relationship between the degree programme and the science discovery centre, leading to further opportunities for students to gain professional work experience thereafter.
When presented with the challenge, the initial response of the majority of students was one of trepidation, due to the unfamiliar situation into which they were being placed. However, the high pressure environment, novel circumstances, strict time constraints, and real-world context (with presentations being delivered to externals), served to focus the minds of the learners, with students remaining on task, focused, and coordinating responsibilities amongst their groups well.
Students came through their presentations successfully without exception, developing their communication skills and confidence in the process, and the activity ensured that the procedural knowledge was better remembered going forward.
After the activity had taken place, all students reflected that they had found the experience to be an enjoyable and worthwhile one.