Developing a virtual laboratory module for forensic science degree programmes

Aaron Amankwaa*, Viktoria Gjergo, Sonya Hamagareb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Laboratory work is essential in forensic science degree courses. They provide students with an opportunity to put theory into practice, as well as develop relevant professional laboratory skills through a case-based learning framework. Traditional laboratory instruction involves the use of a written laboratory script or manual that details the laboratory procedures and techniques for an experiment. Occasionally, instructors may provide a brief in-person demonstration of a critical aspect of the experimental procedure during the session. Since the coronavirus pandemic, the use of virtual laboratory (vLab) resources, such as video demonstrations, in teaching science practical skills has increased. These resources may be used alone or in combination with in-person laboratory sessions in a flipped learning model. Previous research has shown that vLab resources could enhance students’ knowledge, confidence, and experience inside the laboratory. This study aimed to explore the perceptions and attitudes of forensic science students toward the use of a vLab module. Three videos were created in which procedures for carrying out presumptive tests, screening exhibits, and recording examinations were demonstrated. Seven undergraduate students enrolled at different stages of a forensic science degree programme were introduced to the vLab module and interviewed using a semi-structured interview approach. Through a thematic synthesis of the interview transcripts, we found that the implementation of an inclusive vLab module could enhance students’ knowledge, confidence, and independence in carrying out forensic science laboratory procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalScience & Justice
Volume63
Issue number3
Early online date28 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

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