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A Global Initiative in Forensic Education

A Global Initiative in Forensic Education
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Author(s): Donna Wielbo (University of Florida, USA) and Ian Tebbett (University of Florida, USA)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Patricia L. Rogers (Bemidji State University, USA), Gary A. Berg (California State University Channel Islands (Retired), USA), Judith V. Boettcher (Designing for Learning, USA), Caroline Howard (HC Consulting, USA), Lorraine Justice (Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong) and Karen D. Schenk (K. D. Schenk and Associates Consulting, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch148


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Forensic science is the application of scientific principles to the legal process and the importance of such evidence in crime investigation has been known for centuries. While training in this field was and still is, primarily acquired on the job, the role of academia in providing education in forensic science began to be realized in the early 20th Century. In the 1970’s there were still only a limited number of quality academic forensic science programs worldwide, but these began to increase in number as the discipline became more reliant on the basic sciences and gained acceptance as a bona fide university degree. More recently, thanks in part to the popularity of TV shows such as CSI and the Forensic Files, there has been a significant increase in students wishing to study this field. Forensic science courses are now being offered in grade school and there has been a proliferation of undergraduate and graduate programs offered at higher education institutions in the United States and overseas. Forensic science covers a wide range of technical disciplines including many techniques in molecular biology and analytical chemistry. It is also associated with a very visual, “hands-on” laboratory component. This requirement for laboratory-based training has limited the development of online forensic education. However by primarily targeting students who already have the necessary laboratory skills, and incorporating case studies, animations and visual images, we have developed a successful model for graduate level education in this field.

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